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Equality Florida asks for support killing an anti-trans bathroom bill

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The group Equality Florida is asking supporters to email their state representatives urging them to vote no on an anti-transgender bill making its way through committees on this first full day of session.

The single-sex public facilities bill would require individuals to use only restrooms for the sex in which they were assigned at birth. The bill includes public restrooms, even those in private businesses. Business owners opposing the law would not be able to make exceptions and breaking it would be a misdemeanor.

This is troublesome to critics on a number of levels. For starters, it means people who look like men would be using the women’s restroom and vice-versa. More importantly to LGBTQ supporters, it’s a step backward for equality and promotes discrimination.

However, the bill’s sponsor, South Florida state Rep. Frank Artiles, says it’s intended for public safety. Artiles is the same lawmaker accused of punching a young man at a Tallahassee bar early Wednesday morning after 1 a.m. Artiles denies that accusation.

A sample letter for lawmakers can be found here. The full text is below. The measure is up for a vote at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee.

Please vote NO on HB 583 by Representative Artiles when it comes before House Civil Justice Subcommittee tomorrow.

The Transgender Discrimination Bill, H.B. 583, seeks to criminalize transgender people by making it illegal for them to enter sex segregated facilities such as bathrooms, locker rooms, or dressing rooms. H.B. 583 would also compel businesses to discriminate against their own employees and customers, and invalidate nondiscrimination policies that already exist on the local level.

The arguments for this bill are the same lies and scare tactics we have seen defeated time and again. Concerns raised about public safety in public facilities have absolutely no basis in fact. To date, 17 states and 28 municipalities in Florida have passed and successfully implemented human rights ordinances that provide protections to the transgender community with absolutely no increase in public safety incidents.

Instead, this bill hurts businesses and individuals by leaving them open to unnecessary litigation and hurts Florida’s reputation nationwide.

Please vote NO on HB 583.

equality florida letter

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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