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New law regulates gender-aligned bathroom use

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Those who are transgender will be required to use bathrooms and changing rooms that align with their biological gender under a new law that goes into effect on July 1.

Specifically, HB 1521 requires that public restrooms and changing rooms, including locker rooms in schools, public shelters, healthcare facilities, and jails, be designated for use according to biological gender. It also prohibits anyone from “willfully entering a restroom or changing facility designated for the opposite sex and refusing to depart when asked to do so.” Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the measure into law in May.

Before the law was introduced, Florida’s school policy requiring students to use bathrooms according to their biological sex was brought before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on grounds that the policy was unconstitutional. In December, the 11-member panel ruled 7-4 that the policy does not violate federal civil rights law by requiring transgender students to use either gender-neutral bathrooms or those that match their biological sex.

In response to the finding, Karen Jordan, public information officer for the Hernando County School District, previously said that the school district follows federal law forbidding it from discriminating against anyone on the basis of gender identity, transgender status, or sexual orientation.

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More recently, Jordan said that the Hernando County School District will comply with the new Florida law. “The Hernando School District complies with all Florida laws, whether they are long-standing or new this year,” she said.

The Florida law has raised the ire of LGBTQ+ advocates, including the Human Rights Campaign, who called the measure “extreme.”

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