Sunshine State Sticks to Tradition: Florida Bans Transgender Athlete Participation

A high school in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. has banned a transgender girl from playing on its girls’ volleyball team for 11 months due to “the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” which states that transgender women and girls can not compete on girls’ public school sports teams. “Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida passed legislation to protect girls’ sports and we will not tolerate any school that violates this law,” Education Commissioner Manny Diaz said in a statement. “We applaud the swift action taken by the Florida High School Athletic Association to ensure there are serious consequences for this illegal behavior.”

What garbage. The law, passed by DeSantis in 2021 (on the first day of Pride month, no less) favors cisgender women and perpetuates transphobia and hatred in a place where hate truly has no way to fit in. Sports, and specifically team sports at the high school level, are about building a community, a team culture that represents a school or area. Not all of Florida can be hate-free, but props to Monarch High School. I hope someone eats your $16k fine because you did the right thing by allowing your female student to play on a female sports team. The student has played over 30 matches for the team in the last two years. She was removed after an anonymous tip came in last month and then formally banned by the Florida High School Athletic Association. The school is also on probation, indicating that as time goes on, further punishment could be handed out. The main argument in this dumb law is that biological men are stronger than biological women, so allowing people who were assigned male at birth to compete in female sports makes the playing field uneven. Your daughter could get beaten in a race by a trans girl, and that would make you sad, wouldn’t it? That would make you stop and say, “wow, that is really unfair that they let her race.” Good thing volleyball is a team sport, where her individual performance doesn’t really mean anything in the grand scheme of whether the team wins or loses. There are five other people on that court working just as hard as her to get that ball over the net. Her biology means nothing here. Secondly, gender is not just female and male. There are people who are intersex, people who have hormonal disorders or chromosomal disorders. Take Caster Semenya for example. She was assigned female at birth, competes female, but naturally has higher testosterone in her body. Why is she banned from competing if she is a female? Imagine if that was your kid, Floridians. Wouldn’t you be upset that your kid checks all the boxes of this whack law, but then is banned because of something they naturally produce? Now it doesn’t matter who is running beside them on the track or on the other side of the volleyball net, because your kid is on the sidelines. The student, as reported by The New York Post has been on hormone blockers since age 11 and started taking estrogen at age 13 to begin puberty. They have identified as female since before elementary school and changed their name by the second grade, and, most importantly, the gender on her birth certificate is female. She is a girl, let her play. Her fellow students are in support of her, organizing a walkout to protest this decision. Being transgender is already hard enough due to the mental and physical changes the body goes through as kids and adults come to that realization. Sports are supposed to be a relief of all that stuff, so why bring it into a place where it has no business? “The outpouring of love and support from our community … has been inspiring, selfless and brave,” said Jessica Norton, the mother of the student who was banned, in a statement on Dec. 4. “Watching our community’s resistance and display of love has been so joyous for our family — the light leading us through this darkness.”