State Watch

Human Rights Campaign plans to sue DeSantis over Florida trans athlete law

Ron DeSantis
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The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) on Tuesday announced its intention to sue Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) after he signed a law that prohibits transgender student athletes from playing on teams that align with their gender identity.

DeSantis signed the bill on Tuesday, the first day of Pride Month.

The bill specifically prevents transgender women and girls from participating in sports teams that don’t align with their sex assigned at birth. 

“This upcoming lawsuit in Florida to be filed by the Human Rights Campaign comes amid a rash of anti-transgender sports ban legislation being taken up and passed in states across the country,” the HRC said in a statement. “Today’s bill signing by Governor DeSantis took place on the first day of LGBTQ Pride Month and within 12 days of the anniversary of the Pulse shooting in Orlando, Florida.”

“Lawmakers across the country who support these bills have failed to provide examples of any issue in their states to attempt to justify these attacks on transgender youth, laying bare the reality that they are fueled by discriminatory intent and not supported by fact,” the HRC added.

HRC President Alphonso David reiterated that the organization will stand against “anti-equality forces” on behalf of transgender youth.


Florida Rep. Carlos Smith (D), the state’s first Latino LGBTQ representative, spoke out against the bill on Twitter, writing that the signing of the bill was “appalling.”

“First day of LGBTQ Pride Month and @GovRonDeSantis signs SB 1028 which bans trans kids from school sports. FHSAA has allowed trans kids to participate in FL since 2013 with ZERO problems. This fuels transphobia and puts vulnerable kids at risk for no good reason,” Smith wrote.

“Gov. DeSantis and Florida lawmakers are legislating based on a false, discriminatory premise that puts the safety and well-being of transgender children on the line,” he added. 

When reached for comment, DeSantis’s press secretary Christina Pushaw pointed to the Florida governor’s remarks during a Tuesday press conference in which he said the bill “will ensure fairness for women athletes for years to come in the state of Florida.”

“We’re not just setting a standard. We’re also providing ways where that fairness and the equality can be enforced on behalf of our girls and our women athletes,” DeSantis said.

“Discrimination on the basis of sex is illegal. By signing SB 1028, Governor DeSantis ensures that women athletes will not be deprived of opportunities on the basis of their biological sex. This bill is the opposite of discriminatory,” Pushaw added.

More than 30 states, the majority of which have Republican-led legislatures, have passed or advanced bills seeking to prevent transgender students from participating in sports.

Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi have all enacted similar legislation.

Louisiana lawmakers sent a bill to Gov. John Bel Edwards’s (D) desk last week. Though Edwards has said he does not support the legislation, both chambers of the state’s legislature are likely to override his veto.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) signed an executive order in March that banned transgender girls from participating in sports, saying at the time, “Only girls should play girls’ sports.”

Democratic lawmakers in Texas recently killed a bill that would have required athletes to compete in sport teams that align with the sex on their birth certificate.

Updated 4:27 p.m.

Tags Human Rights Campaign Kristi Noem LGBT Ron DeSantis Ron DeSantis Transgender Transgender inequality transgender sports ban Transgender youth

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