Which bathroom should you use? Florida bill could change gender rules at the toilet

Transgender people in Florida may soon no longer be able to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity.

Florida lawmakers are pushing for a bill that would require people to use a unisex bathroom or the restroom that corresponds to their sex assigned at birth. The same measures would affect changing rooms.

Here’s what else to know about Florida’s “bathroom bill.”

Where bathroom law would apply

Public places: The regulations would apply to schools, shelters, public buildings, healthcare facilities and businesses required to obtain a license with the state.

Inmates: Prisons would also have to place transgender inmates in housing that corresponds to their sex assigned at birth.


List: The bill, though clear about limits, lists several exceptions, including:

If the designated restroom or changing facility is out of order and the opposite one isn’t occupied

If someone is accompanying a child, elderly person or person with a disability

If there’s an emergency medical situation

If it’s necessary for law enforcement or governmental regulatory purposes

If it needs to be cleaned or inspected, as long as it’s not in use

Fines, and jail time?

Personal penalties: Anyone older than 18 who enters a restroom or changing room that doesn’t correspond to their sex assigned at birth and refuses to leave would be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by a $500 fine or 60 days in jail. Students would also face consequences depending on the school’s code of conduct.

Business penalties: Businesses and other establishments that don’t comply with the bill’s requirements could lose their license, face disciplinary action and may even be fined up to $10,000.

What’s next?

Senate: SB 1674 was declared favorable Thursday after a 15-4 vote during a Rules committee hearing. It is still pending review in the Senate’s Fiscal Policy committee.

House: HB 1521 was found to be favorable in a subcommittee this week. It has yet to be heard in a committee.

Effect: If passed, the law will take effect on July 1.