Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill titled “The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” on Tuesday prohibiting transgender women, who are biological males, from competing along side biological females in public school sports.
If any female student athlete loses out on academic scholarships because of a violation of the law in a Florida public school, she will be allowed to sue for damages.
“In Florida, girls are going to play girls’ sports, and boys are going to play boys’ sports,” DeSantis said during a signing ceremony held at Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Fla. “The bill defines a student’s biological sex based on the student’s official birth certificate at the time of birth.”
Selina Soule, a student athlete and high school track star from Connecticut, stood alongside DeSantis and expressed her thoughts on the new rule.
“A bad policy in my state of Connecticut has robbed me, my teammates as well as every other female track athlete in my state of the opportunity to compete on a level playing field,” Soule said.
In 2019, Soule gained national attention after she slimly missed qualifying for the New England track and field regionals by just two spots. Both spots were taken by biological males who identified as women.
Critics have slammed DeSantis’ latest law as discriminatory and unnecessary. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat gubernatorial challenger to DeSantis, blasted the “heartless” law.
This makes Florida the eighth state to prohibit transgender athletes from competing with biological females in public school athletics this year. South Dakota, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, Montana, and Alabama, have all added similar restrictions.