Gainesville Votes Today: Keep Bathroom Protections for Transgender Residents?


The transgender community in Gainesville, Florida, has been putting up with plenty of bullshit lately. Enjoying city-wide protection for just over a year, voters will today choose whether to keep alive an ordinance that allows the area’s approximately 100 transgender men and women to choose which public bathroom to use based on their gender identity.

Of course, such a frightening scenario couldn’t escape criticism. Which is why something called the Citizens for Good Public Policy put together a scare tactic ad that warned parents of the supposed danger of the law: Anyone could just pick which bathroom they wanted to use, meaning a creepy old guy could follow your little daughter into the stall. The whole thing was a nuisance to the community, but today we’ll see how effective the campaign to rescind the measure is.

So how goes the vote?

If passed, the measure would void existing city ordinances barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It would also prohibit the city from enforcing laws barring the city from adding categories not protected by the Florida Civil Rights Act, which recognizes race, color, creed, religion, gender, national origin, age, handicap, martial and familial status.

Campaign officials on both sides of the issue plan to continue their sign waving, advertising and canvassing until the polls close at 7 p.m. EDT.

There 2,116 votes cast in early balloting. That’s about four times the average of 500 early voters in a city election, said Pam Carpenter, the Alachua County supervisor of elections.

She estimates that up to 30 percent of the city’s 75,219 registered voters will cast their ballots. [Miami Herald]