Florida Psychological Association stands in solidarity with the Florida Transgender Community

On April 14, 2021, the Florida House of Representatives passed a bill that sought to effectively ban female transgender athletes from participating in women’s sports. This bill is also referred to as the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act and prohibited K-12 schools and public colleges from allowing female transgender athletes to play on women’s teams and protects those who out the transgender person. 

Fortunately for the transgender community, the Florida Senate abandoned voting on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 on another bill that aimed to create a Florida Statute (Promoting Equality of Athletic Opportunity Act). The Senate Bill would have allowed female transgender students to participate on women’s team so long as their testosterone levels were below 10 nmol/L for at least the 12 months prior to the students’ first competition and monthly through the time they are competing on the team, which would have required transgender youth to follow Olympic standards. If the transgender athlete refused testing, she would have be suspended from competing in female competitions for a period of 12 months.  Of note, cisgender female athletes can have elevated testosterone levels as well, which highlights that o all athletes should be subjected to the same treatment, not just transgender athletes. 

We stand in solidarity with the Florida transgender community and voice our support in uplifting transgender lives in this ongoing and crucial fight for equity and inclusion. It is disheartening to see this extremely vulnerable population experience situations that challenge their existence and desire to live authentically as transgender people. These orchestrated efforts across the country toward the transgender community may very have widespread and devastating implications for years to come. We oppose these targeted efforts in Florida and across the U.S. that will certainly cause harm to the transgender community. 

Additionally, we  stand in solidarity in opposition of any bill that criminalizes healthcare professionals who support transgender minors through their medical transition (hormones and surgeries—require letters from mental health professionals to move forward) for many deeply concerning reasons. 

We also endorse the opposition of these legislative efforts by the following agencies:

  • American Psychological Association 
  • American Medical Association
  • American Academy of Pediatrics 
  • Human Rights Campaign
  • American Nursing Association
  • American Public Health Association
  • Mental Health America
  • National Council for Behavioral Health
  • Pediatric Endocrine Society
  • Equality Florida
  • The Trevor Project

The potential trauma of forced exams (passed in the House Bill) that could require medical examination of transgender students’ genitals is unconscionable. The transgender community is already disproportionately affected by healthcare disparities and often struggles to find physicians who are qualified and culturally competent to provide the necessary care. These transphobic movements deny transgender athletes the ability to safely and comfortably engage in the health-promoting, educational, and social benefits of team sports. In fact, they further decenter transgender voices and lives while outwardly communicating that transgender women and girls are not women and girls. In an attempt to present the bill as a way to create an avenue for female transgender athletes to participate on female teams, while also providing protection for female athletes, it  illuminates the fact those crafting this legislation do not see transgender women and girls as women and girls. These bills dehumanize an already marginalized community.  

Forcing transgender girls to play sports on the male teams or quit sports all together could lead to severe psychological harm. These bills send a clear message to transgender athletes who value their access to sports as much as cisgender athletes. The American Psychological Association has voiced opposition to states pushing these bills forward. There is no evidence to support baseless claims that transgender athletes have any unfair advantage. In fact, even in Florida, trans youth have been playing sports for years on teams that align with their gender identity. This move to exclude transgender athletes is dangerous and detrimental to their mental health and overall wellbeing. 

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