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Florida Rep. Sabatini files legislation to keep transgender girls from competing in girls sports

The bill would also make it illegal to perform 'transgender surgery' on children.
Credit: Florida House of Representatives
Florida State Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Lake County

TALLAHASSEE, Fla — Florida State Representative Anthony Sabatini says he has filed legislation that would bar transgender girls from competing in girls sports in school. And, the bill would also make it illegal for doctors to perform "transgender surgery," widely known as gender affirmation surgery, on children. 

In a tweet Thursday afternoon, Rep. Sabatini said this action is meant to ensure women's sports and children were "protected from radical social experimentation." 

The filed bill, if passed, would allow "only students of the female sex" to play on sports teams "designated for girls only."

The bill also would make it illegal for doctors in Florida to prescribe any medication or perform any surgery that would "change" a child's gender or "affirm" a child's "perception" of their gender that is "inconsistent" with their current, born gender. 

Last month, President Joe Biden signed an executive order meant to prevent discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. 

"Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports," the order reads in part. 

In Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee recently said transgender girls should be banned from playing on middle and high school sports teams or they will “destroy women's sports.” 

Tennessee is one of at least a dozen states with lawmakers backing restrictions on athletics or gender-confirming health care for trans youth this year. The proposals come as a growing number of state high school athletic associations in the U.S. have enabled transgender athletes to play on teams based on their gender identity, and the NCAA has trans-inclusive guidelines for all its member schools.

Backers of the bill argue that transgender girls, because they were identified as male at birth, naturally are stronger, faster and bigger than those identified as female at birth and therefore have an unfair advantage in sports.

Opponents counter that such proposals violate Title IX of federal education law prohibiting sex discrimination, as well as rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court and 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Furthermore, others point to an executive order signed by Democratic President Joe Biden that prohibited discrimination based on gender identity in school sports and elsewhere.

You can read the full text of Rep. Sabatini's bill here

HB 935 2021 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to youth gender and sexual identity; 3 creating s. 456.0335, F.S.; providing a short title; 4 defining the term "sex"; providing criminal penalties 5 for health care practitioners who perform or cause 6 specified practices to be performed on a minor under 7 certain conditions; providing applicability; amending 8 s.

The Associated Press contributed to this article. 

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