FLORIDA GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS: "I can tell you this: in Florida, girls are going to play girls' sports and boys are going to play boys' sports. That's what we're doing and we're going to make sure that's the reality."
Governor Ron Desantis on Tuesday added Florida to the growing list of U.S. states to ban transgender girls and women from playing in women’s athletics at schools – a move blasted as discriminatory by equal rights activists.
DeSantis signed the bill at an event at a Christian school in Jacksonville where he was flanked by several teenage women athletes.
DESANTIS: "The bill that we're doing today will ensure fairness for women athletes for years to come in the state of Florida. It says that athletic teams or sports that are designated for females are open to females and we're going to go based on biology not based off ideology when we're doing sports."
Supporters say transgender female athletes have an unfair advantage, having been designated male at birth but having since transitioned.
Florida's law defines an athlete's sex as that stated on official documents at birth.
Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee and West Virginia have passed similar legislation. All have Republican governors.
But Democrats and civil rights advocates call the bans unnecessary and discriminatory. Some are calling for boycotts.
DeSantis – who is closely aligned with former President Donald Trump – seemed primed for fight, enacting the law on the first day of Pride Month, which celebrates the LGBTQ community.
DESANTIS: "In Florida, we're going to do what's right. We'll stand up to corporations, they are not going to dictate the policies in this state. We will stand up to groups like the NCAA who think that they should be able to dictate the policies in different states. Not here, not ever."
The Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group, said it would challenge the law in court, saying: "Transgender kids are kids," adding, "Like all children, they deserve the opportunity to play sports with their friends and be a part of a team."