Florida Rep. Frank Artiles, the Miami Republican, has introduced a bill that would forbid local governments to pass ordinances extending special protections to transgender individuals using public or company bathrooms of the opposite sex. Miami-Dade County passed just such an ordinance in December.
The Artiles bill criminalizes such acts, and would open the way for transgender individuals or the facilities that allow them to use opposite-sex bathrooms to be sued. The bill cleared its first of three hurdles in the House Wednesday when the Civil Justice Subcommittee approved it in a party-line vote, 9-4. (See the full story here.) Cindy Robert Sullivan, a transgender man transitioning to a woman, was one of the three dozen people who addressed the committee Wednesday during the emotionally charged 40 minutes of discussion over the bill. Sullivan’s full testimony appears below, with audio.
By Cindy Sullivan
I represent Rep. Artiles’s greatest fear. I am Robert Sullivan. I am a transgendered individual. I have not completed my transition. Transition is a long-running process.
I have a child who’s 18 who’s studying neuroscience at the University of Florida. I volunteer with Ready for Life with foster children who age out of the caregiving program when they have no safety net. I work in the IT industry. I’m a business owner. I’m a Republican.
I see this bill as affecting not just my business, my partner’s business. If I go to use the restroom, everybody in that rest room has the ability to sue me, my family, affect my child, affect my reputation. Everything could be taken away from me. I live in the town of Celebration. I’ve worked damn hard to be in this town. But people believe I’m not a protected class.
You know, my father was in the military, I’ve worked with defense contractors, with Lockheed-Northrop-Grumman to help defend this country and its freedoms. But you all still don’t get it. I’m so scared of all of you, that you could put me in jail for being me.
This bill is government intrusion at its worst. At the company I currently work for, I’m Cindy Sullivan, they respect me, they let me use the restroom, the women’s restroom, and only the women’s restroom. This bill would require them to ID me at the door and to have me go to a different location, breaking my workplace harmony, my job security.
I’ve dealt with bullies in high school. They’re bigger, they’re stronger, they’re meaner, and this is what I’m still suffering. I had primary custody of my child but I had to keep it quiet for who I was, because heaven forbid I’d be gay, because gay parents don’t make good, primary custodial parents. I’ve read the Bible. I was a youth leader in the Presbytarian church. But I transitioned, I can’t be anymore. So I sacrificed faith to be who I am.
Neuroscience has shown, there’s biological studies that show that this is a condition that is normal in the human existence. MRIs, scanning of brains have noticed certain sections of the brain match that of the female anatomy. Transmen, who are women who want to become men, are they not—you guys make a flippant attitude about a woman in the restroom, is that OK? Imagine me being in the woman’s restroom, sir. Imagine that harassment I would suffer. You don’t think I have ever been stalked? Objectified? Sexualized? Where’s my safe place to run to for me? Oh, that’s right. I am not a protected class. I am a throw-away piece of trash in this country of freedom and liberty and respect.
Audio: Cindy Sullivan’s Full Testimony[media id=396 width=500 height=400]
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