(SS) Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a controversial ban on transgender athletes in girls’ and women’s sports on Tuesday, putting his signature on a contentious issue that has riled his conservative base.
“It will ensure fairness for women athletes for years to come in the state of Florida ... We are going to go based off biology — not based on ideology,” DeSantis said at a news conference.
DeSantis signed the ban at Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville on the first day of LGBT Pride Month. It also comes on the same day that Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is expected to announce her bid for governor.
DeSantis spoke at a lectern that featured a sign promoting the legislation as the “the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.”
The transgender athlete ban was included in a wide-ranging education bill, sparking opposition from LGBT groups and Democrats who viewed it as an attack on transgender youth.
“This is yet another hate-driven attack from the governor and Republican legislators, and it’s insulting that they’ve staged this morning’s photo-op on the first day of Pride Month,” state Sen. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, said in a prepared statement. “At the end of the day, transgender kids are just kids. They need to be heard, trusted, and supported.”
The measure stipulates that female athletes’ eligibility for sports teams is contingent on their “biological sex” on birth certificates issued “at or near the time of the student’s birth.”