clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Florida legislature sneaks trans athlete ban through at 11th hour; DeSantis vows to sign it

After a transgender athlete ban initially failed to pass, Florida politicians tack one on to an unrelated bill at the last minute.

The Masters - Round Three
The fate of trans athletes in Florida now rests in this man’s hands.
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

When Florida’s state senate was unable to pass a transgender athlete ban known as SB 2012 in mid-April, it appeared to be one of the biggest legislative upsets of the year and a rare moment of hope for the state’s trans community.

But unfortunately, it turned out that hope still had to contend with its greatest nemesis: Florida Man. And his malignant sidekick: Florida Woman.

In this instance, several Florida Men and Florida Women used a legislative maneuver to tack a trans athlete ban onto an unrelated charter school appropriations bill and the senate passed that measure on Wednesday evening. Because apparently one of Florida’s “requirements for a charter school to be a high-performing charter school” is failing basic civics.

After all, why should the schools be any different than the legislature?

SB 2012 sponsor and Extremely Florida Woman Rep. Kaylee Tuck attempted to dispel criticism that the legislature was forcing this ban through despite there being no recorded issues with trans athletes at state schools by telling the Orlando Sentinel, “We don’t need to wait until there’s a problem in Florida for us to act.”

Upon hearing those words, the other 49 states reflexively assumed the fetal position.

UFC 261 Press Conference
Governor Ron DeSantis will be officiating the match between the Florida legislature and basic decency. Hoo boy.
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

The only substantive change to the legislature’s original trans athlete ban proposal is that the new bill calls for utilizing a student’s original birth certificate instead of an invasive genital examination to determine the gender they were assigned at birth.

Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith showed his disdain for the bill’s proponents, declaring, “We’re told it’s a compromise because we’re no longer inspecting the genitals of children in schools. Members, not inspecting children’s genitals is not a compromise. The fact that we were doing it in the first place is absolutely insane.”

Sadly, Smith’s plea for sanity fell on mostly deaf ears. Sneaking a transgender athlete ban through on an unrelated bill was a particularly emphatic act of cruelty. And as you’ve no doubt already guessed, the bill’s backers topped it off with a side of misgendering.

State Sen. Keith Perry set out to prove that his knowledge of the issue consisted precisely of memorizing one tired transphobic talking point, telling the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, “To think about my daughters competing against biological males rubs me the wrong way.”

Well, in that case, Perry should have no problem at all with his daughters competing against trans girls. Problem solved.

Somehow, State Sen. Kelli Stargel didn’t even bother to put in that much effort to justify her vote, claiming “I thought it was common knowledge that men are stronger than women. We’re just trying to protect them.”

If common knowledge had anything to do with it, Kelli Stargel wouldn’t be a senator.

After being passed by the Florida House and Senate, the bill has been sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis’s desk where it is currently awaiting his signature. Our best hope would be that someone convinces DeSantis the bill contains accurate COVID statistics so that he chooses to ignore it.

Alas, DeSantis told Fox News Thursday he intends to sign the bill:

“We’re going to protect our girls,” DeSantis said at a town hall of Republican governors hosted by Fox’ Laura Ingraham. “I have a four-year-old daughter and a one-year old daughter. They’re both very athletic. We want to have opportunities for our girls. They deserve an even playing field, and that’s what we’re doing.”