HB 583 would outlaw trans people from using bathrooms with the threat of jail time, fines, and lawsuits.
Source Florida Sun News: On Tuesday, March 3, the transgender community of Tallahassee took a stand against a discriminatory bill that would criminalize the community’s public bathroom use.
Trans Lives Matter Tallahassee, along with representatives from Students for a Democratic Society, Dream Defenders, the Center for Participant Education and The F Word, gathered to protest House Bill 583 on the steps of the Old Capitol building.
HB 583 is a bill currently sitting in committee in the Florida House of Representatives that would criminalize the use of public facilities that do not match one’s biological sex. This would include the use of public restrooms, locker rooms and fitting rooms. Anyone who willingly and knowingly uses the facility that is not designated for their sex would be committing a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by lawsuits, $1,000 fine, and up to a year in jail.
With signs reading “Free to pee,” “End trans misogyny,” and “Trans liberation now,” among other things, protestors lined the road in front of the capitol and chanted at Tallahassee drivers: “When trans lives are under attack, what do we do? Stand up! Fight back!”
“This puts our safety and our livelihood at risk,” said Shivaani Ehsaan, the head of Trans Lives Matter Tallahassee. “If we can’t use the public facilities that we want to, we basically won’t be able to function.”
During the rally, protestors cited instances of their transgender friends coping with consistent urinary tract infections or suffering from dehydration as a consequence of avoiding using the bathroom. People who are transgender are at risk for harassment and physical, verbal or sexual assault when using the restroom that matches their gender identity.
If HB 583 passes, they will also be at risk for imprisonment, facing jail time for using a bathroom not designated to their sex assigned at birth.
After demonstrating on the steps of the Old Capitol and holding a moment of silence for the lives of the eleven trans people who have been killed since the beginning of this year, the group moved to the New Capitol building to speak to Governor Rick Scott.
They stood in a semicircle in the rotunda, and chanted an open letter to Governor Scott as an audience of representatives, lobbyists and other government employees looked on. The letter asked that Scott publicly oppose HB 583 and stand in solidarity with the transgender community.
When the group arrived at the door of Scott’s office to hand deliver a copy of this letter, they were refused.