Florida Bill Would Make Using Opposite-Sex Bathroom a Crime

Business owners who don't gender police their restrooms could be sued.



Ever used a public bathroom intended for the opposite sex? Like many women, I've certainly resorted to this when the ladies' line was too long. In Florida, that could get us jailed for a year or faced with a $1,000 fine if one overreaching lawmaker gets his way. 

On Wednesday, state Rep. Frank Artiles (R-Miami) introduced a bill that would make using public bathrooms designated for the opposite sex a misdemeanor crime, punishable by up to one year in jail or a fine of $1,000. It would also allow someone using a single-sex restroom to sue an opposite-sex interloper and the place of business for any such breach. "The purpose of this act is to secure privacy and safety for all individuals using single-sex public facilities," the bill states.

Rep. Artiles' worry is that public bathrooms present a perfect place for "crimes against individuals using those facilities, including, but not limited to, assault, battery, molestation, rape, voyeurism, and exhibitionism." I've watched enough horror movies and Law & Order to know that this may be true, but that's also taught me that psycho-killers and rapists aren't particularly bothered by trespassing. When you're not phased by killing and raping being against the law, you probably aren't too phased by entering a prohibited bathroom, either. Besides, with public bathrooms having been around a while in Florida, their potential for attracting criminal behavior mustn't be especially new. Why now? What's changed? 

As you might have guessed, there hasn't been a sudden spike in bathroom crime in the sunshine state. And this bill isn't really aimed at someone sneaking a pee in the men's room when the women's room is occupied—though that, too, would be criminalized. The reason for this bill, at this point in time, seems to be the fear that trans women might be using women's bathrooms and trans men might be using men's bathrooms.

Rep. Artiles previously campaigned against a Miami-Dade County proposal to add "gender identity" and "gender expression" to the list of categories protected by anti-discrimination statutes. His objection was not principled opposition to these sort of laws in general, however—he just wanted the statute rewritten to exempt bathrooms, locker rooms, and dressing rooms. 

His current bathroom micro-management bill specifically states (emphasis mine) that sex "means a person's biological sex, either male or female, at birth." (I guess Artiles has never heard of the approximately 1 in 2,000 people born intersex.) It goes on to reiterate that "the term 'male' means a person born as a biological male and the term 'female' means a person born as a biological female." No matter if a person dresses as a woman, lives as a woman, and is known to everyone around them as a woman—if they were born with a Y-chromosome, Artiles thinks they should be jailed for using a woman's bathroom. The bill's language ensures that not even trans individuals who had genital-reassignment surgery or took other steps to physically transition to another gender would be exempt.

Of course, most of us don't go around scrutinizing our fellow same-sex bathroom-goers to make sure they seem sufficiently feminine or masculine. If a trans person "passes" well enough for the gender they identify as, no one will be the wiser. And even if they don't, most people are unlikely to a) care, or b) care enough to confront a stranger about whether they're "really" a woman or a man. But some people would. If a business owner or fellow customer who disapproves of or fears trans people would recognize someone as trans and see them going into the "wrong" bathroom, this law would give them a tool to have that individual arrested. In the case of business owners, it would even provide an incentive to have trans people arrested, since customers could sue establishments for another customer's "unlawful entry."

And just as many trans people present perfectly as the gender they identify with, a lot of biological males and females may be a bit gender ambiguous, by choice or happenstance. Can you imagine the harassment any number of people might face if we suddenly asked all of our bartenders to gender police the bathrooms? 

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  1. I’m confused. You’re using sex and gender interchangeably. I thought sex was merely plumbing, while gender is whatever you feel like at any particular moment.

    1. I don’t think I did, I was careful not to. Where?

      1. Gender policing opposite-sex bathrooms?

        The whole thing makes my head hurt.

        1. Just remember that that’s the only thing the issue will ever make hurt…

    2. whatever you feel like at any particular moment

      Way to completely trivialize the problems faced by transgendered individuals, asshole.

      1. hey now, asshole is a masculine descriptor.

        1. Why is that? Women can’t be assholes? Bot sexes have assholes, why can’t both sexes be assholes?

        2. Is it? I know “dick” “prick” “pecker” and a few others that are. But I thought “asshole” was not gender-specific. If I said “Lindy West is a dick”, it wouldn’t make sense.

