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