Advocates call on governor to veto trans athlete bill
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) - During some last-minute maneuvering, Florida lawmakers revived, then passed, legislation prohibiting transgender women from competing in women’s only sports.
Advocates in the LGBTQ community are now calling for the governor to veto the bill.
With little warning, the prohibition on trans women competing in women’s only sports was tagged on to a must-pass charter schools bill and rushed through both chambers in a matter of hours Wednesday night.
“It caught us totally off guard,” said Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith.
Smith has been one of the most vocal opponents of the legislation.
He argues the bill is discriminatory on its face, despite the ban now only applying to high school and college athletics and the removal of language that would have allowed for challenging the biological sex of student-athletes.
“Transgender kids who were playing in team sports in Florida across the state right now will be expelled and humiliated in front of their peers. They did nothing wrong,” said Smith. “We need to support trans youth and love trans youth, not use them as political pawns.”
LGBTQ activists held a virtual press conference Thursday, calling for the governor to use his veto pen.
“Laws like these are intended for one thing. To legislate trans people out of existence and society. To expel us from public spaces, block our access to basic human dignities,” said Willow Leech with the Florida Coalition for Transgender Liberation.
Adding pressure on the governor, the NCAA has promised to boycott states that implement trans-athlete bans.
“It’s up to the governor to figure out whether or not attacking trans youth is worth losing $75 million in economic activity, jobs and tournaments from NCAA here in Florida,” said Smith.
The governor has so far been silent on the legislation.
At least one Republican governor in North Dakota vetoed a similar bill, although others in Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee have been signed into law.
And even if the governor signs the bill into law, legal challenges are all but guaranteed.
A similar law in Idaho has been put on hold by a federal court.
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