The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, also known as HB 1475, moves forward after its committee hearing and on to the next stage in the Florida House. Opponents of this bill refer to it as Florida’s own “anti-trans” legislation, and are equating it to other state’s “bathroom bans.”
“The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act passed its final committee today. I was proud to support this common sense initiative!” Representative Alex Andrade posted on his Facebook.
On a graphic released from the Florida House of Representatives’ Office of the Majority Leader, HB 1475 is stated to “require public school athletic teams at the K-12 and collegiate levels to be designated based on biological sex and reserves female teams of biological women and girls.”
The Florida House Majority leader also alleges the bill “protects women and girls from being displaced and deprived of athletic scholarships and other benefits that would enhance their futures.”
Local LGBTQ activists, however, remain extremely concerned about the potential impact of this legislation. Dr. Alexys Hillman, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine in Pensacola, who provides gender-affirming healthcare to patients, is one medical provider who is appalled at Rep. Andrade’s championing of HB 1475.
Dr. Hillman released the following statement: “Representative Andrade and the GOP’s support for anti-trans legislation is, as it has always been, disgusting. They force not only children and families into tough situations, but schools and physicians. Trans athletes must now be forced to choose — to live and work as they truly are (trans women being women, trans men being men) or to forego athletic opportunities for which they should be allowed to compete like anyone else. Families must decide whether to support their children’s authentic identity, or bow to pressure from others’ bigotry. Physicians must decide whether they are comfortable subjecting a child “in dispute” regarding their gender or sex to a reproductive exam. Particularly in the case of intersex athletes, where they may have reproductive anatomy reflective of both “biologic sexes,” as they put it, who makes the decision which team the person is put on? If they have XXY or XO chromosomes, who decides which team they are put on? Who is the school, the physician, or the legislature to declare who a person is?”
Rep. Kaylee Tuck (R-55) of Lake Placid, alternatively, stated, “The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act supports women and girls by ensuring they have the same opportunities as men and boys to showcase their skill, strength, and other athletic abilities.” Tuck says she is “proud to run this important legislation on behalf of all women and girls who deserve to compete on a level playing field.”
Dr. Hillman does not agree. “There is no reliable or reproducible evidence to show that trans women outperform cisgender women in athletics. This bill does not provide any allowances for athletes on HRT, does not provide any allowances for intersex trans athletes, and does nothing but serve to further marginalize an already vulnerable group. Like the bathroom bills, it does nothing but feed on fear and perpetuate transphobia.”
Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, has proposed a similar bill in the Florida Senate, Senate Bill 2012, that would allow transgender girls to compete in girls’ sports, but only if they are able to adhere to the same testosterone standards that the Olympics currently have.
“I’m not intentionally trying to harm any child that wants to participate. I’m just trying to make sure that it’s fair,” Rep. Stargel previously stated. “We recognize that there are some physiological differences in strength between men and women. That’s why we have women’s sports versus men’s sports.”
Ariel Bailey oppose the House bill. “This bill is clearly not rooted in basic science, ” Bailey, a medical assistant and Program Assistant for Gender-Affirming Healthcare, stated. “Trans women tend to present with reduced bone density, muscle mass, and strength even prior to beginning HRT, and furthermore, trans women are statistically mediocre at best when compared to cis competitors.”
She continued, “Growing up, I was always told that I “throw like a girl” and told that ‘hey the girls’ locker room is that way!’ And yet now that I’m years into estrogen therapy, now people suddenly have a change of heart and believe me to suddenly be super good at sports now? I didn’t realize that estradiol was the new sports enhancement drug!” Bailey’s community is directly by these law. She is also the founder of Pridesacola and the President of the LGBTA homeless shelter Board of Directors.
Bailey previously authored an article on the subject, which can be found here.