Florida Law Would Make It A Crime For Transgender People To Choose Their Own Restroom

A proposed law in Florida would make it a crime for a transgendered person to use any sex-segregated bathroom in a public place other than the one that matches the gender assigned to them at birth, Al Jazeera is reporting.

Florida’s Single-Sex Public Facilities Bill, introduced by Republican representative Frank Artiles, would punish a transgendered person who uses any bathroom other than the one designated for the sex on their birth certificate, in danger of a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in prison.

Further, according to Slate, the proposed law would allow anyone offended by the presence of a trans person in the “wrong” bathroom to sue not just the offending party, but also the business that allowed the infraction.

The bill’s sponsor claims that the bill is not specifically aimed at transgendered people; rather, it’s intended to keep perverts out of public restrooms designed for the opposite sex.

“[The bill would reduce] the potential for crimes against individuals using those facilities, including, but not limited to, assault, battery, molestation, rape, voyeurism, and exhibitionism.”

Slate writer Mark Joseph Stern isn’t buying that explanation.

“The obvious intent of this bill is to humiliate trans people by opening them up to criminal and civil liability merely for performing the most basic of bodily functions. Trans people already face harassment, discrimination, and sometimes violence while attempting to use the bathroom. This bill would effectively give anti-trans harassers the state’s blessing, while providing them a new avenue through which to shame trans Floridians—the court system.”

The D.C. Trans Coalition (DCTC), an advocacy group for transgendered people in the Washington, D.C., area, writes on its website that transgendered people are actually more likely to be victims of harassment or violence in a bathroom rather than perpetrators.

“In reality, we know that trans people are far more at risk than a threat. We are constantly attacked, threatened, thrown out and even arrested just for trying to pee. We’ve spoken to trans individuals that have nearly lost their jobs, been ejected from public restaurants, forced to drop out of school and harassed by police officers, all for trying to exercise their legal right to use the bathroom where they feel the safest and most comfortable.”

A similar bill has been proposed in Kentucky, although it only applies to schools. The Kentucky bill would punish a school that allows a transgender student to use any bathroom that doesn’t correspond to the student’s sex at birth, according to this Inquisitr report.

Do you support Florida’s proposed law that makes it a crime for a transgendered person to use any bathroom other than the one that matches their birth gender? Sound off in the comments below.

[Image courtesy of Campus Reform]