Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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"Bathroom Bill" Alive in FL Legislature

TALLAHASSEE, FL - A new law being proposed in Florida has the state's transgendered community concerned and angry.

Cindy Sullivan

The proposed legislation, House Bill 583, mandates that public same-sex restrooms in the state be restricted for use by biological gender. It would prohibit use of those facilities by a person who identifies as a different gender.

In Tallahassee last week, Robert Sullivan, 45, who is transitioning to Cindy Sullivan, broke down in tears while testifying against the bill in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee.

"This bill is government intrusion at its worst," Sullivan said. "(At) the company I currently work for, I'm Cindy Sullivan. They respect me. They let me use the restroom - the women's restroom, and only the women's restroom. This bill would require them to ID me at the door, and have me go to a different location."

As activists chanted "Trans Lives Matter," the subcommittee passed the bill along party lines, with nine Republicans in support and four Democrats against. It now moves on to the Judiciary Committee. Similar laws are being proposed in Texas and Kentucky.

Rep. Frank Artiles

Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, who sponsored the Florida legislation, said it's intended to address concerns over public safety and to override what he calls an "overreaching" non-discrimination ordinance passed in Miami-Dade County last year.

"Whether or not if a transgender person, or a transitioning person, falls under that definition, we have to look at the general public," he said, "and we have to look at how people are going to use this ordinance and this protection, that's overbroad and subjective."

Artiles said he believes criminals - particularly men - could use the Miami law to commit crimes by gaining access to women's restrooms. But even some of Artiles' fellow GOP colleagues have expressed concerns about the bill, saying it needs changes before moving on in the Florida Legislature.

Photos/graphics; links; added and updated by the Observer

Photos: Cindy Sullivan courtesy of the Advocate; Frank Artiles by the FL Legislature

This piece was reprinted by the Columbia County Observer with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

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