DeSantis said he plans to sign controversial transgender sports bill, local leaders voice disapproval

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WSVN) - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has made his intentions clear about a controversial transgender sports bill that has made its way to his desk.

Speaking on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” on Thursday, the governor said it’s a matter of fairness for biological girls.

“Governor DeSantis, a bill of a similar nature is about to cross your desk. Are you going to sign it?” asked host Laura Ingraham.

“Oh, yeah. We’re going to protect our girls. I have a 4-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old daughter,” said DeSantis. “We want to have opportunities for our girls. They deserve an even playing field, and that’s what we’re doing, with what Mississippi did, with what other states are going to do, so I look forward to be able to sign that into law.”

Once that happens, the legislation will prohibit transgender girls and women from playing school sports on the team with which they identify.

Willow Leech of the Florida Coalition for Transgender Liberation said the bill’s purpose is to discriminate.

“Laws like these are intended for one thing: to legislate trans people out of existence in society,” she said.

State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Fla., echoed Leech’s concerns.

“Transgender kids who are playing in team sports across the state right now will be expelled and humiliated in front of their peers. They did nothing wrong,” he said.

“I can’t imagine why these adults would be targeting children,” said Robert Boo, CEO of The Pride Center at Equality Park in Wilton Manors.

Local advocates for the LGBTQ community, like Boo, said transgender children have been playing school sports for decades without any problems.

“Now, this is going to force them to either retreat, go stealth, and not be able to express themselves as their true authentic selves,” said Boo.

Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho pledges the school board will fight for the rights of all children, despite what the governor and the legislature do.

“We’re going to analyze it within the realm of the policy that this board has regarding anti-discrimination against any student for whatever reason,” he said.

Groups like Equality Florida are now trying to determine their next steps.

“Whether that is the governor’s veto, legal measures, we’re always going to stand up for our transgender youth and make sure that they know they are valued and an important part of our community,” said Jon Harris Maurer with Equality Florida.

Once signed into law by the governor, court challenges are almost certain. The Biden administration has signaled they would fight these laws that restrict transgender participation in sports teams.

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