Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law the CS/CS/SB 1028 Bill on Tuesday, which includes a controversial provision on transgender athletes. Section 1006.205, titled the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” bans transgender women athletes from women’s sports.
The insertion of Section 1006.205 shall now require the designation of all public secondary school or post-secondary institution sponsored interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural or club athletic teams and sports based on one’s biological sex at birth into one of the following three categories: males, men, or boys; females, women, or girls; or coed or mixed. The provision also states that athletic teams and sports “designated for females, women, or girls, may not be open to students of the male sex,” with determination of a student’s biological sex being made based on the student’s official birth certificate.
In its legislative intent to maintain equal opportunities for female athletes,’ the insertion shall allow for civil remedies to be passed in favor of any student who gets deprived of an athletic opportunity or suffers any direct or indirect harm as a result of a violation of the provisions of the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.” It shall entitle such student to initiate a private cause of action for injunctive relief, damages, and any other relief available under law against the school or public postsecondary institution, including monetary damages for any psychological, emotional, or physical harm suffered, reasonable attorney fees and costs, and any other appropriate relief.
A similar bill banning transgender athletes, HB 1475 Bill, had passed earlier this year in the Florida House of Representatives as a stand-alone bill, but it had failed in the Senate last month. The present law incorporates the failed standalone bill into the bill on education. Despite the existing controversial content of the enacted law, it differs from the previous version, since HB 1475 also allowed for physical examination of a student’s reproductive anatomy, genetic makeup or testosterone levels, in cases of dispute regarding a student’s sex, which the education law replaces by allowing for reference only to a student’s birth certificate in case of any dispute over the sex of a student.
Ironically, the law was signed on the first day of Pride Month, and goes into effect on July 1.