Equality Florida warns Legislature to stop push for ‘trans sports bans’

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The NCAA is watching.

Calling the legislation “political pandering,” the executive director of a leading LGBT organization on Tuesday slammed legislative attempts to ban transgender youth from organized sports as bad for kids and the larger economy of the state, including college sports.

“Simply put: lawmakers in Florida are putting the state’s economy at risk right alongside the health and well being of transgender kids in a move that puts political pandering ahead of the welfare of children,” said Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith.

Many on the right have agitated in recent years against transgender youth in sports, specifically girls’ and women’s athletics. Smith notes that this position will not play well with the nation’s leading sanctioning organization for college sports.

“Bills that fly in the face of inclusion and empowerment for all young people are bound to draw the ire of organizations committed to encouraging equitable participation – organizations like the NCAA,” Smith warned, citing legislation that abridged rights to equal accommodations.

“Their boycott of championships in North Carolina following the disastrous ‘bathroom bill’ torched the state’s economy and marred its reputation. The trans sports bans moving through the Florida legislature now are senselessly tempting a similar fate. Lawmakers would do well to heed the warnings from North Carolina and stop this legislation in its tracks,” Smith urged.

The media release notes the NCAA sees these bills as “damaging to transgender athletes.” Legislation elsewhere attempting to ban transgender athletes has met with federal roadblocks. And even the Republican Governors of Utah and South Dakota rejected such bills.

Despite these concerns, the legislation continues to move toward full floor votes in the House and the Senate.

Rep. Kaylee Tuck‘s version of the legislation (HB 1475) has one committee stop left, the Education and Employment committee.

Sen. Kelli Stargel‘s version of the bill (SB 2012) will be taken up by the Health Policy Committee on Wednesday. From there, the legislation would advance to Rules, and then potentially to the full Senate.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at [email protected]



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