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NCAA says it could pull championships over Florida transgender sports bill

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Posted at 9:28 PM, Apr 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-12 23:21:34-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The National Collegiate Athletic Association Board of Governors put out a statement on Monday saying it would consider pulling championships from states that ban athletes who are transgender from participating in women's or girls' sports.

The statement read in part, "When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected."

The Florida House is set to discuss House Bill 1475 this week. The bill would ban women who are transgender from competing in high school or college sports.

RELATED: Florida bill banning trans girls from women's sports advances

The legislation puts Florida on a list of at least 25 states where conservatives are pushing similar restrictions.

Supporters of the bill said the policy doesn't aim to discriminate but to create a level playing field for women.

Chris Latvala, a Republican with the Florida House of Representatives, supports the ban on transgender athletes.

"The main purpose is to protect women sports and protect women's access to women sports. It's not to target the LGBT community," said Chris Latvala.

On Monday, about 1,500 parents of transgender, non-binary and gender-expansive youths sent a letter to lawmakers opposing anti-transgender bills.

The letter reads in part, "Let's be clear. The impact of these bills goes far beyond sports and medical care; they call into question whether our children have the right to exist, to be happy, to live authentically. The answer is yes. They absolutely do."

Jesse Jones has a transgender daughter and spoke to lawmakers last month.

“If she wants to participate in something, there’s not a transgender team. There’s not. Where is she going to participate? She’s not going to be part of the male team, because she’s not a male," Jones said.

A Tampa Bay mother, Lindsay McClelland, said legislation like this could someday impact her daughter who is transgender.

"Kids just want to play sports. Imagine, if you had to tell your child they couldn't play baseball or they couldn't be on the swim team. It's really sad," said Lindsay McClelland. "We just need to be more compassionate towards people who are different than us."

If the bill passes the Florida House, it will then go to the Florida Senate for a vote.