          But try this: Amanda Marcotte is an asshole.

          See? Perfectly used as a deliberately feminine descriptor.

          1. yeah, but it sounds off, doesn’t it? hole is a masculine noun is languages that care about those things.

            Also, isn’t bitch the female equivalent of an asshole?

            Now I’m questioning my assumptions.

            1. If a woman is a bitch then she’s an asshole.

              If a man is a bitch then he’s a whiny complainer who gets nothing done.

              1. yes, but i wouldn’t use asshole here, i would use bitch.

                it’s subtle I guess, but it just rings false to me.

                1. You could call her a cunt, I suppose. Or would that be Wrong?

                  1. …call him a cunt…

                    1. …call him a cunt…

                      +1 Chef Ramsay

                    2. cunt is unisex.

          2. If you think of dick, prick and pecker as someone who is always pushing themselves into situations where they’re not welcome, then it could apply to either sex. Er, gender. Fuck. My head hurts.

      2. Way to completely trivialize the problems faced by transgendered individuals, asshole.

        And yet, isn’t sarcasmic’s statement pretty much a summation of Butler’s theories of gender performativity?

      3. Tonio,

        You’ve got nothing on Social Justice Sally:

      4. Wait, I thought gender was chromosomal and sex was chosen.

        I’m confused. Do trans people change gender by changing plumbing while their sex remains the same due to their genetic (chromosomal) makeup? Or do they change gender emotionally regardless of their plumbing of genetic makeup? Or do they have sex reassignment, making their sex different but they can still call their gender whatever they want at any time?

        See, it’s rather confusing.

        1. I guess I think: who cares? Let people identify their sex or gender themselves and be respectful of it if it doesn’t violate anyone’s rights.

          1. If by “be respectful” you mean “soundly mock,” then I’m right on board with ya brother!

            1. That’s because you’re a jerk sarc.

              1. *shrugs*

                1. what does “jerk” even mean? why is it a bad thing? I remember liking the movie…

                  1. Pizza in a Cup.

                  2. Inconsiderate, callous, self-centered… all things I consider to be compliments.

                    1. exactly- and why “jerk”. that word has other meanings that don’t fit with this one.

                    2. You would, but then again you’re a jerk.

                  3. You know how we say a movie grows on you? That movie shrinks on me…

                    1. You know what else shrinks on Bo?

                    2. Aaaaaaaand Bo further cements his reputation on here by sullying the greatness of Navin Johnson.

                  4. Didn’t “jerk” derive from soda jerks back in the day? It gradually transformed into what it is today.

                    1. Jerk goes back to Middle English yerk, to make a sudden motion. So the insult probably started out as a way to call someone a spaz.

                    2. The hooded lad yerked phi hand toward his belt and thus feared me for my very life, sire. Therefore my fellow constables of the kings guard and I had no choice but to loose a flurry of arrows at him.

                    3. -Medieval policeman

                      Fuck it. It’s horrible but I spent a lot of time on the post so I’m not going to delete it.

                    4. I thought jerk was always a way to call someone a masturbator.

          2. I’m plenty respectful in that I couldn’t care less either way. But the rules change almost daily by groups in what they want to be identified as, so I just want to keep up.

            20 years ago people sought out “sex changes”. Say that now and you might as well call someone with Down Syndrome a retard. You’ll get the same disgusted looks in response from the SJW’s.

            1. That’s the SJWs problem then. I just see it as basic manners and the Golden Rule, combined with a big ‘no skin off my back’ conclusion.

              1. I view the matter similarly, Bo.

              2. I’ve got no,problem identifying people as they desire. Just picks descriptor and stick with it, for fucks sake.

                1. Fair enough there.

    3. No, she isn’t. Bathrooms are designed for a particular sex. As you note about the plumbing, certain biological plumbing needs certain porcelain plumbing. That is, if you have a penis, a urinal is much more convenient for micturition than a toilet.

