JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A bill that was recently passed in the Florida House is not sitting well the LGBTQ community in Jacksonville.
“This particular bill is built on hate and division," said Manny Velasquez, director of the LGBTQ center at the University of North Florida.
The bill is called HB 1475 it would ban transgender girls from playing women’s sports.
“This is a non-issue and they’re just trying to look at ways to chip away the rights of individuals and the rights of community members," said Velasquez.
Phillip Perry, communication director for the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus, and track and cross-country coach, says we should be encouraging transgender youth to take part in athletic teams.
“I’ve seen at first hand how it could really change students' lives for the better, I’ve seen how it can build character, build confidence and build leadership skills, and that’s really important," Perry said.
Velasquez says this bill isn’t fair and can mentally hurt an individual.
“Having to hear from your leaders that are telling you that you’re not good enough to be able to be a part of that community, how damaging is that," Velasquez said.
This week, the NCAA Board of Governors posted a statement saying they firmly support the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports.
When determining where championships are held, the NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected.
“At the end of the day we’re talking about children’s lives here, and that’s the most important thing, but there’s also going to be a great economic impact on the state where we’re going to miss out on big events happening in the state of Florida," Perry said.