On the first day of LGBT Pride Month,
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, signed a bill that
prohibits transgender athletes from competing on girls' and women's
Lawmakers approved Senate Bill 1028
after removing some controversial measures, including a requirement
that transgender student athletes undergo genetic testing and submit
to a genitalia examination.
Under the new law, transgender high
school or college athletes can only participate in team sports if
they provide proof of their biological sex. It also allows students
to sue a school if they allow a transgender girl or woman on a sports
DeSantis signed the bill at an event
that included a group of female athletes.
“We believe that it's very important
that the integrity of those competitions are preserved, that these
opportunities are protected, and I can tell you this: In Florida,
girls are going to play girl sports and boys are going to play boy
sports,” he said.
When asked by a reporter what message
he's sending by signing the bill on the first day of Pride Month,
DeSantis answered that he's “saying we're going to protect fairness
in women's sports.”
Florida joins eight other states with
similar bans, including South Dakota, Mississippi, Arkansas,
Tennessee, West Virginia, Montana, Alabama, and Idaho. A federal
judge has blocked implementation of Idaho's law.
Lawmakers in Louisiana have approved a
similar bill (Senate Bill 156). While Democratic Governor John Bel
Edwards has promised to veto the legislation, the bill passed with a
Florida State Representative Carlos
Guillermo, a Democrat, criticized the bill, calling the effort mean
“The message that the bill sends is
an ugly message of exclusion, telling trans kids that who they are is
not OK and that they need to change who they are,” he is quoted as
saying by the AP.
According to the Human Rights Campaign
(HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, more than 200
anti-LGBT bills have been introduced in state legislatures this
session, 66 of which target transgender athletes.