Gov. Ron DeSantis waded further into gender politics Tuesday, issuing a proclamation that said a swimmer from Sarasota is the nation’s best “female” in the 500-meter freestyle after she finished second last week to a transgender athlete at the NCAA championship.
DeSantis’ proclamation said University of Virginia swimmer Emma Weyant is “the rightful winner” of the race. The proclamation was sent out with an accompanying tweet that the “NCAA is destroying opportunities for women, making a mockery of its championships.”
During an appearance at a school in Wesley Chapel, DeSantis discussed the proclamation after being asked about a planned walkout by Walt Disney World employees over a perceived failure by Disney executives to lobby against a fiercely debated bill that restricts instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools — what critics call the “don’t say gay” bill.
“If you look at what the NCAA has done, by allowing basically men to compete in women’s athletics, in this case, the swimming, you had the number one woman who finished was from Sarasota, Emma Weyant, won the silver medal,” DeSantis said.
“She’s been an absolute superstar, her whole career, she trains, I mean, to compete at that level is very, very difficult,” DeSantis continued. “You don’t just roll out of bed and do it. That takes grit, that takes determination. And she’s been an absolute superstar. And she had the fastest time of any woman in college athletics.”
Representatives of the NCAA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
Weyant, who took the silver medal in the 400 individual medley last summer in the Tokyo Olympics, finished second in the 500-meter freestyle Thursday at the NCAA championship at the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta. She finished with a time of 4:34.99 to University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas’ time of 4:33.24.
Weyant clasped hands with Thomas in the water at the end of the race but has otherwise been quiet on the issue, which has drawn protests from other Olympians and political conservatives.
With the win, Thomas is the first known transgender athlete to win the NCAA swimming championship.
Florida lawmakers and DeSantis last year approved what was dubbed the “Fairness In Women’s Sports Act,” which prevents transgender females from participating on girls’ and women’s high-school and college sports teams.
The measure restricts female athletes’ eligibility for sports teams to the “biological sex” on their birth certificates issued “at or near the time of the student’s birth.”
Under the measure, students who contend they are “deprived of an athletic opportunity” because of violations of the law will be able to sue their schools or colleges. The law also allows colleges and universities to file lawsuits “against the governmental entity, licensing or accrediting organization, or athletic association or organization” if they suffer “direct or indirect harm” related to violations of the law.
A federal lawsuit filed on behalf of a teen-age Broward County soccer player contends the measure is unconstitutionally discriminatory and violates a federal law, known as Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools or education programs that receive federal money.
A policy by USA Swimming requires trans athletes to undergo three years of hormone replacement therapy before competing, a timeline that the NCAA didn’t follow for Thomas, who is reportedly about 2 ½ years into the process.
DeSantis, who has warned business leaders of following a “woke” ideology, said Tuesday “we need to stop allowing organizations like the NCAA to perpetuate frauds on the public.”
“Now, the NCAA is basically taking efforts to destroy women’s athletics,” DeSantis said. “They’re trying to undermine the integrity of the competition, and they’re crowning somebody else, the woman’s champion, and we think that’s wrong.”
University of Texas swimmer Erica Sullivan, who finished third to Thomas in the NCAA contest, wrote an opinion piece last week for Newsweek saying that among all the ongoing global issues, “in the U.S., we are wasting resources and finding ourselves divided over a question that should have a simple answer.”
“Many of those who oppose transgender athletes like Lia being able to participate in sports claim to be ‘protecting women’s sports,’” Sullivan wrote. “As a woman in sports, I can tell you that I know what the real threats to women’s sports are: sexual abuse and harassment, unequal pay and resources and a lack of women in leadership. Transgender girls and women are nowhere on this list.”
Meanwhile, DeSantis said he will “relatively soon” sign the measure (HB 1557) that restricts instruction about gender identity and sexual orientation in schools.
The measure would prohibit instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. For higher grades, the bill would prevent such instruction if it is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate as determined by state academic standards.
