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Florida Board of Education Says Student Sports Competition Must Be Based On Their Biological Sex

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When it comes to men’s and women’s high school sports, the State Board of Education unanimously passed a rule reinforcing its stance that a student competing in a sporting activity must be based on their biological sex assigned at birth, as opposed to their gender identity.

The Board set this rule in motion for the upcoming 2024-25 academic year for the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA).

The Board said they know their new rules contradicts the recent federal changes to Title IX by the Biden administration.

“Today, the State Board of Education took a stand for women and girls by affirming the Florida High School Athletic Association’s actions to protect the integrity of high school sports. The State Board unanimously approved FHSAA’s amendments of bylaws to ensure that students compete based on their biological sex. In doing so, the Board asserted basic protections for all students, preserved fair opportunities for female athletes, and aligned with Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education against the Biden administration’s attempt to undermine critical Title IX protections for women and girls,” said the Board.

“The Board took decisive action on critically important topics today, especially for women and girls, and Florida will never compromise on the health, safety and well-being of our students and educators,’ said Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr.

The Board said the bylaws needed to be ratified and codified that students cannot be discriminated against on the basis “sex.” The updated bylaws ensure that students’ biological sex (not gender identity) is considered in all matters pertaining to the FHSAA which will which protect women and girls in school sports and educational opportunities.

Members of the Board noted their action is consistent with Florida’s fight against the Biden administration’s attempt to make radical changes to Title IX protections affecting women and girls, effective August 1, 2024. If successful, the federal anti-discrimination law’s longstanding application of biological sex will no longer have any meaning, as gender identity will be included within the term “sex.” At the direction of Governor DeSantis, Commissioner Diaz informed Florida superintendents and charter school leaders on April 24, 2024, that no educational institution should begin implementing any such changes until further notice. Florida has also filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education.

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