      Now, personally, if I’m taking a piss and the fellow penis-holder in the next stall is wearing a dress, it wouldn’t bother me much. On the other hand, I might feel uncomfortable with a trucker-hat vagina-owner peeing in the stall next to mine as in our modern rape culture times one merely needs to sneeze in the wrong direction before having one’s life ruined by a false rape accusation.

      1. but everyone CAN sit when they pee. So, really, men can use all women’s restrooms with ease. what’s the problem.

        1. So I don’t have the option to stand at a toilet?

          1. depends on how drunk you are.

          2. You can always stand at the sink.

        2. Unless it’s erect. Then you’ve got a fountain. I guess that’s what sinks are for.

          1. Either that or stand further back and hope you can get the right arc on it.

            1. As a child I used to do that after Mother complained about my banking it off the underside of the lid.

          2. Personally, the superman is my go to move in that situation.


            1. I’m not clicking that, but I assume it means planking on the toilet?

              1. i’m not doing anything that get’s my dick deeply planted into toilet water.

              2. If you’re a man of steel in the morning, you might as well be a superhero. Tie on the bedsheet for a cape, mount the bowl in a single bound, and make like you’re flying. Hopefully the pressure relief will be like Kryptonite for your boner.

                Personally I forego the bedsheet and use the fluffy lid cover my wife insists on using. Not only do I feel a bit more sporty, but it keeps the lid from bouncing back down on my back.

                By the way, there is a different position called “The Plank”:

                Another one for guys who point straight out or slightly down. Stand a foot or two away from the toilet and lean forward, supporting your weight by putting your hands on the wall above the toilet. Take aim and hold your body rigid. This position also strengthens your abs and core muscles.

                1. My strategy is to spend a few minutes thinking of squirrels and mayonnaise. For some reason picturing a bunch of squirrels playing around in mayonnaise is the perfect boner killer for me.

          3. I have a balcony off my bedroom, so I can just step outside and let loose in whatever direction if I’m really in a pinch.

        3. what’s the problem.

          Again, see the “rape culture” argument.

          1. We’ve seen it and had a laugh. Now what?

        4. Everyone can piss standing up too.


          You cis shitlords just have no appreciation for the can do attitude of a motivated woman.

      2. if you have a penis, a urinal is much more convenient for micturition than a toilet.

        I seem to manage alright without a urinal installed in my home. Lifting up that toilet lid is such a chore.

        I lived in a dorm with coed bathroom for a few years in college. And sitting next to a girl taking a dump in the next stall doesn’t exactly make you feel especially frisky (unless you are into that sort of thing, I guess).

        Perhaps the world has become that much more stupid in the 15 or so years since then, but we somehow managed not to rape each other or even really complain about anything. Except people using the urinals. Which people usually cooperated with when they weren’t drunk.

    4. The problem I have is that left-wing claims about transgenderism are completely contrary to left-wing claims about gender in a feminist context.

      On the one hand, any claim that the sexes differ in any way is anti-feminist and evil, but at the same time people can be born with the wrong body and wish to transition.

      If it’s possible to be born in the ‘wrong body’ for your preferred gender, then that implies that there are inborn gender differences and that it’s possible for you to be born with the wrong one.

      I don’t give a shit and transgendered people can do what they want as far as I’m concerned, but it does seem like there’s a bit of a conflict between these arguments.

      1. Seems simple to me, there are inborn gender differences but they’re not and shouldn’t be treated as absolute limitations on how people want to live.

        1. But that’s not what they argue. They argue that there are no natural differences between men and women.

          If that’s true, then how can a man ‘feel like’ he should be a woman? The only way for that to make sense is if there are innate differences and it’s possible to be born with the needs and desires of the opposite sex.

          You can’t be born as the opposite gender unless there are gender differences. If there are gender differences, every feminist claim about inequality no longer makes sense since everything can easily be explained away be differences between the genders.

          Again, you can do what you want with your life and men who feel like they should be living as women shouldn’t be discriminated against. I just wish they’d think through their own positions a little more thoroughly.

          1. Who argues there are no natural differences vs the idea that those differences shouldn’t be used to limit people’s choices?

            1. I mean, I don’t spend much time reading feminist thinkers, but we had to read Catherine Makinnon and some Andrea Dworkin and for all the silly things I recall them saying I don’t remember saying that nonsense.

