Two anti-LGBTQ+ legislation might be voted on this week, barring six trans athletes from sports and preventing trans minors from accessing medical treatment.
House Bill 68, the “Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act,” and House Bill 8, the “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” progressed in the Ohio Statehouse last week and might be voted on Wednesday in the House of Representatives. Along with House Bill 183, the proposals reframe LGBTQ+ inclusion in Ohio.
Six trans athletes and gender-affirming care prohibited
The “Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act” bans gender-affirming treatments for trans adolescents in the state and requires mental health providers to examine patients for abuse and comorbidities before diagnosing gender dysphoria.
“Let kids grow up,” said Rep. Gary Click (R-Vickery), who reintroduced the bill in February after it failed to pass Ohio’s General Assembly last year. “Children cannot give informed consent for those risky and life-changing decisions.”
The Ohio Children’s Hospital Association earlier termed the law “misguided” and risked harming LGBTQ+ youngsters. Gender-affirming treatment has been shown to improve trans youth’s health by Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other prominent medical providers.
On June 14, representatives added House Bill 6, the “Save Women’s Sports Act.” The measure would exclude trans females from female athletics and overturn the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s 2015-16 trans student-athlete policy.
“They are similar issues, I think it puts the discussion all on the table here at the House on the same time, I think that’s important,” said Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill).
Since the OHSAA’s regulation was introduced eight years ago, 19 trans females—10 in middle school and nine in high school—have played girls’ sports, including six in 2022-23.
The OHSAA claims its policy protects females’ sports and allows trans children to participate. About 400,000 athletes in schools 7-12 play its sanctioned sports each year.
The OHSAA said it will continue to educate people on its transgender policy, which has been effectively enforced for eight years and has not reduced female participation, championships, or scholarship possibilities in Ohio.
Rep. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum) and 30 Republican co-sponsors revived the bill in February after it failed to pass the Ohio General Assembly last year. Powell said 21 states have enacted a similar measure and that it will promote fair competition.
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On June 8, the Primary and Secondary Education Committee amended HB 8 to change “sexually explicit content” to “sexuality content,” defined as “any oral or written instruction, presentation, image or description of sexual concepts or gender ideology.” Opponents of the bill say it is anti-LGBTQ+.
“This is dangerous for education here in Ohio and this is dangerous for educators to be held to this kind of standard,” said Rep. Jessica Miranda (D-Forest Park) at the June 8 meeting. “It is dangerous to our students who are just trying to go to school, be educated, and live.”
Rep. Sarah Fowler Arthur (R-Rock Creek) stated the bill would allow parents to seek exclusion from “sexuality content” education. Parents with unresolved issues after 30 days can request a board of education hearing.
On June 8, Rep. Joe Miller (D-Amherst) asked committee chair Rep. Adam Bird (R-Cincinnati) and Arthur why the language needed to be amended.
“Is this amendment intended to be an anti-gay, anti-trans bill that’s targeting these most vulnerable children?” Miller said. “Because it’s starting to look like the anti-gay bills that are going around the country.”
Bird said the law allows parents to study the material to decide if their child needs alternate courses. The bill’s authors have heard from Ohio parents concerned about “sexuality content” in their children’s schools.
Bird claimed Ohio youngsters are being taught those things without parent awareness.
Ohio and numerous other states are proposing over 500 anti-LGBTQ+ measures, shattering the record for most minority-impacting bills proposed in a year. After 268 bills in 2021 and 315 in 2022, the proposals continue an unparalleled surge of LGBTQ+ legislation.
According to the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), the proposed law seeks to broaden LGBTQ+ targeting beyond opposing same-sex marriage. “This is a war against LGBTQ people in America and their very right and ability to openly exist,” the organization said.
According to MAP, 27 of the 2021 and 29 of the 2022 measures passed. The group claimed the rising proposals show a trend of one state passing an anti-LGBTQ+ measure, followed by copycat bills in other states.
In 2019, no state barred trans adolescents from playing sports with their classmates. “Idaho was the first state to pass such a law in 2020, and nine more followed in 2021,” the research reads. In early 2023, 18 states had banned adolescents from participating gender-identical sports.