Even by Ron DeSantis standards today’s move was repugnant. The Florida Republican governor, who relishes doing the wrong thing as much as his political hero, Donald Trump, chose today, June 1 – the first day of Pride Month – to sign into law a ban on transgender girls competing in girls’ and women’s sports.
In addition to pandering to his base by signing a law that was supposed to cure a problem that doesn’t exist, DeSantis also gave a big nod to his religious base by holding the signing ceremony at the Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville. With several teenage girl athletes on stage with him, the governor said, “We believe in the state of Florida protecting the fairness and integrity of women’s athletics. I can tell you that in Florida, girls are going to play girls’ sports and boys are going to play boys’ sports.”
Florida is the eighth state so far this year to block trans student athletes from playing on sports teams that match their gender identity, according to the ACLU. A record number of bills targeting trans youth have been introduced by Republican lawmakers. Proponents of such legislation say it prevents an unfair advantage in competitions. Critics say such measures are purely discriminatory and are unnecessary.
In Florida Democratic lawmakers said that high school and college sports in Florida haven’t had any issues with transgender women in competition. They warned that some transgender girls already playing sports would be kicked off their teams.
“Appalling,” wrote state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, on Twitter. “First day of LGBTQ Pride Month and Gov. Ron DeSantis signs SB 1028 which bans trans kids from school sports. FHSAA has allowed trans kids to participate in FL since 2013 with ZERO problems. This fuels transphobia and puts vulnerable kids at risk for no good reason.”
Appalling. First day of LGBTQ Pride Month and @GovRonDeSantis signs SB 1028 which bans trans kids from school sports. FHSAA has allowed trans kids to participate in FL since 2013 with ZERO problems. This fuels transphobia and puts vulnerable kids at risk for no good reason.
— Rep. Carlos G Smith (@CarlosGSmith) June 1, 2021
DeSantis, in response to a question about the message being sent by signing the bill at the beginning of Pride Month, which celebrates the LGBTQ community, said, “It’s not a message to anything other than saying we’re going to protect fairness and women’s sports.”
Human Rights Watch announced Tuesday it plans to file a lawsuit to overturn the law.