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Welcome To Florida, Where You Can Be Subjected To Genital Inspections and DNA Tests To Use a Bathroom

Signs indicating men and women's bathrooms hang above doors.

Florida’s fever nightmare of a governor, Ron DeSantis, signed a slew of hate-based bills into law on Wednesday that make it harder, if not impossible, to simply live your life in the sunshine state if you are a trans person. Collectively, the bills attack drag shows, ban gender-affirming medical care for minors, severely restrict it for adults, and, in a real dystopian hellscape asshole move, make it a criminal offense to use a public restroom as a trans person.

The “Safety in Private Spaces Act” (HB1521), which became law in Florida last week and will take effect on July 1, makes it an illegal and criminally punishable offense for a trans person to use a public restroom or similar public facility that doesn’t correspond to their sex as assigned at birth. And the bill gets really aggressive when defining “sex,” so that even trans folks who have legal IDs and paperwork matching their presenting genders are at risk. According to Florida Republicans, sex is either female or male as determined by “a specific reproductive role” and is defined by “the person’s sex chromosomes, naturally occurring sex hormones, and internal and external genitalia present at birth.”

It doesn’t matter how long ago a person transitioned, how “passing” they are, or whether their ID shows their true gender and legal name—in Florida, they must use the bathroom that corresponds with their “internal and external genitalia present at birth.” And if you’re wondering how anyone could possibly enforce that, it’s just as scary and invasive as you’d imagine.

The way this law is designed so that private citizens are empowered to report who they believe might be trans people to the government is particularly heinous. Once reported, if an accused person doesn’t just flee immediately, they could be subject to invasive procedures like genitalia exams and DNA testing before facing criminal prosecution and possible jail time. Does this look like the freedom y’all wanted over there on the far right?

Meanwhile, although the law won’t take effect for another six weeks or so, Twitter user @KarbonSays posted a video to their account, which they say shows “A lesbian cisgender woman [being] escorted out of the women’s bathroom by police because a Karen called the cops on her think[ing] she was a man.” In the video, the police appear to eject the woman from the public bathroom because she doesn’t have an ID on her. To which we all say, WTF did I just watch? and @Karbon comments, “Bathroom transvestigations are only about enforcing gender conformity. Nothing else.”

An off-screen voice can be heard continually saying, “This is a girl and you’re harassing her,” and “This is a girl, don’t put your hands on a girl.” And while I understand being incensed at the injustice of being in the “right” bathroom and still being treated as a criminal, the person’s actual gender identity seems less important than the fact that someone who seems to have been innocently using a bathroom got reported because of perceived gender by a random person and was ejected by the police. It does unequivocally show, though, that these attacks on trans people absolutely affect cis people as well.

As @KarbonSays later in their thread, We’re not gonna “Papers please” the bathrooms in 2023 thank you very much.” Only sadly, it looks like we are. 

(via, featured image: IrKiev/Getty Images)

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