Florida Governor DeSantis signs transgender athlete bill
After months of controversial debate, Governor Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed a bill prohibiting transgender women from participating in female and female school sports.
At a bill signing event at Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, DeSantis touted the ban as a way to protect the integrity of women’s and women’s sports. The provision he enacted would prohibit an athlete from participating in school-sponsored female and female sports if the female gender was not assigned to the athlete at birth. Primary athletes are not included in the ban.
“In Florida, the girls are going to play girls ‘sports and the boys are going to play boys’ sports,” DeSantis said.
Critics of the ban, including equal rights advocates and many transgender people, argued the bill was an effort to score political points by further alienating transgender people.
Prior to signing DeSantis Senate Bill 1028 in law, the main governing bodies of school sports – the Florida High School Athletic Association and the National Collegiate Athletic Association – had already put in place policies governing the participation of transgender athletes.
Supporters of the effort to restrict the participation of transgender athletes have cited no examples of competitive problems in Florida. However, they pointed to a high-profile Connecticut case in which transgender girls won multiple track titles. Selina Soule, one of the athletes who filed a lawsuit to end Connecticut’s transgender inclusion policy, spoke during the bill’s signing on Tuesday.
Florida is the most populous to adopt such a transgender athlete ban, but it’s not the first. Last year, Idaho became the first state to adopt such a measure. This year, Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi have all followed suit.
If the experiences of these states are any indication, the struggle for controversial politics is probably not over. Lawyers for the nonprofit, non-partisan American Civil Liberties Union have vowed to prosecute the Tennessee officials. Idaho law is currently being held in federal lawsuits.
The ban on trans athletes has had a bumpy ride in the Florida legislature. At various times, the measure seemed unlikely to become law. But on the third on the last day of the regular legislative session, lawmakers resuscitated the policy by attaching it to SB 1028, a charter schools bill.
At the time, equal rights advocates castigated what they said was a clandestine effort to discriminate.
“Instead of being open about their bigotry, they are negotiating the future of anti-LGBTQ discrimination behind the smoky backstage,” said Gina Duncan, a transgender woman and director of transgender equality with advocacy group Equality Florida at the time. of the adoption of the bill.
While the transgender provision will likely get the most attention, there are other noteworthy provisions in the bill signed by DeSantis on Tuesday.
For example, supporters of charter schools will also find a political victory in the 73-page measure.
The bill will allow public colleges and universities to authorize charters and enter into contracts for their operation, an initiative Republicans in the Legislature have been pushing for several years.
One of the main drivers of the bill, Representative Stan McClain, R-Ocala, said creating more lanes to authorize charters will improve job training and “lead to economic security for our children.”
Ultimately, the policy change will make it easier to open charter schools beyond the sponsorship of the local school district.
This is breaking news and will be updated.