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Floridians Speak Out Against Transgender Restroom Decision

Civil rights advocates are calling on local and state officials to clarify restroom policies for transgender students in Florida. (DodgertonSkillhause/morguefile)
Civil rights advocates are calling on local and state officials to clarify restroom policies for transgender students in Florida. (DodgertonSkillhause/morguefile)
February 24, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Trump administration says it’s handing over responsibility to states to decide how to handle restroom access for transgender students, and Florida activists are wasting no time in sending a message to state and local officials.

Lakey Love is one of the organizers of the Women's March Florida, which will take place on the Capitol steps at noon on Saturday. She said the decision to withdraw federal protections for transgender students goes far beyond bathrooms or locker rooms.

"It will give bullies, and even administrators and teachers, the path to discriminate against transgender students, to ignore inclusivity, and to ignore what amounts to hate crimes,” Love said.

She said her group wants to make it clear to lawmakers, school boards and superintendents that in the wake of the decision, many women will be taking up the fight for equality and protection for transgender students in Florida schools. Similar marches and rallies are planned in cities across the state.

While many in the LGBTQ community have been bracing for big changes under the Trump administration, Love said this particular decision was a major blow, given that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had pledged to protect all students and ensure they had a safe learning environment.

"To start with the children who have no institutional or structural ability to be able to speak for themselves, it's disheartening,” Love said.

Some Tallahassee area school boards have already committed to passing resolutions offering protections to transgender students, and Love said she hopes to see a bill before state lawmakers in the upcoming session.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - FL