Florida Anti-Trans Bill Could Require “Genital Inspections” Of Students

After Florida’s House voted to advance the bill, the state Senate will consider it.

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Florida’s House voted to advance an anti-trans bill on Wednesday that would ban trans girls from competing on women’s sports teams and could allow schools to require proof of a student’s biological sex. The legislation advanced as dozens of other anti-trans bills are being proposed across the U.S.

Florida’s GOP-controlled House voted 77-40 to pass the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act; nearly every Republican representative voted in favor of the bill (except for two who did not vote). The state Senate will next consider the bill, which if passed, will reach Gov. Rick DeSantis (R-FL) who could sign it into law.

Sponsored by Rep. Kaylee Tuck (R), the bill, if it becomes law, would “maintain opportunities for female athletes” by banning trans girls from competing on women-only sports teams. The bill would also allow the school or another party to “dispute” a student’s gender, which would then require the student to provide proof of biological sex from a health care provider through either a physical exam, a genetic test, or proof of testosterone levels.

One of the bill’s opponents, Rep. Omari Hardy (D), said it would subject kids to “genital inspections.”

“This bill is codifying into law the ability for academic settings and schools to be able to bully and to harm our most vulnerable children,” Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby (D-FL) said in a statement. “Children are children. Transgender, cisgender. And they deserve to be loved, supported, and honored for who they are.”

According to GLAAD, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community, 122 anti-LGBTQ+ bills are being proposed in multiple states; those include more than 50 bills that seek to ban trans athletes from competing as their gender in sports and 35 bills that target health care access for trans youth. In March alone, GOP-led states including Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas passed bills that restrict trans athletes from competing as their gender in school sports.

In a statement earlier this week, the NCAA expressed support of trans athletes and suggested it would not hold championship events in states that have discriminatory laws. The organization also reiterated its policy on trans athletes, which includes requiring trans women to receive testosterone suppression treatment to compete on women-only teams.

Many in favor of banning trans girls and women from competing in sports as their gender often cite disputed information about differing physical advantages in women and men. The organization wrote in its policy that concerns about trans women competing on women’s teams are “not well founded” and are based on assumptions.

“The assumption that all male-bodied people are taller, stronger, and more highly skilled in a sport than all female-bodied people is not accurate,” the policy reads.

The recent wave of anti-trans legislation has become a large part of the Republican party’s agenda. GOP leaders have historically fought against the rights of the LGBTQ+ community for years, including lobbying against marriage equality before it was legalized under the Obama administration in 2015.

While anti-trans legislation has been proposed by GOP leaders in several states, a recent PBS NewsHour/ NPR/ Marist poll found that a majority of Republican voters oppose anti-trans laws. According to the poll, 70% of Republicans are against prohibiting transition-related health care for minors, and 66% are against legislation that would prohibit trans athletes from competing on teams of their gender identity. Overall, two-thirds of Americans are against anti-trans legislation.