Jun 1, 2021 - Politics & Policy

DeSantis signs bill banning trans girls from women's sports

Ron DeSantis stands in a suit while talking

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at. aMay 28 press conference. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Tuesday signed a bill into law that would bar female transgender students from women's sports.

Why it matters: Florida is the eighth state so far this year to block trans student athletes from playing on sports teams that match their gender identity, per ACLU data. A record number of bills targeting trans youth have been introduced by Republican lawmakers.

Between the lines: "Supporters of the effort to restrict transgender athlete participation have cited no examples of competitive issues in Florida," the Miami Herald reports.

  • Several states, including Arkansas and West Virginia, have failed to find evidence of trans athletes posing an issue in competitions, but have still passed laws barring their participation.

The big picture: The Florida law identifies transgender girls as boys, which LGBTQ advocates have said effectively uses legislation to deny the existence of transgender youth — and trans people in general.

  • “In Florida, girls are going to play girls’ sports, and boys are going to play boys’ sports,” DeSantis said at Tuesday's signing event at the Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, which took place on the first day of Pride Month.
  • "This will help ensure that opportunities for things like college scholarships will be protected for female athletes for years to come," he wrote on Twitter.

What to watch: The legislation goes into effect July 1, although advocacy groups including the Human Rights Campaign are expected to sue.

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