By Ted Scouten

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – On the day pride month celebrations began, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law called “The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.”

“I can tell you this, in Florida girls are going to play girl’s sports and boys are going to play boy’s sports. That’s what we’re doing,” Republican Governor Ron DeSantis announced in front of a cheering crowd.

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The new law means transgender girls can no longer play on the girl’s team in school, they must play on the team that matches their gender on their birth certificate.

An athlete from Connecticut stood with the governor.

“During my junior year, I was denied the chance to compete at the regional New England championships,” said track athlete Selina Soule. “I missed advancing to the next level of competition in the 55-meter dash by just two spots, two spots taken by biological males,” she said.

Stratton Pollitzer from Equality Florida calls this bigoted and repugnant. “They have no evidence at all that this is necessary in Florida. They had to reach all the way to Connecticut to find students that claim they experienced some type of disadvantage.

Pollitzer fears it will empower bullies. “He did this just a week after we had, here in South Florida, a horrendous brutal attack on a trans girl in a middle school who was thrown onto the floor, spit on, kicked repeatedly as her classmates filmed it,” he said.

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He feels this is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist here because of the strict protocols in place. “The standards are so rigorous that the number of trans girls actively playing in Florida is tiny. It’s 11,” Pollitzer said.

“I was on my college women’s crew, which is rowing,” explained Jodi. That’s not her real name, she does not want to be identified. As a trans woman, she participated in college sports, saying the lessons she learned will last a lifetime. She’s concerned about a chilling effect. “It’s going to tell them, at least in Florida, that there are certain doors that are going to be forever closed to them.”

Meg has a 15-year-old trans daughter who loves sports but now can not take the field with her high school team. “It really has nothing to do with fairness,” she said about the new law. “It’s just going to create a lot of pain for a lot of kids,” she fears.

Meg’s worried about the potential impact on children.

“Trans kids already have the deck stacked against them in so many ways. They suffer from high rates of anxiety, depression, suicide, bullying. You take away sports,” Meg said, “It’s really only going to do more emotional damage.”

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Several organizations are expected to file suit to block the legislation, including the Human Rights Campaign.

Ted Scouten