State Rep. Frank Artiles (R-Miami) has angered an LGBT group, Equality Florida, with a bill he introduced in the state legislature that would make it a crime for a person who is not the “biological sex” designated on a public restroom door to use that facility.
Artiles says that his bill is not discriminatory and that “the whole purpose of this bill from its inception is safety.”
He told Local10.com that the bill was filed in response to an ordinance passed in Miami-Dade County last December which provides protections against discrimination in housing, public accommodations and employment based on gender identification.
That ordinance, according to Artiles, may be “well-intentioned,” but that it is so poorly written it allows any man to walk into a women’s shower and watch them disrobe.
The language of Artiles’ bill says that “Single-sex public facilities are places of increased vulnerability and present the potential for crimes against individuals using those facilities, including, but not limited to, assault, battery, molestation, rape, voyeurism, and exhibitionism.”
“I don’t want a man … to walk into a women’s bathroom because he can,” Artiles said.
Defending his bill, he said that businesses would remain free to supply unisex facilities if they so choose.
Jim Harper, a spokesman for Equality Florida, doesn’t see the bill in the same way as Artiles told Local10.com. He sees the bill as “absurd, unnecessary and mean-spirited.”
“Are people going to have to show their anatomy before they go to the bathroom just to make sure they’re going to the right one?” He asked, adding that he thinks that Artiles has a “profound misunderstanding of who transgender people are.”
Harper said that Equality Florida has no plans to take action against the proposal and will focus attention on passing a statewide civil rights law that would include gender identity.
“We hope that cooler, better informed legislators will not give this bill much attention,” he said.
“Your anatomy will dictate where you go to the bathroom,” Artiles said, refusing to back down.
If passed the law would take effect on July 1.
h/t: Local10.com; image from Local10