              1. Those two are feminists. But I’m pretty sure the “thinker” part is inaccurate.

                1. No one said they thought well.

          2. You’re almost there, but the real conflict is not at the biological sex, but rather the competing idea about gender.

            To feminists, gender is a social construct, not only malleable and performative, but also something imposed by cultural.

            The trans community argues that gender is inborn and innate, so deeply seated in fact, that biological sex is nothing compared to it, that flesh should be reconstructed to match the mental gender.

            I’ve seen very few attempts to reconcile these two ideas.

            1. I’ve seen very few attempts to reconcile these two ideas.

              For the record, this drives me crazy too

              1. Why would two grievance groups not being able to,reconcile their premises bother you?

                I can see them bothering SugarFree because he’s a rabble rousing shitlord of epic proportions. But not you, ENB.

          3. “how can a man ‘feel like’ he should be a woman?”

            There’s no way to spin it to make sense. Every feeling is subjective and impossible to prove to outsiders. Although there does seems to be a bit more effort to make transgender feelings like some kind of biological need, which I consider bullshit.

            1. Also, even if they accept that there are gender differences, does that mean that a given feeling that a transgender man experiences is the same feeling as what a woman experiences? I’m a woman and I don’t even know which, if any, of my feelings are “women feelings”. It reminds me of Dave Chappelle’s bit about the cook in the restaurant who points at him and yells that he’s going to have the chicken. “…and I thought I liked chicken because it was delicious. It turns out all this time I was predisposed to liking chicken”

            2. What if you were, you silly seagull?
              How would you explain it to your she-gull?

          4. Or at least they argue that none of the differences are important. But if they’re not important, why is it important that we accede to the wishes of a person that they be treated as if they were of the opposite sex?

      2. You mean the left engages in doublethink?

        I’m shocked!

      3. That’s were the TERFs come in, claiming that MtFs are trying to invade women’s spaces and FtMs are poisoned into hating their feminine selves by the patriarchy.

      4. Often times feminists and transgender people do not get along. Especially when it comes to TERFs.

        Even when they do get along, they don’t always agree with each other and their gender identity doesn’t determine whether they are left-wing or right-wing. Personally, I’ve met several libertarian transgender people.

  2. This would all be solved by making all bathrooms unisex.

    1. We’ll need cameras too.

      1. You’d make a great School Resource Officer, CPA.

    2. Or by converting large, shared bathrooms to multiple single-occupancy units. Many facilities have special restrooms for handicapped and families (ie, parents with young children).

    3. Nothing counter-culture is ever solved. Sometimes we cannot imagine what is next, but there is always something next.

      see make us a cake for more details.

    4. That’s what I’d do. But some people don’t seem to like the idea. I don’t really understand why, myself.

      Standing next to a dude at the urinal who is checking out your ding-dong has to be far more disturbing (of course, unless you are into that sort of thing) than sitting in a stall next to someone of another sex.

  3. Now, I’m not going to suggest that Frank Artiles cruises bathrooms and is worried about hitting on some dude and it turns out to be a chick, because that would be wrong.

    1. Yes, that would be very, very wrong.

    2. +1 “wide stance”

    3. It would also be wrong to comment on the bills he has introduced regarding petting zoos.

  4. It’s Florida. The amount of crap that could land you prison in that state is astounding. I won’t be surprised if this gets passed and drunk 20-somethings get thrown in the slammer for using the wrong bathroom at the beach.

    1. You don’t have to be drunk to get confused by the cute signs & symbols places are using instead of “men’s” & “ladies'”. What drives the proprietors to such craziness?

      1. Reminds me of the cowboy bar that was driven out of business because they made the mistake of labeling them “heifers” and “steers” instead of “heifers” and “bulls.”

  5. I was at Versailles in Miami last month and some dude tried to go in the ladies room because the men’s room was locked. I thought he was going to get stomped out for it until he backed down. Seems to me society is pretty good at policing itself.

    (There was another men’s room he was just too stupid to find it.)

    1. Conversely, I’ve seen plenty of drunk women stumble out of the eternal women’s restroom line and blabber somewhat coherently about “really having to go” as they trod into the men’s room. Not much stomping, but definitely a lot of arriving at “2 drunk 2 fuck” conclusions.

