FLORIDA — A bill Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Tuesday morning at a private Christian school prohibits female transgender athletes from playing on girls’ teams. While he touted the law as ensuring fairness in athletics, critics said it was a slap in the face to transgender athletes on the first day of LGBTQ Pride Month.

This bill not only bans allowing transgender students to play on the Florida high school teams under the gender they identify with, but also extends that rule to college teams.

“I can tell you this, in Florida, girls are gonna play girls’ sports, and boys are gonna play boys’ sports,” DeSantis said in to parents and students in Jacksonville at Trinity Christian Academy. “That’s what we’re doing, and 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.”

June 1 marks the first day of LGBTQ Pride Month, a celebration of the LGBTQ community’s equality and progress. Signing SB 1028, the “Fairness In Women’s Sports Act,” on the first day of that celebration is considered by some political leaders to be a slap in the face to the LGBTQ community.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman celebrated the first day of Pride Month with the local LGBTQ community by raising of the pride flag outside City Hall, and he expressed his disgust with DeSantis.
St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman and City Council members gather underneath the St. Pete pride flag after it was raised in honor of LGBTQ Pride Month. (Skyla Luckey/Patch)

“Before I begin my formal remarks,” Kriseman told reporters outside City Hall on Tuesday morning, “I do want to first express my disgust with the governor for signing the trans bill today — he signed it this morning on June 1. And if you don’t think that’s intentional, you’re kidding yourself. It was very intentional; he knew exactly what he was doing by signing it today. And it is wrong on so many different levels. And I say this directly to you, Mr. Governor: ‘We expect more than what we got from you today.'”

DeSantis said the bill decrees athletic teams or sports that are designated for females are open to those who were female at birth.

“And we’re going to go based off biology, not based off ideology when we’re doing sports. The bill defines a student’s biological sex based on the student’s official birth certificate at the time of birth. 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 vindicate the actual rights of women athletes who may be discriminated against.

Nathan Bruemmer, president of St. Pete Pride, who grew up in Tampa Bay and lives as a transgender male, had a message Tuesday for transgender youth as he fought back tears.

“As an out and proud transgender man, one of the few in a position to lead an LGBT organization, I want to say first and foremost, to our kiddos, we love you and we see you, and we fight for you.