Rainbow Democrats Board Opposes Anti-Trans Sports Ban
ORLANDO, FLORIDA – The Rainbow Democrats Board of Directors stand united in strong opposition to HB 1475, a bill that seeks to ban transgender students from participating on sports teams at any level. The Rainbow Democrats urge members of the Florida House of Representatives to stand in solidarity with trans kids in Orange County by voting NO on HB 1475.
This bill and its supporters claim that by passing HB 1475, Florida would be acting in defense of women’s sports. They also claim that transgender women have a physiological advantage over other women and that this bill in no way discriminates against the transgender community. These statements could not be further from the truth.
Supporters of this bill often present a hypothetical scenario where a transgender athlete ranks 1st in the women’s division, despite ranking 500th in the men’s division prior to their transition. They claim that this presents a “clear and present danger” to women’s sports. However, these same supporters, including the sponsor and co-sponsors of HB 1475, cannot present a single example of where this has happened in a Florida school. This is because no such scenario exists.
Transgender women do not have physiological or biological advantages over other women in sports, and suggestions otherwise have no basis in science. Trans girls who begin hormone transition prior to puberty do not undergo puberty with testosterone at all. Trans girls and women who begin hormone therapy during or after puberty would see any potential strength or endurance advantages from testosterone dissipate after about one year.
Stereotypes about transgender bodies are also unfounded, as there is no one trans body type. Trans people come in all shapes and sizes, the same as all women. The assertion made by HB 1475 that trans women athletes have a distinct advantage over other women is, scientifically speaking, a boldfaced lie.
Sports programs can be crucial to the socialization of youth. By participating in sports teams, youth are provided an opportunity to develop teamwork, communication, and leadership skills that they otherwise may not receive in the average classroom. Sports teams also provide a space to develop close friendships and bonds with their peers.
Transgender students already face challenges in school environments, constantly facing discrimination and hostility from their peers, teachers, and even parents. Transgender students also disproportionately struggle with mental health compared to their peers, with 35% of trans high school students having reported attempting suicide in 2017.
By banning transgender students from participating in sports teams that align with their gender identity, HB 1475 will worsen the already dire situations many transgender kids find themselves in. This bill will further isolate and marginalize transgender youth, harming both their academic and social development, as well as their mental health. HB 1475 risks driving more transgender youth into attempting suicide, all in the name of solving a problem that does not exist.
HB 1475 creates a process through which any student’s sex could be disputed, and the requirements needed to resolve the dispute will have a horrific effect on girl’s and women’s sports. A student’s healthcare provider would need to verify the student’s sex through one or more of the following physical examinations: The student’s testosterone levels, the student’s genetic makeup, or the student’s reproductive anatomy.
Let us be clear, none of these options can determine someone’s identity. Only the individual in question can do that. These tests are as cruel and invasive as they are ineffective. Because trans girls are often indistinguishable from any other girl, these disputes will instead be lodged against any girl with stereotypically “manly” features. Black, Hispanic, and Latino girls will also be disproportionately targeted through this process.
The cost of blood tests for testosterone levels and genetic makeup ranges from $100 to over $2,000, making them inaccessible to many working-class families without insurance. The ultimate result of this process outlined in HB 1475 will be schools requiring girls to prove their identity through genital examination to participate in sports.
The NCAA and the Florida High School Athletics Association already have rules in place that allow transgender athletes to participate on a sports team that align with their identity. In fact, these rules have been in place for over ten years, and there has not been a single reported issue. The NCAA also stands opposed to legislation that seeks to ban trans athletes from sports. In a letter released by HRC on April 2nd, NCAA President Mark A. Emmert stated in no uncertain terms that the NCAA would continue only to hold championship games in locations “free of discrimination.”
To protect women’s sports, supporters of HB 1475 are willing to undo the successful work of the FHSAA, trigger a state-wide boycott by the NCAA, risk an increase in the suicidality of trans students, and require your daughters to have their genitals examined by a stranger. All while failing to identify the actual problem they are trying to solve.
Rainbow Democrats Board of Directors
President, Brandon Nelson
Vice President, Matthew Inman
Secretary, Robin Witt
Treasurer, Jack Meek
Director, Margo Dixon
A formal letter of the above was also sent to media outlets and to Orange County Representatives.