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]
iPhone and Android users, click hear to hear the full testimony.
Nalla C. says
Dear God, what a completely ignorant and ugly bill to propose. It’s as if Florida Republicans think that the transgendered are going to “the wrong bathroom”, so they can lay in wait for someone to “corrupt”. I hate to tell them this, but the transgendered–like everyone else–have to eliminate feces and urine from their human bodies at regular intervals, just like anyone else.
The GOP wants to ID someone so they can have the right to use clean plumbing? REALLY? There’s no more pressing business in Tallahassee right now? WTF is WRONG with these people?
I am very sorry for Cindy Sullivan.
Doesn’t Miami’s GOP Rep. Artiles have anything better to do than this bill, to attack his fellow Americans?
Why doesn’t he get his butt down to work in something like promote small businesses sucess to create much needed jobs for example?
Susan B says
Keep the FREAKS away from the children !!!!!!
Pierre Tristam says
Susan B, assuming you don’t have a predatory criminal record, keeping you away from children would be discriminatory, would it not? Or is this a cry for help?
I'll just hold it says
Can’t the state just make another room onto public bathrooms. So now the signs would read:
Reminds me of pre Civil Rights act days; people of color forced to use separate restrooms, so whites wouldn’t catch what they had. People with this much ignorance, fear, hate and unfortunately , power are frightening.
Failure to lead with compassion is a complete failure.
Everything’s so over burdened! All sides can put themselves in each others shoes. Three Bathrooms then, why go to criminalizing? But I have mixed feelings with the comparison to pre Civil Rights Act. Blacks weren’t medically altered to be who we are and we’re happy with the skin we’re in.
Point taken, w. Ryan. And what beautiful skin it is! :)