Hearing scheduled today in House Civil Justice Subcommittee for HB 583, which criminalizes use of public facilities such as bathrooms by transgender people; Over 40,000 have signed ACLU petition against the bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 4, 2015
CONTACT: 
ACLU of Florida Media Office, media@aclufl.org, (786) 363-2737

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, the Florida House Civil Justice Subcommittee is scheduled to hear HB 583, a bill filed by Florida State Representative Frank Artiles which would invalidate protections for transgender Floridians and criminalize the use of public restrooms by transgender people.

“Transgender Floridians already face extreme amounts of harassment and discrimination in the workplace, in our schools, on the streets, and yes, in restrooms,” stated ACLU of Florida Director of Public Policy Michelle Richardson, who will testify against the bill in the committee meeting. “This bill makes that harassment and discrimination a government mandate, and it requires Florida business owners to play ‘gender police,’ having to humiliatingly investigate the gender of anyone seeking to use their facilities.”

The ACLU of Florida sent a letter to the members of the Subcommittee urging them to vote no on the bill. From the letter:

“This bill is plainly targeted at transgender individuals despite the smooth implementation of gender identity protections in 17 states and more than 200 cities. Over 50 percent of Floridians now live in a locality that provides basic protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. The legislature should be seeking ways to protect the transgender community – already subject to harassment and abuse – instead of formally ostracizing the community in the government’s name.

“Although the bill is aimed at transgender people, it will affect the public at large and business owners as well. Anyone perceived to be not feminine or masculine enough may be hassled and required to prove their gender to strangers; anyone who uses an empty different-sex restroom to avoid a long line could do jail time. Businesses will be required to confront their customers with intrusive and humiliating questions about their gender or risk civil liability. Such interaction with customers cannot be good for business.”

A copy of the full letter is available here: https://aclufl.org/resources/letter-to-house-subcommittee-anti-trans-hb-583/

Over 40,000 people have signed an ACLU online petition calling on the Legislature to reject HB 583. That petition is available here: https://www.aclu.org/secure/papers-to-pee

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