Legislative effort to repeal last year’s transgender athlete ban grows

LGBTQ youth
Rep. Kristen Arrington wants to highlight the high economic cost.

A Central Florida lawmaker is bringing back one of the last Session’s most contentious issues with the hope her Republican colleagues will realize excluding transgender students from girls’ athletics could draw an economic penalty.

Democratic Rep. Kristen Aston Arrington of Kissimmee last month filed a companion bill (HB 6065) to Sen. Gary Farmer’s SB 212, which seeks to repeal last year’s legislation regarding transgender athletes. That law, passed largely along party lines last Session, means athletes are eligible for sports teams based on the gender listed on birth certificates at or near the time of birth. So transgender girls and women are banned from girls’ or women’s teams.

LBGTQ advocates regard the law as stigmatizing those who identify with a gender other than the one assigned at birth. Still, eight other states have passed similar laws: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia. In South Dakota, Gov. Kristi Noem signed an executive order banning transgender girls and women from participating on girls’ or women’s teams.

Arrington said she heard some corporations might be willing to show states passing these laws consequences, such as what North Carolina suffered in 2017 for its “bathroom bill.” That year, Bruce Springsteen and other performers canceled concerts and the NCAA canceled its championship game there after a new law banned transgender people from using bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. Estimates put the state’s economic losses at $3.76 billion as result of the ban. The law has since been repealed.

Last year, Arrington said, “big business didn’t weigh in. My hope is that if we bring some attention to the ban, more companies will speak up and people will realize why this is a bad idea.”

The same legislation has been introduced in many other state Legislatures, but hasn’t passed.

Last Session, the ban came back from the near-dead after a last-minute amendment. Impassioned debate ensued. Republican Sen. Gayle Harrell left the Senate floor in tears during discussion. She later crossed party lines to vote against the amendment.

Arrington said there is scant evidence female athletes have been deprived of fair opportunities to compete because of transgender athletes.

“There is no need for this legislation,” she said.

The bill is now in the Secondary Education & Career Development Subcommittee.

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]


2 comments

  • Enough is Enough

    November 9, 2021 at 9:34 am

    Allowing biological boys/men to compete against women is the REAL ‘War on Women’ in the USA. It will utterly destroy women’s sports to allow biological boys/men to compete against women.

    Want proof? Compare the boys Florida HIGH SCHOOL track and field records to the women’s USA or World records in the same events, and you will see that in almost every event Florida HIGH SCHOOL boy records are 5+% higher. For example, a Sophomore HIGH SCHOOL boy holds the current Florida HIGH SCHOOL record for 100 meters, which is a full .5 seconds faster than the famed Florence Griffith Joyner’s still-standing 1988 WORLD RECORD for women in the same event.

    How is that fair to the millions of girls and women in sports to have biological boys and men bringing a physiological edge to every event? It’s not.

  • Ignoring reality

    November 9, 2021 at 12:55 pm

    Interesting. The several-times national championship FSU Women’s Soccer team regularly practices against the FSU Men’s Soccer “club team” (because there is no official FSU Men’s team) and regularly loses to the club team. The Women’s team is obviously excellent, but due to the reality of gender advantages, a Men’s college club team out-performs the best Women’s team in the nation. There are not that many transgender athletes out there, and ignoring the reality that these men have a significant performance edge over women punishes women athletes across the board.

Comments are closed.


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