TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis jumped into the conversation about a transgender swimmer who won a collegiate title by declaring the runner-up as the real winner.
DeSantis signed a proclamation Tuesday declaring Florida-born Emma Weyant as the winner of the women’s 500-yard (457-meter) freestyle at the NCAA women’s tournament, rather than transgender athlete Lia Thomas, a University of Pennsylvania senior.
DeSantis, whose proclamation has no effect on the tournament outcome, is using the document in fundraising messages for his reelection campaign.
“By allowing men to compete in women’s sports, the NCAA is destroying opportunities for women, making a mockery of its championships, and perpetuating a fraud,” DeSantis said on Twitter.
His proclamation comes nearly a year after he signed a bill that requires anyone participating in girls’ athletics to have an original birth certificate stating they are female.
“Floridians are facing soaring housing costs, skyrocketing property insurance rates, crumbling infrastructure, and a whole host of other urgent crises. But where is Governor DeSantis? Using all of his energy to fuel culture war divisiveness and issue proclamations that address none of the problems his constituents are facing,” Equality Florida, an LGBTQ rights group, said in an emailed statement.