By a vote of 70-44 along party lines, the GOP dominated Florida House of Representatives passed HB 1475 which provides for “girls only” athletic contests in grades K-12 for Florida school children. The measure must pass the Florida Senate before it would go to Gov. Ron De Santis for his signature.
This followed news yesterday that the Alabama Legislature had passed similar legislation as was reported here by my RedState colleague Alex Parker.
Just in the past few weeks, we have seen this issue develop and advance in at least seven different states by my count — off the top of my head as I type — South Dakota, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, West Virginia, and now Florida. GOP-controlled legislatures continue to push forward on this issue in the face of what is certain to be opposition from the Biden Administration and the NCAA. The NY Times reports that as many as 30 states have some form of legislation in the works addressing the issue of transgender participation in sports.
The Human Rights Campaign is one of several groups that has sent letters to the N.C.A.A. calling for a tougher response to bills that have emerged in at least 30 states this session.
As I noted in this story earlier last week, the NCAA has now come out and expressly stated that it will take the passage of laws like this into consideration in determining what states will be selected to host NCAA championship events in the future — and its commitment to that announcement is going to be tested very soon when it has to announce playing sites for the upcoming College Baseball and Softball National Championship tournaments.
When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected. We will continue to closely monitor these situations to determine whether NCAA championships can be conducted in ways that are welcoming and respectful of all participants.
House Bill 1475 as passed does include some provisions that are certain to be controversial when they are called out by hostile media — although I’m not sure why they should be.
The bill, which is modeled after an Idaho law … allows a school or competitor to lodge a complaint about an athlete competing in a girls’ or woman’s sport. If the party complaining suspects the athlete was not assigned the female gender at birth, the athlete in question will have to prove their birth gender — via a genetic test, a test of their testosterone levels or an examination of their reproductive anatomy by a medical professional — in order to compete.
As the father of five, all of whom have played or are playing school sports, state law requires that each participant undergo a physical examination by a licensed physician who must sign a form confirming that the child is physically cleared for athletic competition. The form has to be signed within 365 days of submission — meaning a new one is required every year before the child is eligible to participate.
The opponents of this legislation will certainly focus on the requirement that the participant’s “birth gender” be confirmed by one of the three methods set forth, the cheapest and easiest of which will be an examination by a medical professional. Why it is objectionable that a medical professional identifies the “birth gender” of the child in the same manner the professional certifies the child is healthy and able to participate seems like an exercise in sophism to me.