Florida Senate Passes Anti-Trans Sports Bill

by Wyatt Ronan

TALLAHASSEE, FL — Last night, in an 11th hour attack just two days before the end of session, the Florida Senate adopted an anti-transgender House amendment to SB 1028, an education related bill. As amended, SB 1028 would ban transgender youth from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity. The bill now heads to Governor Ron DeSantis for review.

The legislative fight to pass discriminatory anti-transgender legislation has been fast and furious, led by national groups aiming to stymie LGBTQ progress made on the national level and in many states. There are so far more than 250 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country. Of those, more than 120 directly target transgender people and at least 66 of those would, like SB 1028, ban transgender girls from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity.

Despite the Florida Senate rules committee deferring SB 2012 and HB 1475 last week, Florida state senators passed this legislation despite fierce bipartisan opposition from lawmakers across the country, professional and collegiate sporting organizations including the Miami HEAT and Misfits Gaming Group, world-renowned athletes, faith leaders, legal scholars, medical professionals, and over 90 major corporations.

Under the guise of an education bill, the Florida House and Senate rushed to pass SB 1028. Ultimately, this bill will not just hurt transgender kids; it will hurt all Floridians because the consequences of this law — economic harm, expensive taxpayer-funded legal battles, and a tarnished reputation — will ripple across the state. Let’s be clear here: transgender children exist and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Legislators across the country have neglected to name any examples of the sky falling based on transgender athletes' participation in youth sports. That is because those examples simply don't exist, and athletic organizations have welcomed transgender athletes' participation for years without incident. We strongly urge Florida legislators to put an end to these hateful bills.

Human Rights Campaign President, Alphonso David

This discriminatory bill is harmful and simply unnecessary; transgender youth have been playing sports consistent with their gender identity for years without incident on the state, collegiate and professional level. This bill is based in fear, not fact, and pushed by legislators who have been fed misinformation by anti-LGBTQ extremists who don’t care about women’s sports or Floridians - they care about dismantling equality and have no compunction about transgender youth being harmed in the process. Anti-equality legislators should realize that while there is no problem here, there are serious issues that need addressing in Florida, like the pandemic and its economic impact. They should focus on addressing the challenges that are actually facing Florida and leave transgender kids alone.

Cathryn Oakley., Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel

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