Pasco County students will soon be required to use school bathrooms and locker rooms based on their sex at birth. County Superintendent Kurt Browning announced the new policy, citing a court ruling from last month in St. Johns County. In that case, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals backed a district policy that stopped a trans male high school student from using the boys’ bathrooms. Pasco students who don’t want to use the bathroom aligned with their sex at birth will be able to ask for accommodations to use a single-stall private restroom. LGBTQ+ advocates worry the rule will be harmful to transgender and non-binary students’ safety, health, and well-being, and question how it will be enforced. At Tuesday’s school board meeting, LGBTQ+ advocates, who were dressed in purple, pleaded with the board not to change its bathroom policy.
Equality Florida spokesperson Brandon Wolf said, “That ruling doesn’t compel any district to abandon any policies for transgender students. The only thing that the court case did is say that districts have the discretion to provide the kind of spaces for students they deem fit. The decision by the superintendent in Pasco is a discretionary decision to not provide access to facilities in schools that are affirming transgender and nonbinary students.”