–Jim Turner, News Service of Florida
Cmon man says
Why ate we even arguing about this… kindergarten cop said it best… boys have a penis, girls have a vagina…
C’mon man!! says
As the original c’mon man I agree
I guess the only person who trained really hard was the one DUH Santis favors. Forget about anyone else, no matter who they are, right? Beer guzzling Ron doesn’t even make an effort anymore to hide his bigoted ignorance. Let’s take up Ron’s beliefs: I don’t think your qualified because your tall, short, thin, heavy. Can you imagine if his “sacred” children were biased against because of who they are or want to be? I am sure all of us would hear about it!
It’s just so sad to have to witness such narrow minded stupidity from a person who, one would think, should know better. But after seeing the damage he has done over the last recent weeks, it really comes as no surprise. Notice that every time someone speaks out against what he says, he immediately has an answer and demeans that person or company? He even deprives his own school system because they disagreed with his blatant arrogance. Who does that remind you of? Instead of Governor, we should change his title to “Emperor”? He’d love it!!
My friend says
You seem to have answer for everything too, just as you say he does, your no different than anyone else. You only want to hear what your beliefs are and vice versa… at the the end of the day nobody’s is happy regardless… but LGB or FJB… right?
No, I expect the leader of the State to be open minded, and not openly express his bias. He is supposed to represent ALL his citizens, not just the ones he claims to be in his favor!!
Obviously, you missed my point. And please, I don’t have a clue what you are trying to express!
C’mon man!! says
@enough. He’s a dude competing in woman’s sports. That’s the only point.
Poser Duh-santis at it again.
Richard Smith says
Good, about time some one took a stance on this man competing against woman….
DeSanTits is making himself look dumber every day
Dennis C Rathsam says
If you took the time to watch the race, it was clearly visable the transgender girl went through puberty as a boy. His arms are double the size, his legs are twice as big. When he has a boy he ranked well below 150 swimmers in the US. Now as a girl, he,s now#1 in the US for girls. Sorry but boys compete against boys, & girls should compete against girls. Thats the way it always was for hundreds of years. No time to change now!
DeSantis made the right call on this one, it meets the eye test. This isn’t an attack on Trans so much as it’s standing up for Women. That’s a tough call to make, isn’t it ? To be pro-women’s rights & protection, he had to be anti LGBTQ. It should be noted there were no blacks in the pool, that’s just racist.
I’ve told this story before, but it bears repeating. DeSantis lived in my community while he was our Flagler County district representative, but before he became governor. He was aloof, uncaring, distant, never engaged with his neighbors for their concerns in any way, and didn’t care one single bit about our neighborhood issues or representing his district. Now that he’s Governor, he blatantly panders to his right-wing base just like Trump did in the hopes that he can use those tactics to become President (or VP if Trump somehow gets re-elected). He doesn’t care about the people of Florida any more than he cared about the people of Flagler County. I wish I had taken photos of him when he lived in our community, because he often looked like he had been on a three day bender (unshaven, overweight and disheveled). I didn’t like him from the first day I met him and my opinion of him has grown far worse in the past four years. He’ll say or do anything that he thinks he can use to pander to his base and climb the rungs of the Republican political ladder.
Deborah Coffey says
Well, one can only hope that the payback for hater DeSantis is that at least one of his kids turns out to be LGBTQ. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Deathsantis might as well just go ahead now and order a proclamation be issued that says he is “the nation’s bestest gov and rightful heir to the 2024 GOP presidential nomination”. His simple-minded and meaningless press releases are meant to rally the far rightwing base and make it look like he is doing something extraordinary, when in fact he is intentionally excluding and marginalizing more and more FL citizens and voters that he took an oath to serve when he was elected. This state can do so much better, but it will take ALL of us living here to getting pissed off enough to get rid of this whiny, conniving mini-drumph come election time. Enough is enough already!!!
Its a guy competing against women.
He was pretty lousy competing against men. Should not be allowed.
I have competed in powerlifting for 40 years I retired last year , if i decide to Identify as a woman and compete now I can break the women’s record without even training…. is that fair to REAL women?