      1. Women started using the men’s restroom at work because there are three sit down toilets for ladies and 3 sit + 3 urinals for men and slightly more women working in the building.

        I would have no problem with this if the women didn’t a) lock the whole men’s room when they’re using the sit down toilet, b) walk in and FREAK OUT that there is a man peeing in the men’s room.

        It’s not that big a deal.

        1. It’s the whole “eek, a penis!!!” phenomena.

          1. It’s looking right at me!

          2. Penises are evil!

            At least heterosexual ones.

          3. I wonder if it’s because we hate being reminded that penises are urination devices; given the context we usually encounter them in?

        2. Right I don’t care if women come in the men’s room and use the stall just don’t be a bitch about it.

          1. My floor in college had single-sex rooms but was a mixed-sex floor. The men’s room was cleaner but smaller and the women’s room had better lighting and bigger stalls. Everyone just used the bathroom with the amenities they preferred and nobody ever had a problem. The RA tried to put the kibosh on it because of school policy and the residents told him to fuck off.

            In hindsight I suppose it’s odd that there are pictures of me getting my head shaved in a pink-tiled bathroom with a bunch of women standing around yelling “Damn it Charles, you missed a spot behind his ear!”

            1. It wasn’t entirely my fault Jesse, you kept moving your head and the tall brunette was whispering naughty things in my ear.

      2. +1 Jello Biafra.

  6. This is just Frank Artiles’s thinly veiled attempt to strike out at those icky queers.

  7. Could it also be that they want to pass this to cut down on people using their camera phones and creepshotting women who are taking a piss?

    If so, we already have trespassing laws on the books. A simple sign ought to do the trick.

    1. If so, you’d think the bill would mention photography.

      1. True, I suppose. But it wouldn’t be the first law drafted whose intent and language didn’t perfectly match up.

  8. A completely transparent move to make it illegal to be transgendered.

    1. Yeah, this is just thinly veiled bigotry.

    2. Forest for the trees. A completely statist solution to a problem any and all markets can handle themselves as they see fit.

  9. Yeah, most of the people who get screwed over for this wouldn’t be trans people, they’d be drunk college girls who use the men’s bathroom at a bar because the line for the women’s room is too long.

    Any bill which outlaws the mating rituals of the college drunk in her natural habitat is evil beyond measure.

    1. In theory, yes. I think that most drunk straight chicks would get let off with a warning, and get hit on by the po-po.

      1. or asked to visit the stall again… for evidence… i mean, a private place to give testimony… i mean… he turned his camera off, right?

    2. Yeah, I seriously doubt that either the intent or the outcome will be any women getting punished for this.

    3. D’oh. That’s what I get for not reading the entire thread.

  10. So the trans men should use the women’s bathroom? Should women assume that all people using their bathroom who look like men are really trans men? If I claim to be a trans man with organ reassignment, will I be able to check out women in their bathroom? This law is the best!

    1. Um, transMEN are F2M. Remember, its “trans” plus the gender TO which they’re transitioning.

      1. That’s what I mean. Trans men have XX chromosomes, but are men. So they’d use the women’s bathroom, according to this politician.

        I’m just pretending this law would have the exact opposite effect of what he claims it would have (deter perverts), which of course, doesn’t apply since his real motive is to make it impossible for transgendered people to exist in public.

    2. Regardless of what bathroom they “should” use, making the “wrong” choice should not land them in jail.

      1. Of course. And even if it should land them in jail, it’s unreasonable to enforce, and just as great a violation into privacy as a guy peering over a stall.

    3. This law is the best!

      I can’t wait until this law meets up with DOJ edict from Ron Bailey’s article.

      You walk into your employer’s public women’s room claiming to be a transwoman and/or policing the restrooms for gender offenders and they can neither prevent you from doing it nor fire you. You, however, can then turn around and sue their ass for not policing the public restrooms appropriately.

      I expect double-secret bathroom police, by law, within the decade.

  11. I used to go to this bar in Boulder called the Dark Horse where the men’s room said Women with an arrow pointing to the door to the women’s room, and the women’s room said Men with an arrow pointing to the other door.

