By TAYLOR BROTONS
As of this new year, many Florida conservatives were taken aback by the decision made by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle. He has made it so each of the 67 Florida counties must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This is a huge step for gay rights, but as with most political happenings in Florida, we take one step forward and then someone decides to take two steps back.
Now a specific group of the LGBTQ community is being ostracized in a vindictive, hypocritical and very invasive way. The most intolerant and bigoted of our state’s legislators have proposed a bill that could have a trans-person charged with a first-degree misdemeanor by using a bathroom that the legislation determines is wrong based on their “biological sex.”
I would like to believe that by this day and age people are starting to be a little more accepting of others and understand that for the most part, gender is a social construct. Yes, you have a biological sex at birth, but what deems someone male or female has very little to do with their sex organs and much more to do with how they feel comfortable presenting themselves to the world.
Unfortunately, those in the state legislature do not see it the same way. This bill would basically put the power in the hands of the bully. If a trans-person is caught using a bathroom not matching their “biological sex” they can be sentenced up to one year in prison. If any non-trans-person finds a trans-person in a bathroom not matching their “biological sex” they can sue. If the business owner of where the bathroom is located does not actively prevent trans-people from using the “wrong” bathroom, they can be sued by customers as well and are liable for a civil suit.
It is as methodically spiteful and malicious as it is frustrating. The icing on the cake is that if sued successfully, the trans-person or the business owner, will have to pay the attorney fees of all parties involved.
This bill is a blatant discriminatory act against trans-people and those who support them. Not only does it condone the harassment of trans-people, but if also impedes on the rights of store owners to be non-discriminatory. The LGBTQ community faces constant violence, discrimination, humiliation and an overwhelming amount of hatred in this county, this bill takes a step even further and leaves them nowhere to hide.