TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida’s Republican governor signed a bill Tuesday barring transgender girls and women from playing on public school teams for student athletes who identified as girls at birth, giving the state access to transgender rights. But the national culture was thrown into the debate.
The new law, which is to be challenged as unconstitutional, provokes already contentious discussion nationally as Republican-controlled states move to limit the rights of LGBTQ people, whose advocates were particularly disappointed that The law was signed on the first day of Pride Month.
The NCAA, which oversees college athletics, has said it has “a long-standing policy that provides a more inclusive path to transgender participation in college sports.” The NCAA currently requires transgender women to have treatment to lower their testosterone levels before they can compete in the women’s sport.
When the Florida Legislature was considering the measure in April, the NCAA said it would hold championship games “in locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination.”
High-profile athletic events, such as soccer bowl games and basketball tournaments, generate millions of dollars for local communities.
The measure, approved by the GOP-led legislature, takes effect July 1. It states that a transgender student athlete cannot participate without first showing a birth certificate that was identified when she was born as a girl. It is unclear whether athletes will have to show their birth certificates or only those whose gender is questioned. The proposal allows another student to sue if a school allows a transgender girl or woman to play on a team for students identified as female at birth.
The final words of the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” removed some of its most controversial elements, including a requirement that transgender athletes in high schools and colleges undergo testosterone or genetic testing and submit their genitalia for examination. Huh.
But the law signed by the governor advances an underlying principle claimed by proponents: biological differences make it unfair for athletes identified as boys at birth to compete on teams for girls and women. The law would not prevent female athletes from playing in boys’ or men’s teams.
Alfonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said the new law would not only harm transgender girls. “All Floridians will face the consequences of this anti-transgender law – including economic damages, costly taxpayer-funded legal battles and a bad reputation.”
Democrats and LGBTQ advocates said the law was discriminatory and would be challenged in court as unconstitutional.
“This is another hate-motivated attack by the governor and Republican legislators, and it is outrageous that they staged this morning’s photo-op,” state Sen. Chevrin Jones said. The day transgender kids are just kids.”
The ban was imposed at the last minute of the legislative session in a measure allowing public universities and colleges to sponsor charter schools – a point the governor did not mention during the signing of the bill. It was the provision of transgender athletes that was front and center in Tuesday’s rhetoric.
“This bill is very simply about ensuring that women can compete safely, have opportunities and be able to physically excel in the sport for which they train, prepare done and worked,” said State Sen. Kelly Stargell, a Republican who championed the bill.
“It’s nothing about anyone being discriminated against,” she said. “It’s purely so that women have the opportunity to compete in the women’s sport.”
The Florida law mirrors an Idaho law, the first of its kind when enacted last year, that has now run into legal challenges. GOP governors in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee recently signed off on similar measures.
Conservatives’ attempts to restrict the rights of gay, lesbian and transgender people have spawned many battles not only in legislatures and courts, but also in key sectors in the economy, and critics have warned of imminent consequences.
According to a 2017 Associated Press study, the so-called “bathroom bill” caused North Carolina to lose $3.8 billion over a dozen years. Those pitfalls were avoided when a 2019 agreement allowed the state to bar transgender people from using the bathroom consistent with their gender identity.
“I say very clearly: In Florida, we’re going to do what corporations have the right to stand up to, they’re not going to set the policies in this state,” DeSantis said with students at the religious school. Said while living “We will stand up for groups like the NCAA that think they should be able to dictate policies in different states. Not here, never.”
Selina Soule, a Connecticut track athlete, joined the Florida governor at the news conference to talk about how she failed to advance in competitions because she competed against transgender athletes. He called it inappropriate.
He was out of Seoul State, not lost on critics, who argue that the case was not urgent for Florida, given that there have been just 11 athletes since the Florida High School Athletic Association adopted its transgender participation policy in 2013. had applied for screening.
“It’s not out of necessity or necessity,” Orlando Gonzales, executive director of Save, a South Florida gay rights advocacy group, said during a news conference. “It’s really about throwing red meat out there to rally the base people who are anti-LGBT.”