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Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis kicked off the start of pride month by signing a bill into law, the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” that protects female athletes from having to compete against biological males.
“We believe in the state of Florida, of protecting the fairness and the integrity of women’s athletics,” DeSantis said. “And I can tell you this in Florida, you know, girls are going to play girl’s sports and boys are going play boy’s sports, that’s what we’re doing. We’re going to make sure that that’s the reality. So the bill that we’re doing today will ensure fairness for women athletes for years to come in the state of Florida. It says that athletic teams or sports that are designated for females are open to females. And we’re going to go based off biology.”
“The bill defines a student’s biological sex based on the student’s official birth certificate at the time of birth,” DeSantis continued. “And as part of the bill we’re signing today, we’re not only making sure women have opportunities for scholarships and competition at the highest level, we’re also putting in statute ways to actually vindicate the rights of any women athletes who may be discriminated against. So moving forward, any student who’s deprived of an athletic opportunity, as a result of a violation of this law will have the right to civil remedies. Any school or public post secondary institution that suffers direct or indirect harm as a result of a violation of this bill, including by a governmental entity, accrediting organization or athletic association, can also pursue civil remedies. Any student who is subject to retaliation as a result of reporting a violation of this bill can also pursue civil remedies.”
DeSantis played a video at the press conference showing biological males competing against girls in track races at the high school level and winning, which DeSantis said was “blatantly unfair.” Attending the event was Selina Soule, a track athlete from Connecticut who fell one place short of being able to qualify for finals after losing to two biological males.
DeSantis dismissed threats from the NCAA warning against laws that protect girls from having to compete against biological males in sports.
“Some of these organizations say they’re not going to hold events if you do this, just let me say very clearly, in Florida, we’re going to do what’s right, we’ll stand up to corporations, they are not going to dictate the policies in this state,” DeSantis said. “We will stand up to groups like the NCAA, who think that they should be able to dictate the policies in different states.”
This report has been updated to include additional information.