The state of Florida picked the first day of Pride Month to become the eighth state this year to pass discriminatory legislation against transgender youth. The state’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis on Tuesday, June 1, signed a bill that prevents transgender females from playing on sports teams that are aligned with their gender identity, NPR reports. Other states who have enacted this anti-transgender legislation include: South Dakota, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, Montana and Alabama, CNN reports.
The “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” which goes into effect on July 1, says that trans student athletes won’t be allowed to join teams without first showing a birth certificate that notates they were assigned female at birth. Lawmakers didn’t specify if all female athletes have to show birth certificates, or if the rule only applies to those suspected of being transgender. According to NPR, the new law does not bar female athletes from playing on boys’ teams.
“All Floridians will have to face the consequences of this anti-transgender legislation — including economic harm, expensive taxpayer-funded legal battles, and a tarnished reputation,” Alphonso David, president of Human Rights Campaign (HRC), said in a statement. “In Florida, we are ensuring that there are legal consequences to pay for being on the wrong side of history.”
Democrats and LGBTQ advocates called the new law “discriminatory” and HRC plans to challenge the measure in court as “unconstitutional.”
When the Florida Legislature was considering the measure in April, the NCAA, which oversees college athletics, issued a warning that “it would consider keeping its championship tournaments out of states that discriminate against transgender youth in upholding its pledge to respect its transgender athletes,” The Washington Post reports.
The NCAA claims to have “a long-standing policy that provides a more inclusive path for transgender participation in college sports,” according to NPR. The organization requires transgender women to receive treatment that will lower their testosterone levels before they can compete in women’s sports. Local communities could lose millions of dollars should the NCAA refuse to hold football games and basketball tournaments in areas that deny rights to 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,” said state Senator Shevrin Jones. “At the end of the day, transgender kids are just kids.”