(FiveNation.com)- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been sued over a law he signed that bans transgender girls from participating on girls’ sports teams.
The lawsuit was filed last week by a national LGBTQ rights organization on behalf of a 13-year-old from Broward County, Florida. At birth, the teen was assigned male. Since the age of 7, though, the individual has played on girls’ sports teams.
The girl is in middle school now. She is referred to in the lawsuit only as “Daisy.”
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the organization that filed the lawsuit, said Daisy wanted to try out for the girls’ volleyball team once she reaches high school.
However, under a new law signed by DeSantis last month, she won’t be able to do so.
The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act became effective on July 1. As part of the law, Daisy would have to “out herself” as transgender if she wanted to participate in sports teams in high school. In addition, she’d have to participate only on boys’ sports teams.
In addition to DeSantis, the lawsuit named the School Board of Broward County as a defendant. The school board, though, has already come out to denounce the new law, even as members say they must follow it.
In signing the bill a few weeks ago, DeSantis said it’s about being fair to all students who participate in sports. He said girls have a disadvantage to boys in certain sports, and this only gets more pronounced as teens get older.
The Human Rights Commission, though, says it’s a discriminatory law that will deprive Daisy and other transgender students of various opportunities, based only on their gender identity.
The lawsuit reads:
“Depriving her of these opportunities will have a long-term impact on her future. It also will create a sense of shame and diminish her positive sense of self, which can have lifelong consequences. [The law] also sends a message to (Daisy’s) current and future teammates that there is something wrong with her.”
The lead counsel for Daisy’s family, Rosalyn Richter, said the supporters of the ban don’t have much to stand on when they say transgender girls have an advantage over other individuals who were assigned female at birth.
“The NCAA, the U.S. Olympics and the American Society of Pediatrics have all done extensive scientific and medical studies about the impact of blocking testosterone for an extended period of time and having girls on estrogen for an extended period of time. The competitive advantage they allege simply does not exist on the field.”
DeSantis isn’t the only governor that has signed a law like this in recent months. Other states have taken similar approaches to transgender athletes, as a way to protect the integrity of the sports and the opportunities for all athletes.
These are new laws, though, and are likely to face a lot of challenges in coming months.
One thing that Richter is likely to argue in court — if it gets that far — is Florida allows people to change their name and gender identity on their birth certificate. As such, they should also allow people to participate in sports based on their gender identity, not what’s assigned to them at birth.