Despite decades of activist work battling cross-dressing laws and bathroom bills, including the defeat of the 2015 trans+ bathroom bill in Florida, the haters in Florida took the stage today in Orlando at the Florida Board of Education meeting and passed a rule that targets trans+ and gender diverse kids to uphold systemic discrimination in public school accommodations.
Today, the Florida Department of Education passed a rule that will out transgender and gender diverse youth in Florida public and charter schools and restrict their ability freely use the restroom, locker room, and/or dressing room in accordance with their gender.
Rule 6A-10.086, passed by the Florida Board of Education on Wednesday October 19th, hides it attack behind the language of “Parents Rights” but was supported by anti-LGBTQ and anti-trans groups such as Moms for Liberty and Evidence Ministry which showed up with hate signs and gave hate speeches in favor of the rule’s discriminatory policy.
Citing the “Don’t Say or Be LGBTQ+” statute the bill forces school boards, public schools and charter schools that receive public funds to do the following:
Announce on the school district, or charter school, website AND send snail mail to all parents to inform them if the district/charter school has a trans+ positive bathroom and locker room policy. This mandate will, of course, alert all the hateful parents that the district and/or charter school currently supports trans+ and gender diverse kids and inform the hater parents of the policy and their ability to complain and take action against it. In addition to this announcement the public school district or charter schools will have to amend any trans+ positive accommodations policy to include the following:
Labelling of all bathrooms, locker rooms, and/or dressing rooms that are NOT cisgender exclusive, (thereby outing all kids who use those facilities), and
Create transphobic “cis exclusive” bathrooms for transphobic students (thereby promoting hate, furthering trans exclusivity, and forcing trans+ positive school districts to affirm cisgender privilege and hate), and
Place an adult “supervisor” (coach or aide, etc) to oversee the bathroom, locker room and/or dressing room if the facility is trans+ affirming rather than trans exclusive (thereby removing the right of privacy in restrooms and/or locker rooms for trans+ kids that would normally be accorded to cisgender students)
If school districts do not comply, and/or a hater parent decides to complain, they will be backed by the current statute created through HB 1557 legislative authority with targeted support for their complaint at the state level through the newly created “special magistrate” position which is paid for by the penalized school district and which is appointed by the anti-trans Commissioner of Education (who is appointed by the anti-trans Governor Ron DeSantis). See Special Magistrate Requests on the FDOE webiste.
Photo by Eleanor McDonough - "Signs of Hate at the Board of Education" Oct. 19, 2022
In essence, the school districts will have no choice but to exclude trans+ and gender diverse youth, further the hate against trans+ and gender diverse students, and criminalize trans+ and gender diverse students who choose to use any restroom that actually fits their gender identity rather than their false sex assignment at birth.
Florida Coalition for Transgender Liberation believes that trans+ and gender diverse students have the right to be treated according to their gender without facing exclusion, harassment, bullying and a barborous invasion of privacy. We would love to hear from local directly impacted students, parents, and/or activists and we are happy to support those who want to strategize and organize to take action against this aggressive attack on trans+ and gender diverse youth.
In the next few weeks we will run a short course on bathroom law history, the battle around Title IX and its relationship to Bostock (Title VII) in the courts and in federal rulemaking. Please watch for this and other events/training in email alerts, on our social media, and website. We are happy to supply more information and analysis as we develop it. Here is the leading news on the FBOE/FDOE issue that has come out so far:
* If this title were more accurate it would be "walking, talking, eating, sleeping, being a student, or just "Being Trans in Florida" as a reference for the criminalization and hostility that transgender people and transgender youth receive simply for being who they are.