A measure that prevents transgender females from competing in sports intended solely for biological female athletes is now the law. The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis on June 1.
The Act requires that athletic teams or sports be expressly designated as for males, men or boys; females, women or girls, or coed or mixed. It also requires that teams or sports designated for females must not be open to “students of the male sex.”
The new law bases a student’s biological sex on a person’s official birth certificate at the time of birth.
“It (the new law) says that we’re going to go based off biology not based off ideology in women’s sports.” DeSantis said before signing the bill in Jacksonville on June 1. “In Florida, girls are gonna play girls’ sports and boys are gonna play boys’ sports.”
Under the new law, female athletes who believe that they have been deprived of opportunities or scholarships due to violations of the law may seek civil remedies. Likewise, any school or public post-secondary institution that alleges it has been either directly or indirectly harmed by any government entity, accrediting organization or athletic association in a violation of the new law may also seek civil remedies.
Finally, any female athlete who has been discriminated against after reporting a violation of the law may also bring a civil suit.
At the signing, DeSantis also vowed to “stand up” to the NCAA which promised not to locate sanctioned sports events in states where so-called “anti-transgender athlete” laws were on the books.
‘At the end of the day, if the price of protecting opportunities and fair competition for all the girls throughout the state is losing an event or two, I will choose to protect our young girls every day of the week,” DeSantis said.
In response to the signing, the Senate Democratic Caucus called out the GOP-majority legislature for passing the bill in the first place.
“Republicans in Tallahassee rejected both science and reason, openly attacking vulnerable LGBTQ+ children without a single shred of evidence that a problem even exists,” the Caucus said in a written statement. “Florida’s elected leaders could better serve all our youth by understanding and taking action on the high incidences of bullying, violence, and suicidal tendencies that happen to them across this state every day, and trans youth should have no less focus.
The Human Rights Campaign vowed to fight back.
“We will be filing a lawsuit to block this arbitrary, discriminatory ban,” the group said in a Tweet.
The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act becomes effective on July 1.