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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law on Tuesday barring biological males from competing in women’s athletic competitions. Passed by the Florida legislature in April, the Fairness In Women’s Sports Act also allows female athletes who are unfairly affected by competition with biological males to file lawsuits.
“We’re going to go off of biology, not ideology,” DeSantis said at the signing at Trinity Christian Academy, surrounded by student athletes from the private school. “In Florida, girls are going to play girls sports, and boys are going to play boys sports.”
DeSantis noted that Florida’s decision to reopen schools quickly after the initial coronavirus response kept athletic opportunities available to students like those standing behind him. “If they had been in California, they would have been on their couch,” he quipped.
Selena Soule, a track and field athlete from Connecticut who was forced to compete against and lose opportunities to biological males for all four years of high school, spoke at the signing. “I remember what it was like to line up for the race already knowing the outcome long before the race started,” she said. “Biological males would dominate the field, leaving us girls to compete for third place and beyond.”
DeSantis also made it clear he would not be caving to pressure or boycotts from groups like the NCAA. “We will stand up to groups like the NCAA who think that they should be able to dictate policies in different states. Not here, not ever,” he said.
After threatening the possibility of boycotting states with bans on biological males competing as women, the NCAA appeared to backtrack by scheduling potential events in states with such laws.
Even if the NCAA attempts a boycott, DeSantis insisted he would not be intimidated. “If the price of providing opportunities for all the girls throughout the state of Florida is that we lose an event or two, I would choose to protect our girls every day of the week and twice on Sunday.”