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Florida bans transgender participation in female sports

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the 'Fairness in Women’s Sports Act' on Tuesday at Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville.
by WorldTribune Staff, June 1, 2021

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed legislation into law which bans transgender athletes from competing in girls' and women's sports in public middle schools, high schools, and colleges.

"The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act will empower Florida women & girls to be able to compete on a level playing field," DeSantis said. "This will help ensure that opportunities for things like college scholarships will be protected for female athletes for years to come."

According to the bill, an athlete's gender will be determined by their official birth certificate at the time or near the time of birth.

The bill also allows for civil remedies if a student is "deprived of an athletic opportunity or suffers any direct or indirect harm as a result of a violation" of the law.

DeSantis becomes the seventh governor in the last year to sign such legislation. Similar bills have been signed into law in Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

The ACLU already has sued Idaho, which became the first state to pass such a law last year, and West Virginia, where Republican Gov. Jim Justice signed into law a bill scheduled to go into effect July 8 unless blocked by a court. The ACLU has slammed such measures as part of an “attack on trans youth.”

Trans activists were furious that DeSantis signed the legislation on what is the first day of LGBTQ Pride Month.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said in a statement: “By signing a heartless ban on transgender kids in sports, Governor DeSantis is marginalizing an entire community. Signing it on the first day of Pride Month is especially cruel. Florida should stand for inclusivity, equality, and liberty – not peddling hate for political points.”

American Principles Project President Terry Schilling, who attended the bill-signing, said DeSantis “has solidified his reputation as a fearless conservative who will face down attacks from the woke elite in order to do what’s right for his constituents.”

“Gov. DeSantis has sent a message to the woke elite: attack us at your peril,” Schilling said in a statement. “While economic boycott threats might have worked against a single state, the strength of many state leaders standing together to defend women’s sports is certain to neutralize the left’s favorite playbook.”

Previously, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Board of Governors said it would consider pulling championships from states that ban athletes who are transgender from participating in women's or girls' sports.

"Some of these organizations say they're not gonna hold events if you do this and just let me say very clearly — in Florida, we're going to do what's right," DeSantis said. "We'll stand up to groups like the NCAA who think that they should be able to dictate the policies in different states. Not here, not ever."

The legislation signed by DeSantis will take effect July 1.

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