Bill would repeal Florida’s ban on transgender athletes in women’s sports

farmer, gary3
The bill revives one of the most contentious measures tackled last Session.

Debates about gender identity and gender assigned at birth may roil the Florida Legislature once again.

Sen. Gary Farmer on Tuesday introduced a bill (SB 212) that would repeal one of last Session’s most contentious bills, one that was ultimately signed into law.

The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act bars transgender female athletes from competing in activities specifically designed for girls and women.

Farmer, a Democrat, is calling his bill the “Let Kids Play Act.” It takes up just 12 lines of type with a call for a repeal of the existing law.

The original law Farmer seeks to repeal put Florida in the company of states such as Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, South Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia and Tennessee, which have passed similar prohibitions.

Lawmakers in 14 other states have introduced similar measures, according to the New York Times. In January, U.S. Rep. Greg Steube of Sarasota introduced the “Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act” in Congress in January that would bar recipients of federal funds from allowing transgender women or girls to compete in athletics or activities for women and girls, and specifies that “sex shall be recognized based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”

Cisgender females are at a disadvantage if they compete against transgender athletes, according to the thinking behind this movement.

“It will ensure fairness for women athletes for years to come in the state of Florida. … We are going to go based off biology — not based on ideology,” DeSantis said as he signed the law, according to the South Florida Gay News.

But many viewed it as an attack on transgender youth. Debate led to some emotional scenes on the Senate floor. Sen. Gayle Harrell was escorted off the floor in tears and subsequently crossed party lines to vote against the bill. Later the bill was passed, largely along party lines, with Democrats opposed.

In a June 1 Twitter post, the same day the bill was signed into law, Democratic Sen. Shevrin Jones of West Park, Florida’s first openly gay Senator, called it a solution in search of a problem.

“What problem are we trying to solve?” he wrote. “What has come up, IN FLORIDA, that warranted this legislation? What scenario has come about in women sports with CHILDREN that has shown itself not to be ‘fair?'”

The law has already drawn a lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court on June 29 on behalf of a 13-year-old Broward County girl, “Daisy.”

None of Farmer’s House colleagues have yet filed a companion bill.

Before the Legislative Session begins on Jan. 11, the House and Senate will hold six weeks of committee meetings, starting Sept. 20. Legislative priorities start taking shape then.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • PeterH

    September 16, 2021 at 7:42 am


    Enough of these stupid Republican social issue regulations! The stupids are looking to create and fix non existent problems!

    • Lorraine

      September 16, 2021 at 7:46 am


    • Anonymous

      September 16, 2021 at 7:19 pm

      Calling republicans stupid based on your beliefs is stupid itself. And it has been proven that a biological man is not only naturally, and almost always taller and stronger than a regular woman so it is in fact putting women at a physical disadvantage,

Comments are closed.


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