Florida joins states to ban transgender girls from sports

Florida joins states to ban transgender girls from sports

Florida joins states to ban transgender girls from sports

In a press conference Tuesday morning, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill that bans biological males from competing in biological female sports.

"The bill defines a student's biological sex based on the student's official birth certificate at the time of birth, and as part of the bill we're signing today, we're not only making sure that women have opportunities for scholarships and competition at the highest level, we're also putting in statute ways to actually vindicate the rights of any women athletes who may be discriminated against". At Tuesday's event, Republicans enlisted the help of a student-athlete from CT in trying to make the case for what's dubbed the "Fairness In Women's Sports Act".

"I've always heard as a kid, "You run like a girl, '" she said, referring to a video showing Selina Soule, a CT track athlete who filed a lawsuit over biologically male transgender athletes competing in high school girls" sports.

"A bad policy in my state of CT has robbed me, my teammates as well as every other female track athlete in my state of the opportunity to compete on a level playing field", Soule said.

"We will stand up to groups like the NCAA who think they should be able to dictate the policies in different states. This group of young people desperately needs more support, not to be further marginalized and attacked by those in positions of power", said Sam Brinton, vice president of advocacy and government affairs for the organization.

"Athletic teams or sports that are designated for females are open to females, and we're going off biology, not ideology when we're doing sports", said DeSantis, talking on the language of the bill. "We'll stand up to corporations". The consequences for states that have passed anti-LGBTQ+ laws are clear - bigoted policies lead to major economic loss. He declared that even if the price of defending fairness in women's sports is "that we lose an event or two, I would choose to protect our girls every day of the week and twice on Sunday". It will go into effect on July 1.

The ban was tucked at the last minute of the legislative session into a measure allowing public universities and colleges to sponsor charter schools - a point the governor did not mention during the bill signing.

The law is likely to face a court challenge. 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.

The legislation passed over the objection of Democrats and civil rights advocates who call the banning of transgender girls and women from sports unnecessary and discriminatory and accuse Republicans of portraying them as a provocation to energize the right wing of their party. When a trans young person is told they cannot play the sport they love exclusively because of who they are, it can be incredibly harmful to their mental health and sense of self, and contribute to increased risk for suicide. Transgender youth must not be deprived of the opportunity to learn important skills of sportsmanship, healthy competition, and teamwork. The board made this warning after explicitly endorsing "a more inclusive path for transgender participation in college sports", i.e. a path to allow biological males to compete in women's sports and vice versa.

Content from The News Service of Florida was used in this report.

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