ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a controversial transgender athlete ban into law Tuesday morning, the first day of Pride Month.
City leaders in St. Petersburg hoisted the Pride flag just minutes after the bill was signed. Many at the event also expressed disappointment about the Governor’s actions.
The bill signed into law Tuesday bans transgender females from playing on girls’ and women’s public school sports teams. DeSantis said the law is necessary to protect the fairness and integrity of women’s athletics.
“In Florida, girls are going to play girl sports and boys are going to play boy sports, that’s what we’re doing and we’re going to make sure that’s the reality,” he said.
But some Floridians who identify as transgender see a different reality. They said the law signed on the first day of Gay Pride Month will hurt vulnerable trans children.
“The gut reaction, it hurts,” St. Pete Pride President Nathan Brummer, who identifies as a transgender man, said.
Brummer had a message for the transgender youth in the wake of the bill signing.
“I want to say first and foremost to our kiddos, we love you, we see you and we fight for you,” he said.
The law also drew strong criticism from St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman, who helped kick off his city’s Pride celebrations.
“The governor doing this, signing this bill, he’s communicating that he’s marginalizing this community, they’re not important to him,” Mayor Kriseman said.
The fight is not over regarding the bill. It will likely face legal challenges filed in support of Florida’s LGBTQ community.
Brummer recommended the Trevor Project to any families with transgender children in need of help. Trained counselors are just a phone call away 24/7 to support trans youth who are in crisis, feeling suicidal or in need of a safe and judgment-free place to talk. According to their website, the TrevorLifeline is 1-866-488-7386.