Florida lawmakers passed a bill that requires individuals to use, and certain public spaces to provide, restrooms that align with their sex assigned at birth. Governor Ron DeSantis adopted House Bill 1521, which establishes restroom requirements for exclusive use based on gender. The bill also prohibits individuals from knowingly entering restrooms designated for the opposite sex.
The bill affects many organizations, including post-secondary educational institutions, that must follow restroom etiquette outlined in the bill. Your massage therapy, esthetics, or cosmetology school may be impacted if it is one of the following:
- A college or university licensed by the Commission for Independent Education
- An institution not under the jurisdiction or purview of the Commission for Independent Education
The Florida legislature states that males and females should be given separate restrooms for their exclusive use, respective to their sex, to maintain public safety, decency, decorum, and privacy. The bill provides definitions to eliminate confusion as to which restroom an individual should enter and under which circumstance.
Female—a person belonging at birth to the biological sex that has the reproductive role of producing eggs.
Male—a person belonging at birth to the biological sex that has the reproductive role of producing sperm.
Restroom—a room that includes one or more toilets or urinals; this term does not include a unisex restroom.
Unisex restroom—a room that includes one or more toilets or urinals intended for a single occupant or family, enclosed by floor-to-ceiling walls, and is accessed by a door with a secure lock that prevents another individual from entering while the room is in use.
What Responsibilities Does a School Have?
A school that has a toilet or urinal must, at a minimum, have:
- A restroom designated for exclusive use by females and a restroom designated for exclusive use by males, or
- A unisex restroom
Schools must submit documentation to the Board of Governors to prove their compliance with this law within one year after July 1, 2023, or if such an institution was established before July 1, 2023, no later than April 1, 2024. If a school fails to comply with this law, it is subject to be penalized. For any school found knowingly in violation, the attorney general may impose a fine of up to $10,000.
Each post-secondary educational institution must establish disciplinary procedures for any student who knowingly enters a restroom for the opposite sex on the premises of the educational institution and refuses to depart when asked. The disciplinary procedure must be included in the school’s student code of conduct.
Exceptions to the Law
A person may enter a restroom designated for the opposite sex only under the following circumstances:
- To assist or chaperone a child under the age of 12
- To assist or chaperone an elderly person
- To assist or chaperone a person with a disability or a developmental disability
- To render emergency medical assistance
- To complete custodial duties
- If the designated restroom for one sex is out of order or under repair and the designated restroom of the opposite sex is vacant
Effective date: July 1, 2023.