Alex Wilson is working to become a licensed practical nurse, but she could be kicked out of school if she goes to the bathroom in the same building as her classrooms. Pinellas Technical Education Center in Clearwater, Florida told Wilson that because she is transgender, she must travel across campus to use a single-person restroom in the closet of an administrative building. According to Wilson, if she doesn’t comply, the school will press charges against her, which would end her career as a nursing student:
Up until yesterday Alex was using the women’s restroom on the PTEC campus. But that all came to an end after a fellow student complained, and went to administration. Wilson says she was pulled out of class and told her alternatives. “If I continue to use the female restroom that I would have charges pressed against me. And that because of that I would be removed from the program as a nurse,” said Wilson.
Instead of using the restroom near her classroom Wilson says she now has to use one in the administration building. “It’s a small restroom in, what looks like a storage part of the administration building. There’s some cabinets, cleaning supplies,” she said. [...]
The Pinellas schools spokeswoman says administrators plan to look into this case to understand what happened. “In a scenario such as the one you’re describing , a person will be offered access to a private restroom. And that’s for the individual’s privacy and for the privacy of other students,” said Melanie Marquez Parra.
It would actually be commendable if the school had simply “offered” a gender-neutral restroom, as there are some trans and gender nonconforming people who feel safest when they can access a private single-use facility. But Wilson’s story suggests the school issued an ultimatum, not an offer. It’s unclear how another student’s privacy is impacted by which bathroom she uses, but it is quite clear that forcing her to travel to another building simply to go to the bathroom is discrimination.
Currently, there is no statewide law in Florida protecting trans people from discrimination when it comes to public accommodations like restrooms.