The Florida House of Representatives has voted in favor of a bill to ban gender nonconforming biological males who identify as transgender from participating in school sports designated for women and girls, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
The bill passed 77-40, with all but one Democrat voting against the measure and all Republicans voting in favor.
The vote comes as part of a nationwide campaign by conservatives to prevent biologically male athletes from self-identifying as female and using that designation to compete in women's sports. Similar bills have been passed in Idaho and South Dakota, with the former state's bill being struck down by a judge while latter state's Republican governor vetoed the bill, then issued an executive order of her own to solidify the ban in high school sports.
Supporters of such restrictions have argued that there are natural biological differences between males and females. Biological males have greater muscle mass and bone density, as well as more aggressive tendencies due to testosterone, which gives biological males an unfair advantage over biological females in athletic competition.
Opponents of the bills have argued that natural biological differences between men and women diminish after biological males begin taking estrogen, and that such bills are more based on bigotry towards transgender people than on science. However, there are substantial restrictions against doping in sports, and an athlete taking doses of hormones could be considered as drug-taking.
While more radical transgender rights advocates have argued that simply identifying as a woman should allow an individual access to women's sports, others have suggested a more vigorous approach to ensure that transgender individuals consistently identify as women and are actively taking cross-sex hormones to reduce natural biological differences.
The NCAA, one such organization which conditionally allows transgender women to compete in women's leagues, has threatened to pull some of their championship events out of Florida if the bill passes.
Republicans have not seemed overly concerned with the organization's threats, however, with Senator Rick Scott tweeting at the NCAA that if they "keep threatening the public with your woke elitist psychobabble, the NCAA will not last much longer. Florida cannot be replaced, but you can be replaced."
Democrats have pointed out that transgender women have been playing on women's sports teams in Florida since 2013 without issue, with Republicans responding that the legislation is proactive.