WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — It's the kickoff to LGBTQ Pride Month at Centennial Square in downtown West Palm Beach. It's a time to celebrate the progress for gay and trans rights. But many of the folks said Gov. Ron DeSantis set the movement back Tuesday.
"I don't think it's right. I feel as though whatever gender you identify with you should be able to play with that team," Jonathan Todd said.
DeSantis signed a bill Tuesday banning transgender women and girls from playing in female sports. DeSantis called the decree the "Fairness in Women's Sports Act."
"We believe in the state of Florida in protecting the fairness and the integrity of women's athletics," DeSantis said.
Essentially, the bill bans transgender females from being included in female sports, including intramurals and club teams. The biological sex listed on the student's birth certificate determines eligibility.
"I can tell you this: in Florida, girls are going to play girl sports and boys are going to play boy sports," he said.
DeSantis allowed a young female track athlete who was beaten by a transgender female to speak on the issue.
"Female athletes deserve the same opportunities to excel like boys and chase our dreams," Selina Soule said. "Allowing male athletes to compete in girls' sports shatter those dreams."
At this pride celebration, opponents of the bill called it discriminatory.
"I think it's a very prejudicial issue because women are equal to men. Men are equal to women," Gail Haines said. "And this is an issue that's going to separate people and not bring them together."