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Florida's Transgender Bathroom Ban Challenged in Court by Group of Activists Ahead of March

Florida's Transgender Bathroom Ban Challenged in Court by Group of Activists Ahead of March

Gov. Ron DeSantis

The group of activists will be in Orlando for a march in support of trans youth in the state.

A group of transgender and nonbinary activists on Friday asked a federal judge in Florida to grant a temporary restraining order permitting them to use bathrooms aligned with their gender identity while they attend a march in support of trans youth in the state.

The group, represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights, is also asking the judge to declare the Facility Requirement Based on Sex law unconstitutional. It was one of four controversial news laws signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in May and went into effect this summer. The activists will be attending the National March to Protect Trans Youth and Speakout for Trans Lives taking place Saturday in Orlando. They say they fear arrest or harassment if they are not allowed to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.

“Plaintiffs have sincere concerns about their ability to exercise their protest and expressive conduct rights as they traverse the state of Florida from Oct. 2, 2023, through October 8, 2023,” the lawsuit declares. “Some Plaintiffs plan to use a restroom that aligns with their gender, which exposes them to arrest. Others wish to avoid that risk and plan to use non-affirming restrooms. Some will forgo multi-stall public restrooms altogether due to fear and discomfort.”

The Facility Requirement Based on Sex law limits bathrooms based upon a person’s “specific reproductive role, as indicated by the person's sex chromosomes, naturally occurring sex hormones, and internal and external genitalia present at birth.”

The law defines female as “a person belonging, at birth, to the biological sex which has the specific reproductive role of producing eggs” and defines males as “a person belonging, at birth, to the biological sex which has the specific reproductive role of producing sperm.”

One plaintiff, Melinda Butterfield, 52, is a trans woman traveling to Orlando from NYC. She had few kinds words for DeSantis and the recent slew of anti-LGBTQ+ bills signed into law in the state.

“A protest like this is long overdue,” Butterfield said in a statement. “The divide-and-conquer measures of Ron DeSantis, the Florida legislature, and their wealthy backers are echoed in states across the country: banning gender-affirming healthcare, suppressing free speech for queer students and teachers, throttling Pride celebrations and drag performances, banning trans people from using restrooms, and threatening to kidnap trans youth from supportive parents.”

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