SB 2012 (Stargel) Promoting Equality of Athletic Opportunity passed its first Senate committee hearing on Tuesday, and unfortunately, they have scheduled this anti-transgender bill that targets K-12 female students for Round 2 in the Senate Health Policy Committee on Wednesday March 31 at 8:00 am ET. Please note this Senate bill is different from the House version which restricts sports eligibility solely on the basis of biologic sex. The Senate bill allows for K-12 trans-female sports participation by incorporating the collegiate NCAA requirement for low testosterone levels before students can play. It mandates a low testosterone level for at least 12 months before the trans female's first competition, and then "monthly throughout the period of desired eligibility to compete in the female category." Senate Republicans declare they are being "scientific" and fair with this bill. Here are some talking points as to why they are not:
NCAA policy has successfully worked for adult trans-female athletes for over a decade, but why does this Senate bill also apply to students in public K-12 schools who are not yet adults? Prior to puberty, boys do not have any physical advantages over girls because of their physiology. Guidelines developed for adults should not be applied to elementary school children. This Senate bill is nothing more than continued bullying and marginalization of trans children to make them "other than." Shameful.
For over a decade, Florida High School Athletics Association (FHSAA) guidelines have allowed middle/junior and high-school students to participate -- without incident -- in gender-segregated athletic events consistent with their gender identity and irrespective of the gender listed on a birth certificate. The trans student athlete must meet minimum criteria and pass an eligibility review process. This new Florida law would preempt these established FHSAA guidelines that have been working well for years.
The testosterone blood level requirements as written in this bill effectively exclude the pubertal trans female from competing on the team with which she identifies if she is not already being medically treated with testosterone suppression. In college, the serious competitive trans athlete has the opportunity to delay her eligibility to play in order to initiate hormone therapy so she can meet the testosterone blood level standard one year prior to starting competition with the other female athletes. The middle and high school athlete has no such option to delay her play for one to two years; therefore, the bill as written is discriminatory.
This Senate bill requires a lot of invasive blood tests and regular physician monitoring in order to play school sports, which is primarily a social outlet at this age for most public school-sponsored athletes at this age. Besides being scary and painful, especially to children, monthly blood tests are very costly and unnecessary. Current transgender treatment guidelines do not recommend this high frequency of blood monitoring (Overview of feminizing hormone therapy | Transgender Care (ucsf.edu). How is a student and her family supposed to afford all of these physician visits and monthly tests that would generally not be covered by health care insurance? How many of them even have health insurance or access to a physician's care? The Republican Legislature should remember that we have a health care access and affordability crisis in our state. Its time would be better spent on expanding Medicaid rather than discriminating against transgender children.
And finally, if you can't shame Republicans into just being humane to children, maybe you can scare them with their biggest fear--loss of money:
College athletes are demanding that the NCAA pull championships from states with anti-trans sports legislation (Nearly 550 College Athletes Demand NCAA Pull Championships From States With Anti-Trans Sports Legislation - Sports Illustrated). This does not bode well for the Governor's push to attract sports teams and tournaments to the state.
This month over 50 businesses signed the Business Statement Opposing Anti-LGBTQ State Legislation stating their clear opposition to harmful transphobic state laws. They emphasize that bigotry like the anti-trans bill being pushed in Florida impact their decisions whether to establish or grow their operations in the state (2021-Business-Statement-Opposing-Anti-LGBTQ-State-Legislation.pdf (hrc-prod-requests.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com) It is hard to grow the economy with laws like this one being promoted in the Florida Legislature.
This bill makes Florida one of 23 states waging a national assault on trans children. Most of these children have no idea why they are hated so much by some Florida legislators and others around the country. All they want to do is play sports, where ironically, they have been taught to believe in team mottos like "together we can do more." Please contact the Senators below on the Health Policy Committee before Wednesday and urge them to vote "NO".
Thank you, Jean Siebenaler Santa Rosa Democrats Legislative Liaison