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Florida Republicans pass wildly bigoted anti-trans bill that involves checking kids’ genitals

Florida Republicans pass wildly bigoted anti-trans bill that involves checking kids’ genitals

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The political party that regularly mouths off about the sacred personal freedoms that are an American birthright apparently doesn’t want to offer those same freedoms to transexual youths.

That’s the only reasonable conclusion to be drawn from the actions of Republicans in state legislatures across the country as they attempt to pass bills targeting the rights of non-gender-conforming individuals still below the legal age of consent in their jurisdictions.

The latest attempt garnering outrage among LGBTQ activists comes from Florida where the state House of Representatives passed a bill late yesterday that would ban transgender females from playing on girls’ and women’s high-school and college sports teams.

About a dozen transgender girls have managed to successfully play on female sports teams in Florida without major incident or controversy since legislation allowing them to do so was passed in 2013, but the GOP-controlled Florida house nevertheless took the first step to completely ban transgender athletes from girls’ and women’s teams in a largely party-line vote, 77-40, despite the bill’s sponsors admission that the inclusion of transgender girls in women’s sports programs hasn’t actually caused any problems.

The bill, HB 1475 a/k/a the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act”, would make participation in athletics contingent on the determination of students’ “biological sex,” a disputed term that refers to the sex assigned at birth.
Even more egregiously, the bill would allow disputes over the proper assignment of gender identity to be resolved “by requesting that the student provide a health examination and consent form or other statement signed by the student’s personal health care provider which must verify the student’s biological sex,”  the kind of intrusion into personal privacy and medical information by the government that normally would inspire an endless series of rants by right-wing media figures intent on defending individual liberty and personal freedoms.
The measure mandates that a student’s gender would be determined by their reproductive anatomy, their chromosomes, or the “normal endogenously produced testosterone levels.”
Opponents of the bill warned that the legislation was a dangerous infringement of these trans children’s rights.
“I don’t care how many times you tell yourself this is about women’s sports and not LGBTQ rights or discrimination, because that is wrong,” said Rep. Anna Eskamani, (D-Orlando).
“The bill, and unfortunately as a consequence, transgender children, have been weaponized and turned into political pawns. Not just by the Republican Party of Florida, but by 25 Republican state legislatures across the country,” Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando) told a news conference yesterday hosted by the advocacy group Equality Florida.
It is not just trans athletes that will be harmed if this bill also passes the Florida Senate and is signed into law by the arch-conservative GOP Governor Ron DeSantis.
According to The South Florida Sun-Sentinal:
“This week, the National Collegiate Athletic Association Board of Governors said it would consider pulling championships from states that ban transgender athletes from participating in women’s and girls’ sports. On the same night, the sponsor of the Senate version, Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, postponed the committee discussion on the bill. It was originally scheduled for discussion on Wednesday.”
With an NCAA boycott potentially costing Florida around 50 tournaments worth an estimated $75 million over the next five years, both athletes of any gender and their schools would be negatively affected, not to mention the financial hit that would be taken by the state’s economy.
At this point, activists are urging that voters call the members of the Florida Senate to ask them to reject the bill that their colleagues in the House have already approved.
Hopefully, if enough people call and remind the Republicans of how incompatible this bill is with their dedication to preserving the individual liberties of American citizens from over-reaching government regulation, they will see the error of their ways and kill this bill before it prevents any trans athletes from pursuing their sports dreams with complete freedom.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter. 

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Original reporting by Brooke Baitinger at The South Florida Sun-Sentinal and by Ryan Dailey at The Orlando Weekly.

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