Aug 24, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Florida bathroom law threatens penalizing transgender college faculty

Image of the Florida Historic Capitol with the U.S. flag flying above the state flag. A tree is in the foreground.

The Florida Historic Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Faculty and staff at public colleges in Florida could be fired for using the bathroom.

Why it matters: In a blow for transgender rights, the state's education board passed a rule on Wednesday that mandates people at these institutions to use the bathroom corresponding to their assigned sex at birth or a unisex bathroom.

  • The rule also applies to changing facilities and university student housing.
  • Student handbooks, disciplinary procedures and codes of conduct have to be updated with the new rules, although it is unclear how students might be reprimanded.

Threat level: Faculty and staff could be fired after two documented offenses, per the Florida Department of Education.

  • "Disciplinary actions may utilize a progressive discipline process that includes verbal warnings, written reprimands, suspension without pay, and termination," the department said.

Context: The new rule is intended to comply with a law passed in May that criminalizes the use of bathrooms that don't align with a person's sex at birth.

  • This bill and others targeting transgender people signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis were dubbed a "slate of hate" by activists.
  • DeSantis has taken efforts to prohibit gender-affirming care for transgender youth in Florida.

Go deeper: The forces behind anti-trans bills across the U.S.

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