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Florida anti-transgender ‘Bathroom Bill’ is dead, for now

By staff

Tallahassee, FL – On April 28, the Florida House of Representatives adjourned the legislative session for this year. This marks an end to the hearings on House Bill 583, more commonly known as the ‘Bathroom Bill.’ This bill gained notoriety over the past few months for its attempt to criminalize transgender people. It would make using the bathroom that does not correspond to the sex one was assigned at birth a second-degree misdemeanor. Transgender people would face up to a year in prison and a fine of $1000 simply for using the bathroom.

The Transgender Liberation Front, as well as affiliate groups such as Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), waged a campaign against this bill. Activists attended every hearing on the bill and held press conferences, speak-outs and rallies to voice opposition against HB 583. Students and community members swiftly built a movement against the transphobic Republican politicians pushing the hateful bill.

The bill would be disastrous for transgender people in Florida. “We already face such high rates of unemployment, poverty and homelessness. We don’t need more trans people in prisons, we need liberation,” said Katherine Draken, president of Students for a Democratic Society in Tallahassee.

Despite growing opposition from groups across the state, such as Equality Florida, HB 583 managed to get through two subcommittees. First it passed the Civil Justice Subcommittee, and then the Government Operations Subcommittee. However, it failed to pass through the Judiciary Committee, which is necessary for it to pass through to the House of Representatives. The Senate’s version of the bill, SB 1464, was scheduled for the Criminal Justice committee but was never heard, ending the ‘Bathroom Bill’ threat.

“This isn't over,” said Naomi Bradley, one of the leading organizers of the Transgender Liberation Front. “While this bill may be dead, there's no reason to believe similar bills might not be on the way. Transmisogyny is a larger problem than just Frank Artiles and his virulent hate bill. Transmisogyny is a wide, all-encompassing problem that we must continue to stand against until transgender liberation is absolute.”

There is indeed a possibility that this bill or similar bills will be brought up again next year. All bills discussed during previous sessions will be archived and can be reintroduced next session. If the bill is brought up again, Transgender Liberation Front states it will fight this bill and any other transphobic bills that the Florida Legislature has in store. In the meanwhile TLF will continue to fight systematic transphobia.

“While we are glad to see that this transphobic bathroom bill is dead, we must realize Transgender liberation goes beyond our right to pee freely,” said Shivaani Ehsaan, with the Transgender Liberation Front.

Ehsaan continues, “We hope to take action and address issues of unemployment, discrimination, lack of access to critical medical care, as well as the rampant homelessness that plagues Transgender communities around the world. We want an end to brutal trans misogynistic murders that occur every 29 hours.”

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