Democratic Sen. Shevrin Jones, the first openly LGBTQ Senator in the state’s history, says Gov. Ron DeSantis should not go through with his plan to sign a bill regulating transgender athletes.
The legislation, approved earlier this week, bars transgender women and girls from playing on women’s and girls’ sports teams. In a Thursday evening interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, DeSantis said he plans on signing the legislation.
“Oh, yeah. We’re going to protect our girls,” DeSantis said on the “Ingraham Angle.”
“I have a 4-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old daughter. They’re very athletic. We want to have opportunities for our girls. They deserve an even playing field. And that’s what we’re doing: what Mississippi did, what Florida did, what other states are going to do. So I look forward to being able to sign that into law.”
Friday afternoon, Jones announced he was sending a letter to the Governor asking for him to back off that promise and veto the bill.
“Schools across Florida have had rules in place for nearly a decade under the Florida High School Athletic Association and the National Collegiate Athletic Association that are based on extensive research and give all students a chance to participate,” Jones wrote.
“States that pass legislation that attacks our community will face severe economic, legal, and reputational harm. Transgender kids are just kids. They need to be heard, trusted, and supported. Most people don’t know what it’s like to be transgender or to be the parent of a transgender child, but we can all agree that Florida’s transgender youth need love and support, not legislative attacks.”
Jones also offered to broker a meeting between DeSantis and transgender youth to discuss the impact the bill might have.
Republicans have argued that transgender women — whose gender assigned at birth was male — have certain biological advantages that make it unfair for them to participate in women’s sports. Democrats point to the marginalization that transgender youth experience, and argue that not allowing them to join a team corresponding to their gender identity will further that harm.
In a Friday statement released alongside his letter to the Governor, Jones hammered Republican legislators for prioritizing the issue this Session.
“It’s shameful that Republican lawmakers are wasting tax dollars attacking Florida’s most vulnerable communities rather than prioritizing the issues that impact everyday people’s lives,” Jones said in a Friday statement.
“Clearly they’ve decided that discrimination and hate are central to their reelection platform despite our state’s incredible diversity.”