PRESS RELEASE: Florida Legislators Broker Backroom Deal to Ban Trans Children from Sports

For Immediate Release: April 28, 2021


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Brandon Wolf ; Media Relations Manager

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Florida Legislators Broker Backroom Deal to Ban Trans Children from Sports

Equality Florida Responds to Shameful Amendment from Legislators Hell-bent on Attacking LGBTQ Kids


TALLAHASSEE, FL Late Wednesday, House Republican leaders filed an amendment to an unrelated charter schools bill (SB 1028 - Hutson) that would effectively ban trans kids from playing sports with their peers. The backroom deal to resurrect the bigoted ban is part of a continued national effort to garner support from the far-right at the expense of the most vulnerable population of young people. The amendment comes on the heels of a standalone bill (SB 2012) stalling in its last Senate committee after enormous public outcry.


“In the 11th hour of the 2021 legislative session, Florida lawmakers are still hellbent on passing this discriminatory bill,” said Gina Duncan, Equality Florida Director of Transgender Equality. “Despite hearing the voices of trans kids and their families time and time again, extremists in the legislature have made it their mission to make trans children pawns in their culture war. Now, instead of being open about their bigotry, they are negotiating the future of anti-LGBTQ discrimination in smoke-filled back rooms and attempting to attach this amendment to a completely unrelated bill.”


In the last several weeks, overwhelming bipartisan opposition to this and similar bills has grown, now including lawmakers from across the country, professional and collegiate sporting organizations including the Miami HEAT, Misfits Gaming Group, and the NCAA, world-renowned athletes, faith leaders, legal scholars, medical professionals, over 65 major corporations, and the very experts that bill sponsors cite as justification. Just today, the American Medical Association joined the calls for an end to anti-transgender legislation, urging governors to veto bills aimed at denying medical care to transgender youth and calling those efforts “dangerous governmental intrusion.”


If this amendment is incorporated into SB 1028, it would amount to the first anti-LGBTQ bill to pass the Florida Legislature in 23 years and at a time when Florida’s economy is working to recover from a deadly pandemic, the move could cost the state major sporting events and other tourism revenue. The NCAA has reaffirmed its policy to only host championship and tournament events in states “free of discrimination”, a move that puts $75 million in revenue at risk over the next five years. As the chorus of opposition grows to this discriminatory legislation, it is clear that all Floridians are in danger of experiencing the negative fallout of lawmakers’ desperate attempts to turn transgender kids into a political football.

House and Senate leadership, as well as bill sponsor Travis Hutson, must listen to the overwhelming majority of voices opposing this ammendment and reject this state-sanctioned discrimination.


Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community. Through education, grassroots organizing, coalition building, and lobbying, we are changing Florida so that no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.


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