An anti-transgender bill in Florida that has caused outrage across the state passed its first House subcommittee yesterday and is now on its way to embarrassing the state more than it already is.
House Bill 583, the Single Sex Public Facilities Bill, would make it a misdemeanor for anyone to use a public facility such as a bathroom, locker room, shower, etc. if it is not designated for the gender they were assigned at birth. In other words, a transgender female would not be allowed to use the women’s restroom.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Frank Artiles (R-Discriminationville) in response to an ordinance that passed in Miami in December, which prohibits discrimination against transgender citizens in housing, employment, and public facilities. Artiles claims that the ordinance would give male predators legal access to female facilities so that they could assault women:
I believe that criminals — males — will use this law as the cover to go into the women’s locker room. All they have to say is, ‘I feel like a woman today.’ [Source]
That’s such a load of crap! Artiles and other Republicans have a long history of discriminating against people who do not fit their image of what a perfect person is. Fifty years ago, black people weren’t allowed to use restrooms that were assigned to white people. This is the same kind of garbage.
The bill is hateful and perpetuates stereotypes and myths that transgender people are perverts who want to go in facilities that do not match their “biological sex” because they are predators. In the Republican bubble of hate, anyone who is ‘different’ is scary and dangerous.
Cindy Sullivan, a 45-year-old transgender woman, broke down and sobbed as she testified before the subcommittee yesterday:
I just want to live an authentic life, free of harassment. I don’t want to hurt anybody. Harassment is out there, and this bill is government harassment.
To criminalize this is outrageous. Florida has enough to be embarrassed about (I live here, I can say it) without adding to it with bills that drag us back fifty years. Seriously.
Featured Image: Shannon Argueta