Private Institutions in Florida Must Comply With Expanded Anti-Trans Law

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Private colleges and universities in Florida must now adhere to a recently expanded law mandating that students, faculty, and staff members utilize restrooms and changing facilities that correspond with their sex assigned at birth. The Florida Board of Education approved the extension of the law to encompass private post-secondary institutions on Wednesday.

The law, known as the Safety in Private Spaces Act, has been in effect at state institutions, K-12 schools, correctional institutions, and government buildings since it was signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in July.

The bill requires that buildings include designated restrooms for “exclusive use” by men or women and a separate, single-occupancy unisex bathroom or changing room. Information regarding the rule must be included in student handbooks. All Florida higher education institutions must show proof of compliance by April 1, 2024.

Individuals who willfully enter a restroom or changing facility designed for the “opposite sex” and refuse to depart will be met with disciplinary procedures, according to the law. Institutions, faculty, and staff face repercussions for violating the law, including revoked licenses and certifications.

The expanded bill is one of several in Florida targeting LGBTQ+ rights signed by DeSantis this year. In addition to limiting restroom and changing room access, these laws restrict instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in pre-K through 8th grade, pronoun usage in schools, gender-affirming treatments for minors, and drag shows.