Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill that bans transgender girls and women from competing on female sports teams on the first day of Pride Month.
“As a father of two daughters, I want my girls, and every girl in Florida, to compete on an even playing field for the opportunities available to young women in sports,” DeSantis said in a statement Tuesday. “Women have fought for decades to have equal opportunities in athletics, and we have to prevent those opportunities from being eroded as is happening in other states. It’s common sense.”
The bill affects athletes at the high school and college levels. The bill titled the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act also states that girls’ or women’s teams “may not be open to students of the male sex.” Female athletes may play on boys’ or men’s teams.
LGBTQ advocates have openly condemned the legislation.
“Gov. DeSantis and Florida lawmakers are legislating based on a false, discriminatory premise that puts the safety and well-being of transgender children on the line,” Human Rights Coalition President Alphonso David said in a statement.
“All Floridians will have to face the consequences of this anti-transgender legislation — including economic harm, expensive taxpayer-funded legal battles, and a tarnished reputation.”
The signing of the act on the first day of Pride Month sends a menacing message to the LGBTQ community. DeSantis, a fervent Donald Trump ally, has mirrored the former Republican’s president’s assault on the community.
In August 2020, a federal judge blocked the Trump administration from enforcing a new regulation to roll back health care protections for transgender people. The Trump administration defined “sex” to mean the gender assigned at birth, which essentially excludes transgender people from the law’s scope of protection. The Biden administration announced last month its plans to reverse Trump-era anti-trans policies.