Ohio Legislators Propose a Discriminatory Bill

Representatives Tom Brinkman and Paul Zeltwanger, are proposing House Bill 658, which would force teachers to immediately notify parents if they see any signs that child may be transgender. Two Ohio state legislators went even further with their proposition. They want parents to have right to choose whether their child gets access to treatment, including counseling or medical services. The Bill has had a committee hearing but hasn't reached the House floor for a vote.

This bill comes into light months after a Hamilton County court granted custody of a transgender teen to his grandparents, because his parents wanted to prevent the child from getting treatment and therapy. His grandparents, however, supported him and allowed him to get hormone therapy. Tom Brinkman, one of the bill's sponsors, disagrees with this and defended the bill stating that parents have the right to decide what is best for their children.

"If a government agent or entity has knowledge that a child under its care or supervision has exhibited symptoms of gender dysphonia or otherwise demonstrates a desire to be treated in a manner opposite of the child's biological sex, the government agent or entity ... shall immediately notify, in writing, each of the child's parents and the child's guardian or custodian. The notice shall describe the total circumstances with reasonable specificity," the legislation says. Without parent's permission a child would not be able to receive treatment and teachers would not be allowed to share with students any resources on sex and gender or counseling. Opposite from Hamilton County court's decision mentioned above, the bill will also protect parents or guardians who decide not to allow treatment by forbidding that the decision could be used against them in custody cases or abuse and neglect complaints.

According to Patheos, opponents say that if the bill becomes law, the initiative could endanger children’s lives. “In targeting transgender children, the bill authors create ridiculous and unenforceable requirements –– requirements that out transgender students and create a significant threat of bullying and reduced access to social support systems,” LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Ohio said in a statement. “This unnecessary and discriminatory bill does nothing to support youth and families. In fact, it puts the livelihoods of some of our most vulnerable youth –– transgender youth –– further at risk with bullying and discrimination by potentially forcing teachers to out them.” If House Bill 658 were to become law, Ohio would have to “deputize its state employees to be gender cops,” the organization said, calling the provision “dangerous for Ohio families.”

Transgender people, especially children and students, are already widely discriminated against, and the proposed bill could only make it even harder for transgender youth.

Photo Credits: Wikimedia

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