A huge step back for trans rights and safety. 

Florida’s House of Representatives has passed a new transphobic bill that bans transgender student athletes from participating in school sports.

The “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” was passed this past Wednesday (14 April) with a 77-40 vote, with no Republicans opposing the anti-trans law.

Under the HB 1475 bill, schools will also have the ability to conduct “routine sports physical examinations” if a student’s gender is questioned.

“A dispute regarding a student’s sex shall be resolved by the student’s school or institution by requesting that the student provide a health examination and consent form or other statement signed by the student’s personal health care provider which must verify the student’s biological sex,” the bill stated.

Many Democrats have slammed the conservative law. Rep. Michele Rayner likened the intrusive medical examination to “state-sanctioned sexual assault against children.”

The transphobic legislation was based on a similar bill that Idaho attempted to pass in 2020.

Like the Florida law, the Idaho bill gave schools the ability to require student athletes to prove their gender with a genetic test or examination of their body.

Details regarding the complaint process were not included in the bill.

With the law passed in the State House, the legislation will now have to pass in the Republican-led State Senate.

Rep. Omari J Hardy took to Twitter to share his disappointment with the passing of the bill.

“We gave everything we had to give. We reasoned we shouted, we pleaded, we cried, we broke down & left the House Floor,” he wrote.

“But today, FL Republicans passed a bill not only banning trans kids from playing sports but subjecting kids who sex mat be disputed to genital inspections.”

House sponsor, Kaylee Tuck, R-Lake Placid, expressed her support for the bill saying that it’s “simply asking that they play based on their biological gender.”

The narrative surrounding trans women having an “unfair advantage” in sports has been heavily disputed by scientists over the years.

In a recent interview with NPR, paediatrician and geneticist Dr Eric Vilain de-bunked the numerous anti-trans bills due to them lacking scientific research. 

“We know that men have, on average, an advantage in performance in athletics of 10% to 12% over women, which sports authorities have attributed to differences in levels of a male hormone called testosterone,” he explained.

“But the question is whether there is in real life, during actual competitions, an advantage of performance linked to this male hormone and whether trans athletes are systematically winning all competitions.

“The answer to this latter question, are trans athletes winning everything, is simple – that’s not the case.” 

In light of the growing anti-trans legislation concerning transgender athletes, the National Collegiate Athletic Association released a statement regarding their stance.

“When determining where championships are held, 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,” the statement said.

There are currently 35 bills that are targeting trans rights. Many of them are trying to stop transgender athletes from participating in sporting teams that align with how they self-identify.

Related: Jazz Jennings reveals she banned from playing sports as a trans child