Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Signs Bill Banning Transgender Athletes from Women's Sports
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) kicked off Pride month by signing into law a bill to protect female athletes from competing against biological males.
“I can tell you this in Florida,” the governor said. “Girls are going to play girls’ sports and boys are going to play boys’ sports. That’s what we’re doing.”
The new law — the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” — mandates athletes can participate only on the sports teams that correlate with their biological birth sex, according to WCTV-TV.
Reporter asks Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) what message he’s sending to the LGBTQ community by signing an anti-trans bill during Pride month. pic.twitter.com/rZyLSSBxNK— The Recount (@therecount) June 1, 2021
When asked by a reporter about his decision to sign the bill on June 1, which marks the first day of Pride month, a four-week recognition of the LGBT community, DeSantis said it’s “not a message to anything other than we’re gonna protect fairness in women’s sports.”
“We believe that it’s important to have integrity in the competition and we think it’s important that they’re able to compete on a level playing field,” he said to applause. “You’ve seen what’s happened when you don’t have that.”
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DeSantis highlighted the story of Connecticut track athlete Terry Miller, who is part of a lawsuit against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference. In the February 2020 suit, Miller, Alanna Smith, Chelsea Mitchell, and Selina Soule claimed they were denied opportunities to compete at higher levels because transgender females — biological males — were taking prizes from biologically female athletes.
Soule was in at DeSantis’ press conference, where she described losing to transgender girls as “frustrating” and “demoralizing.”
It was a pleasure to attend the bill signing w/ @AllianceDefends client Selina Soule. Selina was one of the first female athletes to speak out against the injustice of males competing in girls’ sports, and her story has sparked a national movement to #savewomenssports! pic.twitter.com/ykxThr90EN— Christiana Holcomb (@ChristianaADF) June 1, 2021
The conservative governor faced criticism from Democrats who condemned him for signing the bill, especially at the start of Pride month.
Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who has filed paperwork to run for governor in Florida, said it was “especially cruel” for DeSantis to sign the bill into law June 1.
“By signing a heartless ban on transgender kids in sports, Gov. DeSantis is marginalizing an entire community,” she said. “Florida should stand for inclusivity, equality, and liberty — not peddling hate for political points.”
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