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Casey Stoney, San Diego Wave take stand for gay rights in Florida

(Russell Lansford/USA TODAY Sports)

The San Diego Wave made a statement Sunday, becoming the first expansion team to make the playoffs in their first season. They also made a statement with their T-shirt choice.

The team exited the locker room ahead of the game wearing shirts that featured the rainbow Pride flag on the front and the word “Gay” down the back in large letters.

The Wave were playing the Orlando Pride in Florida. In March, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law the Parental Rights in Education bill, dubbed by LGBT advocates as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Under the law, which went into effect in July, “classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

Parents have the right to sue a school district if the policy is violated.

Wave coach Casey Stoney didn’t mince words Sunday when explaining why the team opted to wear their Pride shirts.

“I’m a gay female and I don’t feel welcome in this state,” she said after her team’s 2-2 draw. “And I think it was a stand for us as a club to stand up for certain policies so that all communities can feel safe in any states.”

San Diego’s rival and fellow expansion club Angel City FC also has taken a stand for the LGBT community this season amid the anti-LGBT and anti-trans legislation popping up around the country.

“We went into it saying Pride, LGBTQ+ inclusion and issues and conversations and voices are not just June, and especially when we’re Angel City and especially when we’re in women’s soccer,” said Catherine Dávila, Angel City’s head of community . “This is year-round for us.”