Gov. Ron DeSantis Signs New Bill

( Florida has become the latest state to bar transgender females from playing on sports teams in public schools if the sport was intended for people born as girls.

On Tuesday, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill, making his state the target of transgender rights groups. As he signed the bill, DeSantis said:

“In Florida, girls are going to play girls sports and boys are going to play boys sports. We’re going to make sure that that’s the reality.”

It’s very likely that this new law will be challenged by groups who argue it’s unconstitutional. Similar challenges are likely to be filed in the other states that have passed laws like this.

LGBTQ advocates have been up in arms over the legislation that’s been passed in many states controlled by Republicans. The groups were particularly angered that Florida decided to pass its law on the first day of Gay Pride Month.

The board that runs college athletics, the NCAA, said it has “a long-standing policy that provides a more inclusive path for transgender participation in college sports.”

Currently, the NCAA only requires that transgender women go through treatment that would lower their level of testosterone before they’d be able to compete in women’s sports.

Back in April, while the Florida Legislature was debated this transgender athlete bill, the NCAA commented that it would only commit its championship games to “locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination.”

Florida is the host of many high-profile sporting events for the NCAA, especially with basketball tournaments and football bowl games. Those events bring in millions of dollars in revenue for the state and for local businesses who reap the rewards when the events are taking place.

If the NCAA were to remove those events, it would have a significant impact on the economy in those areas for that time.

Florida’s bill will take effect on July 1. Under the bill, athletes must show their birth certificate before they can participate in sporting events at public schools. The birth certificate must show that the person was named a girl when she was born. If it doesn’t, then the transgender student athlete can’t participate in girls’ sports.

The bill goes even further, though, allowing students to sue schools that allow transgender women or girls to play on teams that were intended for biological females.

The bill, called the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, did leave out some of the more contentious elements that were under discussion. This included forcing the athletes to have a doctor examine their genitalia, and to have transgender athletes undergo genetic testing or testosterone testing.

The argument DeSantis and Republicans in Florida make are that the biological differences between females and males makes it unfair for any athlete who is identified as a male at birth to compete on sporting teams that are intended for women and girls.

Female athletes are still allowed to play on men’s or boys athletic teams.

Republican state Senator Kelli Stargel, a proponent of the bill, explained:

“This bill is very simply about making sure that women can safely compete, have opportunities and physically be able to excel in a sport that they trained for, prepared for and work for. This is nothing about anybody being discriminated against. It’s solely so that women have an opportunity to compete in women’s sports.”