Key Biscayne—Moments after he signed a measure (HB 1177) into law that would provide more environmental protections to Biscayne Bay, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was asked if he was specifically targeting the LGBTQ community when he signed into law the controversial Transgender bill on the first day of Pride month.
DeSantis explained that his signing of the bill was to stand up against discrimination of women athletes by forcing them to compete “against biological males.”
“What we did with the girl’s sports bill, we’re standing up against discriminating against our women athletes, because the fact of the matter is if you force them to participate against biological males that's fundamentally unfair, that's not a level playing field,” said DeSantis.
Gov. DeSantis also qualified his signing of the bill by noting that at the signing ceremony, there was a female college track athlete that lost at a New England regional track meet race to two “biological males,” and that he would have signed the bill into law regardless of the month of the year.
“So that's not fair, so I think standing up against discrimination of our women athletes, I think that's the right thing to do this month, next month, and any month,” added DeSantis.
The criticism against DeSantis has come from state and federally elected Democrats who have been advocating for “equal rights” for gay and transgendered individuals.
DeSantis’s signing of the transgender bill was even referred to as “state-sponsored bigotry” by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Another detractor, and arguably the loudest, openly gay voice of opposition to DeSantis is Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, who called the move “heartless” and insulting, as well as humiliating to the gay community.
“Heartless. It adds insult to injury that it comes during #Pride2021 , not even 24 hours after he signed a bill to expel trans kids from sports teams & humiliate them. What message is the governor trying to send to LGBTQ Floridians with these actions," tweeted Rep. Smith.
But while Democrats were expressing their dissatisfaction with DeSantis, Republican legislators were praising his actions.
"This is a good bill that I was proud to support," stated Rep. Mike Giallombardo in a statement to The Floridian. "As a father I do not want biological males competing against my daughters in girls' sports. Not only does it create an unfair advantage, it also puts my daughters' safety at risk. I supported this bill to protect female athletes across the state. "
Rep. Giallombardo's colleague in a neighboring district, Rep. Spencer Roach, argued that the bill was based on science, nothing more
"This bill isn’t anti-anything. It is pro-science and pro-girl legislation that I was proud to cosponsor. Battlelines have been drawn in the culture war and heads up we are winning. The Democrats should be ashamed for using transgender children as pawns to pursue their political agenda," stated Rep. Roach.