Florida Legislature approves ban on biological males competing in women’s sports

The Florida legislature passed a bill that would ban transgender athletes from participating in women’s and girls’ sports at the high school and college levels.

Transgender female athletes would be limited to playing coed sports or on teams with male athletes under the legislation, restricting female teams to individuals identified as female on their birth certificate. The House earlier this month approved the ban – but it failed to advance in the Senate until added on as an amendment to a popular charter school bill lawmakers were eager to approve.

State Sen. Victor Torres, a Democrat, criticized the bill, as did LGBTQ activists. Torres says he has a transgender grandchild.

“We don’t need to destroy the lives of those children and their futures. If they want to play, let them play,” he said. “We don’t need this. We thought it was dead. But obviously, some don’t care. And we have to care.”

Republican Florida Senator Kelli Stargel said it is “common knowledge” that males are stronger physically than females.

“This is not against trans women, but they are stronger than the other women on the team. There are studies that have shown they are stronger,” Stargel said.

“It’s not meant to be hurtful. It’s not meant to be discriminating. It’s not meant to attack any group,” she added. “This is not about that. This is about sports and having competitive advantage and having the ability to compete.” “We’re doing this so that women have the opportunity to participate, to get scholarships, to excel with other women of like strength and capability.”

Republican Senator Keith Perry said the legislation was needed to assure female athletes can compete fairly. “To think about my daughters competing against biological males rubs me the wrong way,” Perry said. “It’s just wrong.”

Democratic Senator Jason Pizzo expressed his opposition towards the bill by saying, “This is unnecessary. This is stupid.”

The bill now heads for Governor Ron DeSantis, who is likely to sign it into law.

In March last year, Idaho became the first to pass a law preventing biological males from participating in women’s sports. Five months later, a federal judge suspended the ban. The case remains pending in court while other states continue to pass similar pieces of legislation. Last week, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced he plans to sign a new measure banning biological men and women from participating in sports of the opposite sex. West Virginia’s measure would apply to middle and high school sports.