Target: Florida Representative Frank Artiles
Goal: Prevent transgender individuals from being discriminated against when using public restrooms.
Trans people face discrimination in many aspects of their lives, and in spite of Miami-Dade County extending anti-discrimination laws to protect trans people, Miami representative Frank Artiles wants to prevent trans people from using public restrooms.
Florida House Bill 538 would make it a criminal offense for anyone to use a bathroom that is not marked for the gender they identify as. The law would make it so that only a person whose birth certificate read male could use a men’s room, and vice versa. This would make it illegal for trans people to use the bathrooms of their gender identity, regardless of whether they have transitioned to that gender or not. Beyond that, it allows people in a restroom to sue anyone who they feel doesn’t belong there, as well as the owner of the restroom. What’s more, the bill does not allow local ordinances to create exemptions or allow private business owners to exempt their bathrooms.
The bill applies to restrooms, dressing rooms, fitting rooms, locker rooms, and showers, and Florida law defines any of these spaces as public if they exist within any building that is open to the public, which means all of these spaces are off limits to trans people, intersex people, or anyone who’s gender isn’t immediately recognizable. This law is also wide open for abuse, because people who don’t identify as the gender they were assigned at birth could be prevented from using the bathroom they’re legally required to use.
Adding insult to injury, Rep. Artiles insists that the law does not target trans people, and is intended to protect people within single-sex restrooms from “assault, battery, molestation, rape, voyeurism, and exhibitionism.” Not only is the law a violation of the privacy of trans people, but the man who suggested it thinks trans people are violent perverts, and that nobody is smart enough to see through his lies about the bill’s purpose.
By signing this petition, you can tell Rep. Artiles that his proposed bill is simply a glaring attempt to harass trans people and we won’t stand for it.
Dear Representative Frank Artilies,
Florida House Bill 538 is an obvious attempt to punish trans people and to essentially make it illegal to be transgender in public. Trans people have just as much right to use public facilities as anyone else, and this law serves only to punish them. Being a trans person is difficult enough, and many trans people risk losing their families, their jobs, and even their lives in order to live as the gender with which they actually identify. Nobody goes through all of this just so they can access a different bathroom and gawk at the people in there. Trans people are not the collection of violent perverts you seem to think they are.
You continue to defend House Bill 538 as one that will protect women from men who would prey upon them, but you know full well that a sign on a door would never stop a violent man who really wanted access to a bathroom. It’s obvious to anyone that you created this bill to punish trans people.
I urge you to drop this bill and the hate which so obviously fuels it. Florida has finally allowed gay marriage, and your own Miami-Dade County is working to extend anti-discrimination policies to trans people. Don’t fight the rising tide of equality in Florida by preventing transgender residents from using public facilities.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Nemo via Pixabay