Florida State University senior Kaleb Hobson-Garcia addressed the Florida legislature to speak out against HB 1521, which would prevent transgender people from using bathrooms that match their gender identity.
Dressed in a suit and sporting a full beard, Hobson-Garcia challenged lawmakers, asking whether they would like him to use the women's restroom if the bill passed. He argued the bill is "rooted in trans misogyny" and "a hatred of trans women" and non-passing trans people.
According to Hobson-Garcia, the passing of the bill would endanger his safety and potentially lead to hostile confrontations both inside and outside of restrooms.
You can hear what he said in the video below.
"I have just one question for you: To the sponsor of this bill, do you want me in the women’s restroom with you? Because if this bill passes, you’ll be requiring trans men like me to use the women’s restroom or face criminal punishment.”
"This is rooted in trans misogyny, which is a hatred of trans women. It’s rooted in your hatred of non-passing trans people because being faced with trans people makes you uncomfortable."
"You haven’t even stopped to consider the trans people who look like me who have passing privilege, which means I’m perceived as cisgender, most of the time. You haven’t even considered what me following the law would look like.”
He then pointed out what would likely happen should the bill become law, emphasizing how it would endanger his safety and the safety of others in the transgender community:
“It looks like me in the stall next to the females with my low voice and my facial hair. It looks like me with characteristics that terrify people when they’re seen on trans women. It looks like me bringing discomfort and potentially traumatic experiences to women if I follow the law."
“When this bathroom ban passes, it also puts my safety at risk. What happens when husbands see me following their wives into restrooms?” ...
"If you pass this bill today, know that you’re forcing me to use the bathroom with your daughters, wives, mothers, and sisters."
Many praised Hobson-Garcia for speaking out and condemned the Florida legislature for proposing the bill.
Hobson-Garcia also addressed HB 1421, which would prohibit minors from accessing gender-affirming care, such as hormone therapy and surgery. Lawmakers heard public comments on HB 1421 and HB 1521 back to back.
The proposed law includes severe penalties for doctors and healthcare providers, including arrest and suspension of their licenses, for performing or attempting to provide such interventions to minors, as well as "conspiring" to do so.
Hobson-Garcia's testimony emphasizes the obstacles faced by the transgender community and underscores the importance of creating an inclusive and supportive environment that respects individuals' gender identity.