Fact Check: Florida Bill Would NOT Make A Transgender Student Athlete 'Drop Her Pants' To Prove She's A Girl Before Playing On A Florida School Sports Team

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: Florida Bill Would NOT Make A Transgender Student Athlete 'Drop Her Pants' To Prove She's A Girl Before Playing On A Florida School Sports Team Too Extreme

Would a proposed Florida bill make a transgender student athlete "drop her pants" to prove she's a girl before playing on a Florida school sports team? No, that's not true. Both versions of the bill in Florida (a state House bill and a state Senate version) provide for either genetic testing or testing of a child's endogenously produced testosterone levels by their own doctor. The House version, HB 1475, allows the personal doctor to sign a certificate about the "student's reproductive anatomy" as one alternative. Neither version of the legislation requires a child remove their clothing for an immediate physical examination. As of April 21, 2021 neither bill was expected to pass in the 2021 legislative session.

The claim appeared in an article (archived here) where it was published by Little Things on April 21, 2021, under the title "New Anti-Trans Bill In FL May Make Kids In Sports Have To 'Prove' Their Gender". It opened:

It's another tough day for transgender children. While their lives are already difficult trying to figure out their identity among many who don't believe that their personal battle is real, people are still set on taking their rights away.

Social media users saw this:

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The article states:

Florida's House of Representatives reportedly approved a bill that makes it OK for children in sports to be "checked" to make sure that they fit the right team. That means that if your child was born with male anatomical parts yet identifies as a female, she will be disqualified to play on a sports team with other young women the second she's asked to drop her pants.

And:

Florida's House of Representatives reportedly approved a bill that makes it OK for children in sports to be "checked" to make sure that they fit the right team."

The article cites a Twitter thread from Chris Mosier, a transgender advocate and triathlete with the quote about a person having to "drop her pants" to compete on a girls team.

The language in Florida House Bill 1475 would require high school and college sports teams to only allow students to play on a team based on their "biological sex," which means the sex assigned at birth. It would bar transgender females from participating in girls' high school or college teams. However, the bill provides guidelines for determining a student's "biological sex" and does not say that a person would be required to "drop her pants" to verify their gender.

The bill would allow "the school or institution to request a certain health examination and consent form or other statement from the student's health care provider to verify the student's biological sex under certain circumstances," to play on a team.

The bill has language regarding how a dispute about a student's "sex shall be resolved":

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 health care provider may verify the student's biological sex as part of a routine sports physical examination by relying only on one or more of the following:
1. The student's reproductive anatomy;
2. The student's genetic makeup; or
3. The student's normal endogenously produced testosterone 66 levels.

Florida Senate Bill 2012 has no mention of how a person's "biological sex" should be determined. The bill does not ban transgender students from playing on sports teams but says they can do so if they meet certain conditions.

Persons who transition from male to female are eligible to compete in the female category if all of the following conditions are met:

1. The student has declared a female gender identity to her school or institution.
2. The student demonstrates that her total testosterone level in serum has been below 10 nmol/L for at least 12 months before her first competition and monthly throughout the period 126 of desired eligibility to compete in the female category.
3. The student's total testosterone level in serum must 128 remain below 10 nmol/L throughout the period of desired 129 eligibility to compete in the female category.

Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Kelli Stargel released a statement about taking the bill out of consideration on April 20, 2021, according to CBS4, meaning the bill will not likely be considered in the legislative session that is scheduled to end April 30, 2021. From the news report:

I believe Florida should protect the ability of girls and women to safely participate in athletics, and I think there is consensus among my colleagues surrounding that underlying policy objective," Stargel said in a prepared statement. "We want to get there in a manner that respects the inherent dignity of each person, while at the same time acknowledging the fact that the biological differences between men and women can be significant, and can vary based on how far along a person is within their transition."

Stargel said she decided to postpone consideration of the bill "as we continue to work on this issue." But she also acknowledged that time could be running out, adding that "in a time-limited environment, I don't know that we will have sufficient time to revisit SB 2012 this session."

The Florida Legislature website notes the bill is "Temporarily Postponed."

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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