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Florida celebrates first day of Pride Month with law attacking trans kids’ rights

Gov. Ron DeSantis
Gov. Ron DeSantisPhoto: Shutterstock

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill to ban transgender girls from playing school sports today, the first day of LGBTQ Pride Month.

“In Florida, girls are going to play girls sports and boys are going to play boys sports,” DeSantis said at the bill-signing ceremony, which took place in a Christian school in Jacksonville. “We’re going to make sure that that’s the reality.”

Related: Florida Republican challenges trans woman to public arm wrestling match when confronted over vote

The state got national attention in April because a previous version of it required girls whose gender is “disputed” to undergo genital examinations.

S.B. 1028 now requires girls whose gender is disputed (or all girls who want to participate in school sports, the bill is not clear) to show a birth certificate from “at or near birth.”

Democrats called out the governor for waiting until the first day of Pride Month to sign the bill.

“Signing this bill on the beginning of Pride Month, once more demonstrates that the governor does not care about LGBTQ+ equality,” said Florida Rep. Anna Eskamani (D). “All he cares is about a political right wing agenda.”

“This is a step backwards on so many levels and it’s hurtful,” she continued. “It’s hurtful for those of us who care about LGBTQ+ people and of course it’s damning for parents of trans kids who just want to be kids.”

“Appalling,” state Rep. Carlos G. Smith (D) tweeted. “First day of LGBTQ Pride Month and Gov. Ron DeSantis signs SB 1028 which bans trans kids from school sports. FHSAA has allowed trans kids to participate in FL since 2013 with ZERO problems. This fuels transphobia and puts vulnerable kids at risk for no good reason.”

“If GOP lawmakers and Gov. DeSantis would have spent half as much time helping Floridians struggling with economic issues as they spent pushing trans kids out of school sports, our state would be much better off,” he added.

HRC has vowed to sue the state.

“The Human Rights Campaign will always stand up to anti-equality forces on behalf of transgender kids, and that is exactly what we plan to do by legally challenging this ban on the participation of transgender girls and women in sports,” said HRC President Alphonso David in a statement. “The harmful provisions added to S.B. 1028 will not just impact transgender people in Florida. 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. In Florida, we are ensuring that there are legal consequences to pay for being on the wrong side of history.”

President Joe Biden issued an executive order earlier this year that said that Title IX’s ban on discrimination “on the basis of sex” in education inherently includes a ban on anti-LGBTQ discrimination.

“It is the policy of my Administration that all students should be guaranteed an educational environment free from discrimination on the basis of sex, including discrimination in the form of sexual harassment, which encompasses sexual violence, and including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity,” Biden ordered. “For students attending schools and other educational institutions that receive Federal financial assistance, this guarantee is codified, in part, in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.”

That reasoning is in-line with the Supreme Court’s reasoning in Bostock v. Clayton Co., where the Supreme Court said that a ban on sex-based discrimination in employment includes LGBTQ people.

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