Florida Governor Ron DeSantis kicked off Pride month by signing a bill banning transgender girls from playing on girl’s school sports teams.
The Republican governor signed the controversial bill on Tuesday, making Florida the latest state to limit transgender participation in school sports.
The Florida law mirrors an Idaho law, the first of its kind when enacted last year, that is now mired in legal challenges. GOP governors in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee recently signed similar measures.
In March, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed an executive order prohibiting transgender girls from participating in women’s sports.
“In Florida, girls are going to play girls sports, and boys are going to play boys sports. We’re going to make sure that that’s the reality,” DeSantis stated.
The law states that transgender female student-athletes can’t participate in all-girl sports if they cannot produce a birth certificate stating that they were declared a female at birth. What remains unclear is whether all female athletes will be required to show their birth certificates or just those whose gender comes into question. The bill allows students to sue a school that allows transgender students to play on girl’s teams. The law does not bar female athletes from playing on boy’s teams.
Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David slammed the new law, stating that all Floridians will face the repercussions of the anti-transgender bill once lawsuits roll in, launching taxpayer-funded legal battles.
State Senator Shevrin Jones also criticized the bill, calling it “another hate-driven attack from the governor and Republican legislators.”
“At the end of the day, transgender kids are just kids,” Jones stated.
The final wording of the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” stripped away some of its most contentious elements, including a requirement that transgender athletes in high schools and colleges undergo testosterone or genetic testing and submit to having their genitalia examined.
But the legislation signed by the governor advances an underlying principle asserted by supporters: Biological differences between males and females make it unfair for athletes identified as boys at birth to compete on teams for girls and women.
The law, scheduled to go into effect on July 1, applies to public secondary and high schools, public colleges and universities.