JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A controversial bill that would ban transgender girls and young women from participating in youth girls or women's college sports is on the move in the Florida Capitol.
Bill sponsors say it levels the playing field, but critics say the bill is discriminatory.
The bill passed out of a Florida House Subcommittee Wednesday on a 13 to 4 party-line vote, with all Republicans voting for it and all Democrats voting against it.
“I never saw myself through the eyes of a boy ever. It was always through the eyes of a girl," Brooklyn Owen said.
Owen began living her life as a female in 2019.
“Nobody identifies as trans just to have an advantage in sports,” Owen said.
Some lawmakers fear trans women could get an unfair advantage competing in girls and women's sports, including Fla. Rep. Alex Andrade.
“Boys have more testosterone. They have denser bones. They have stronger muscles and stronger tendons. It gives them a competitive advantage over girls in those sports," said Andrade, (R) - District 2.
Andrade voted in favor of the bill. It would require trans women and girls to compete in boys and men's sports, and any disputes over biological sex would be resolved through an examination of "the student's reproductive anatomy."
“If anyone feels discriminated against based on this bill, what I want to say is that’s not the intent," Andrade said. "That’s not the effect of the bill, and that’s not where our hearts are.”
“Frankly, I’m disgusted with the actions of our State Legislature," Owen said. "I think many Floridians don’t feel this way. In my encounters with Floridians, we are a welcoming state.”
The bill now goes to a committee, and if it passes, it will be up for a vote on the House floor.
The ACLU reports at least 25 other states have similar bills this legislative session.