By Melanie Nathan, February 24, 2015.
The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) strongly denounces proposed bills in Texas and Florida that would make it a crime for transgender people to use restrooms and other public facilities consistent with who they are as men and women.
The discriminatory Texas legislation (HB 1748) was introduced by Republican State Representative Debbie Riddle and carries jail time of up to one year and fines of up to $4,000 for those convicted. Florida GOP state lawmaker Frank Artiles introduced similar legislation (HB 583) in that state making it illegal for transgender people to enter bathrooms and other public facilities that match who they are and imposing a jail term of up to one year and fines of up to $1,000 for those convicted.
Statement from TLDEF Executive Director Michael Silverman
“Bills like these target transgender people for harm by criminalizing the simple act of using a bathroom. They are an end run around non-discrimination ordinances in local areas that protect transgender people from discrimination in public accommodations. Lawmakers who sponsor this kind of mean-spirited legislation purport to be looking out for public safety. But in reality, they are creating unsafe conditions by putting transgender people at great risk for harassment and violence.
“Transgender people must be able to access public facilities like bathrooms without fearing for their safety. When it comes to bathroom access, discrimination is wrong and unjust. Criminalization is outrageous and intolerable. These bills are pernicious. We hope they are soundly defeated.”