The Fort Lauderdale City Commission voted to pass a resolution against the anti-transgender bills in the Florida House and Senate.
The resolution, brought forth by Commissioner Steve Glassman, a gay man, is in response to HB 1475 and SB 2012, calling for athletes to play on teams according to their biological sex in the name of “equality.”
“I completely support this resolution,” Commissioner Ben Sorensen said. “My daughters are 4 and 7 and it’s my hope and dream that they will compete against and side by side with [transgender] athletes.”
Vice Mayor Heather Moraitis though voted against the resolution and Commissioner Robert McKinzie was not present during voting — however, he did voice that he was against it during discussion.
Moraitis shared that her vote was because of women’s rights and asked to not have her name on the resolution if it passed.
“I will not be supporting this tonight, and to me, this issue is really about women’s rights,” she explained. “We fought long and hard for equality. Now that we’re almost there, we’re going to change the rules to allow the biologically stronger men to replace females on the field or pool or wherever you are competing.”
She noted that her two daughters play water polo, and in times they’ve played with boys, “there was just a huge difference.”
McKinzie simply said, “I echo the vice mayor.”
Glassman fired back saying he was “offended” by the argument and likened the bills to the transgender bathroom bills that swept across the country.
“That is such a mischaracterization of these bills,” he said. “Everyone knows why these bills have surfaced in the United States and it has nothing, nothing to do with women’s rights and women’s rights in sports. I’m actually offended by that interpretation of these bills. These bills do nothing but demean and marginalize young people who are already marginalized and demeaned enough in our society.”
Moraitis responded to Glassman, saying she herself was offended that “you keep attacking, I feel like me personally and my interpretation of how I feel … You can attack the legislation but I'm entitled to my feelings and my position and I represent a lot of people that feel the same way.”
Sorensen shared his support of the resolution and added he looks “forward to the day where we have continued growth and acceptance of everyone.”
Last to speak during the dicussion was Mayor Dean Trantalis, a gay man, who recently wrote a letter to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, urging him to oppose the bills. Edward Martí Kring, the community and field organizer with SAVE, spoke during public comments of the organization’s support of the resolution.
I have written to @GovRonDeSantis and the leadership of the Florida House & Senate, urging them to oppose #HB1475/ #SB2012.— Mayor Dean J. Trantalis (@DeanTrantalis) April 13, 2021
These bills pose great harm to our LGBT+ children, specifically transgender girls, who are interested in participating in school athletics. 1/ pic.twitter.com/C4tVCkj6ye
The NCAA has also spoken out against the bills that ban transgender athletes from playing on teams. In the past, it pulled a championship game out of Illinois when it passed a discriminatory law against LGBT people.
During the discussion, Trantalis explained that transgender athletes being allowed to play on the team they identify with doesn’t allow for men to suddenly decide to play for a women’s team.
“It doesn’t work that way,” he said. “I don’t think anybody who is transgender is trying to get a one-up on anybody … I don’t think they’re looking for or trying to take advantage of other women. I don't think it’s intended to be a threat to other women.”
He continued, “I don’t think demonizing and marginalizing these folks is the way to address it. The way to address it is to, first of all, love one another and to embrace one another and try to understand one another. I think that these two bills that are being proposed in the House and Senate are in no way attempting to do that.”
With the resolution passed in Fort Lauderdale, it seems that the Senate bill in Tallahassee is not seeing the same success — it appears to have stalled and may not make it this legislative session.