Patch | by Tiffany Razzano | June 1, 2021
Protests of FL transgender youth sports ban planned by Project Pride SRQ, Stonewall Democrats, PFLAG in Sarasota, Bradenton Tuesday.
SARASOTA, FL — LGBTQ organizations in Sarasota and Manatee counties are planning Tuesday evening protests of a new bill prohibiting transgender girls in Florida from playing on school sports teams that align with their gender identity.
Project Pride SRQ, the Stonewall Democratic Caucus of Sarasota County, PFLAG Sarasota and Gong Fu Martial Arts have organized two protests to rally against the new law and support transgender student athletes Tuesday at 6 p.m.
The descriptions of the protests on their Facebook event pages called the law “cruel and discriminatory.”
“This ban kicks transgender girls who are currently playing off of their teams and bans any future participation from middle school through collegiate sports. It is the first anti-LGBTQ law to pass in Tallahassee in 23 years,” the description reads. “It comes despite growing opposition from sports organizations like the Miami Heat and the NCAA, and from teammates, coaches, and parents of transgender youth who know that every student, especially transgender students, deserve access to the critical life lessons and education that come from sports.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill on Tuesday, the first day of Pride month, which Jordan Letschert, president of Project Pride SRQ, called “a slap in the face to his constituents.”
The new law “is problematic for a number of reasons,” Letschert added. “One, they initially based these rules off Olympic standards solely on testosterone… but they negated another important thing of the Olympics, that athletes are free from discrimination to practice their own sport.”
Sarasota County Schools has had a diversity plan for transgender students in place for at least a decade, he said. He recently spoke with school board members about their policy for transgender student-athletes, which lets them play their sport “in the gender they most strongly identify with.”
The district hasn’t received any complaints about transgender athletes, he added.
Patch reached out to Sarasota County Schools for additional information.
The suicide rate of transgender youth is already high, Letschert said.
A 2018 study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that nearly 51 percent of transgender male teens and 30 percent of transgender girls have attempted suicide.
“Ask yourself will that suicide rate go up or down when someone on other side of the field yells at a trans child or even a young lady who has more masculine features? It’s only going to lead to public humiliation or, perhaps, suicide. It’s a law that does not solve a problem,” Letschert said. “This is simply a red meat issue (from Republicans) to keep voters engaged in the down cycle until 2022.”
Image: Adobe Stock licensed image.