TAMPA, Fla. — Transgender athletes in Florida public schools may not be able to play on teams with the gender they identify with. This comes after the House passed an education bill that included this controversial measure. Now, the bill is on the governor’s desk to be signed.
ABC Action News in-depth reporter Anthony Hill spoke with people on both sides of the issue and is digging deeper to find out what this means for the transgender community right here in the Tampa Bay area.
A bill that would prevent transgender high school and college students from playing on teams with the gender they identify with passed the Florida house of representatives. It was attached to a larger bill on education.
Kaylee Tuck is one of the state representatives who voted for this bill. She says this sports ban intends not to discriminate against the transgender community.
“We didn’t take away anybody’s opportunity to play sports. We just want to make sure that biological men aren’t playing on women’s sports, but biological men still can play on coed teams or the men’s teams.”
Representative Tuck says the purpose of this law is to protect the integrity of women’s sports.
“We wanted to make sure that biological males who have an athletic advantage over females weren’t taking over and taking opportunities away from women.”
We reached out to several area school districts about the bill and they told us they don’t want to comment on the issue at this time.
Nathan Bruemmer is from the Florida LGBTQ Democratic Caucus, and he disagrees with this new bill. He says that passing this measure can negatively impact transgender youth.
“The fact that we’re just literally removing that opportunity to thrive, I think that is most damaging because even if there wasn’t an interest to play sports, knowing you’re not wanted here. It hurts.”
People who oppose this measure say they disagree with how it’s being passed since it was added on to an existing bill at the very last minute. Still, ABC Action News Political Analysis Dr. Susan MacManus says, this happens all the time and it’s called a train.
“We have many, many examples of where at the end of the session you see a lot of these trains. One bill added to another, into one giant bill that then people have to vote either up or down.”
She also says this is a highly partisan and cultural issue that divides along party lines.
“Republicans are very much in favor of this bill and Democrats very much against it, and independents split right down the middle.”
Right now, the bill is sitting on Governor Ron DeSantis’s desk, and he’s expected to sign it. If he does, the law will take effect on July 1.