    There was a balcony overlooking the doors where I would often look down for a few laughs.

    1. That’s the most blatant example of what I complained about upthread. A case like that makes perfectly clear it’s about proprietors having a laugh at their customers. Why don’t they just mix up their orders & water their drinks?

  12. The good news is that apparently all of Florida’s other problems have been solved. Why else would they waste time on this shit?

  13. Chuck Berry has a sad

    1. Turtle Creek sort of sad….

  14. Does this mean I can stand by the women’s bathroom and demand they show me their vaginas?

    1. I don’t think that’s actually a crime, and even if it is, it shouldn’t be (unless “demand” implies some use of force or threats).

  15. It’s too damn confusing #modernlife

  16. Elizabeth, you left out the best part…

    The businesses can be sued under the law if they don’t police the bathrooms because they are a public accommodation.

    The gay wedding cake controversy strikes again.

    1. Wow, the derp goes even deeper. Amazing.

    2. Yep. It’s another Bar Association Welfare Bill.

    3. Agreed. IMO, Reason at large has dropped the ball and is *consistently* kicking it around the court.

      (Any implications of ENB’s ball-handling skills is unintentional).

      1. I imagine that Elizabeth was more of a mind to dodge another tedious gay marriage thread.

  17. Is there any reason that this stupid law or the one in California are necessary? I was not hearing a whole lot of complaints about the plight of bathroom status before; what is the point of this?

    1. Individual people have obsessions about topics no one else gives a shit about and because no one else cares they can enforce their preferences without resistance.

      1. Which is what Milton Friedman was talking about when he contrasted ‘concentrated’ vs ‘diffuse’ interest and why regulations always favor the powerful over the weak.

  18. Well, I can see why an asshole like Rep. Frank Artiles would be concerned about bathrooms.

  19. Okay… So at a lesbian bar that has both a men’s, and women’s bathroom. If a woman uses the men’s bathroom she is going to jail.

    This makes so much sense…

    1. I think I’ve seen that movie!

    2. Ha ha ha! There is a gay bar in my neighborhood that doesn’t even have a “women’s restroom”. It just has two men’s rooms and female patrons pick which restroom they want to use.

  20. Alt text: Women and Robots only.

    Even if it’s a sex robot?

    1. Especially sex robots. What other kind of robot needs to go into a bar restroom?

      1. Janitor bots, catheter bots, assassin bots?

        1. I would wager that I could have sex with with catheter assassin bot.

          1. Kinky!

          2. You’re into sounding?

  21. This is biological. Humans have evolved to fight other groups of humans. We have the misfortune of living in peaceful modern times, rather than the prehistorical state of constant low-level tribal warfare that our brains evolved for. Perhaps this kind of cringe-inducing fight is the inevitable result of peace. I mean, if the choice is between the two, stupid hillbilly legislators trying to kick queers out of restaurant bathrooms is preferable to mass tribal war, don’t get me wrong. It’s just…I dunno. Undignified.

    1. I mean, if the choice is between the two, stupid hillbilly legislators trying to kick queers out of restaurant bathrooms is preferable to mass tribal war, don’t get me wrong. It’s just…I dunno. Undignified.

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; pistols at dawn.

      Then at least the cringe-inducing fight has an air of ceremony and gravitas and, in the end, we end up with either one, possibly two, less statist hillbillys or a bunch of statist hillbillys who are to afraid to do anything for fear of being shot.

  22. I must have missed the post taking Miami-Dade County to task for trying to micromanage people’s associations by trying to add new groups to the list of protected classes,

  23. This bill would could be read to ban businesses with men’s rooms and ladies’ rooms from having “trans-friendly” bathroom policies. Of course, the phrasing isn’t 100% clear. So they need to make the language plainer.

    Now, a bill to say that businesses with men’s and women’s restrooms need to add a warning if they’re letting men into the ladies’ room and vice-versa, that would be a nice anti-fraud measure, keeping people free from unfairly being surprised when (say) a business lets someone with dangly bits into the ladies’ loo.

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  25. The solution is single-person, non-designated, bathrooms.

  26. So who are they going to get to check folk’s privates?

    Oh, right. TSA.

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