Commentary

Gov. DeSantis Signs Bill Banning Men from Women's Sports

On Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning men who identify as women from competing in women’s sports at the scholastic level.

“We believe in the state of Florida protecting the fairness and integrity of women’s athletics,” DeSantis said. “I can tell you that in Florida, girls are going to play girls’ sports and boys are going to play boys’ sports.”

With this move, DeSantis fulfilled a month-old promise made on Fox News to sign the bill — which applies to scholastic sports, though not at the elementary school level — into law.

“We want to have opportunities for our girls. They deserve an even playing field,” DeSantis had said last month.

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Moves like this keep DeSantis in step with the American public, 54 percent of whom oppose transgender participation in scholastic sports based on so-called gender identity, according to a Rasmussen poll released in March.

They are also the reason for DeSantis’ popularity in the Republican Party and his success as governor of a major state.

What allowed DeSantis to navigate the pandemic so adroitly was his ability to read the scientific literature, participate in internal discussions with experts and make political decisions based on the evidence.

That is what makes DeSantis a good politician.

Is it fair for men to compete in women's sports?

What makes him arguably the best governor in America and a 2024 presidential frontrunner is his ability to stand by these data-based decisions amid controversy created by his political opponents and their establishment media allies.

As you would expect, these people are unhappy.

“Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a ban on transgender girls from competing in girls’ and women’s sports at an event at a Christian school on the first day of Pride Month, which celebrates the LGBTQ community,” the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The establishment media doesn’t like Christians. That is why the “Sentinel” noted DeSantis signed the bill from a “Christian” school in particular.

The media incorrectly believes that Christianity threatens the rights of the transgender community at best and its existence at worst. That is why the “Sentinel” noted in the same lede that DeSantis signed the bill “on the first day of Pride Month, which celebrates the LGBTQ community.”

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It is not clear whether the media picked up the Democrats’ talking points or the Democrats began parroting what they read in the paper. But either way, there is no observable difference between the reporting and the politicking.

Democratic state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith of Orlando called the bill “appalling” on Twitter, especially since it was signed on the “First day of LGBTQ Pride Month.”

With tolerance in his heart and empathy on his mind, Smith didn’t miss an opportunity to demonize his political opponents with a lie: “This fuels transphobia and puts vulnerable kids at risk for no good reason.”

In another statement that just happened to mirror the Sentinel’s take on the issue, state Rep. Anna Eskamani, who also represents parts of the Orlando area, ripped the bill and her Republican colleagues for their supposed cruelty and stupidity.

“Transgender youth deserve our love and support, not cruel attacks because of who they are,” she said in a statement. “Today Governor Ron DeSantis allowed ignorance to prevail and took our state backwards in the fight for LGBTQ+ equality.”

This is all complete bunk.

The scientific literature on biological differences between the sexes is clear that, on average, males have advantages over females in metrics of physical prowess.

According to a study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology, the women surveyed were about half as strong as men in the upper body and 66 percent as strong in the lower body.

Men tended to have larger Type I muscle fibers than women and a higher distribution of lean muscle in the upper body than the lower body compared to women, according to the study, which was released in 1993 but is still quite relevant today.

This all means that men generally have innate advantages over women in competitions centered on athleticism, in which physical size and strength usually mean a higher level of performance.

This competitive advantage is the reason that men and women compete separately, on top of the fact that allowing them to compete together would likely present a greater chance of injury to female competitors.

But none of DeSantis’ opponents made arguments pertaining to the scientific literature or whether its findings apply to athletics.

Their focus was on demonizing DeSantis as cruel and heartless, and tying him to the Christian population, which leftists think being associated with is akin to catching leprosy.

Leftists have a prized narrative. This narrative elevates group — or even personal — identity over all else, including the identity we have as humans made in God’s image.

Narrative trumps the scientific methodology if the two are in conflict, which they almost always are given that the purpose of the methodology is to test narratives against objective standards of reality.

But leftists control academia and the establishment media. They set the narratives from these perches to suit Democratic Party needs. Leftist politicians then proceed to ram them down Americans’ throats with alacrity.

Republicans and their conservative allies in the culture are beginning to contest this in a serious way. DeSantis’ leadership in this conflict is the reason for his stardom within the party.

On every major issue from COVID-19 policy to law enforcement to gender issues, DeSantis has been a faithful partner to the data.

DeSantis has always followed the scientific data. When the political narrative conflicted, he stayed put atop hillocks of evidence.

His principles mattered to him more than the names printed by the activists in our media establishment.

Just below the surface of our more superficial politics, DeSantis is a Western-style leader competing against anti-Western elements in both the political and cultural arenas.

Gender is a front in this conflict because it centers on identity politics and whether objective standards of reality prevail over identity when political narratives are at stake.

DeSantis has made clear time and again that his politics are rooted in the data. The scientists are not there to be his political allies. Reality exists to be uncovered, not manipulated by politicians.

His latest move proves that the establishment media is not going to bully DeSantis into backing off his protection of women’s rights, and legitimate fairness and equality will prevail over anti-scientific mobs in the state of Florida.

In this case, that means men will not be allowed to abuse their physical advantages to defeat women in sports.

But on this and other fronts more broadly, DeSantis continues to supply evidence that leftist narratives will not be prioritized over the reality we all share together.

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Kevin Catapano graduated from the University of Connecticut in May 2021 with a bachelor's of arts in political science. While studying, he was a weekly columnist for the student newspaper and a staff writer for the UConn Undergraduate Political Review.
Kevin Catapano graduated from the University of Connecticut in May 2021 with a bachelor's of arts in political science. While studying, he was a weekly columnist for the student newspaper and a staff writer for the UConn Undergraduate Political Review.




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