Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) could have picked another day to sign “The Fairness In Women’s Sports Act” that prohibits transgender female athletes from competing on high-school girls’ and college women’s sports teams in his state.
He chose, however, to make the legislation Florida state law today on the first day of LGBTQ Pride Month in a move that many saw as a deliberate slap in the face of those who fly the rainbow flag and their allies.
“In Florida, girls are going to play girls sports, boys are going to play boys sports,” DeSantis said at the signing ceremony for the bill, ignoring any modern notions of gender fluidity in favor of fighting a sortie in the right-wing culture wars.
“It says that athletic teams or sports that are designated for females are open to females, and we’re going to go based off biology, not based off ideology when we’re going sports,” he stated. “The bill defines a student’s biological sex based on the student’s official birth certificate at the time of birth.”
Suffice it to say that DeSantis’ move is a major setback for the rights of transgendered students who have been subject to bullying and discrimination for most of our Western culture’s history and have only seen a modicum of social acceptance in recent years as society became more accepting and inclusive of gender identities outside of the traditional male-female dichotomy.
Florida Democrats are apoplectic over DeSantis’ signing of the bill and the likely purposefully antagonizing timing of its announcement.
Carlos Smith, a Democratic state lawmaker, issued an angry statement responding to the situation and pillorying DeSantis and his GOP accomplices for their discriminatory actions.
“Proponents of this unnecessary bill failed to produce a single incident or problem caused by the FHSAA and NCAA’s longstanding policies allowing for participation by transgender students in athletic programs,” Smith argued. “Instead, they played on fear and ignorance about the transgender community to promote lies.”
“If GOP lawmakers would have spent have as much time helping Floridians struggling with economic issues as they spent pushing trans kids out of school sports, our state would be much better off,” he said.
Smith realizes that the crux of Republican legislation that addresses issues in the culture wars is to distract the public from the issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy, health care, and the other areas where state GOP leaders have failed miserably to address the needs of their citizens.
This latest skirmish in the battle for our nation’s values simply proves why Democrats in the Senate need to abolish the filibuster and pass the voting rights legislation that will ensure free and fair elections that will enable voters to rid themselves of the power-hungry Republicans who utilize their powers in office to restrict the rights of others opposed to their right-wing white-nationalist agendas.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.