Ohio officials table new anti-trans bill, targeting healthcare providers

NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 21: Morgin Dupont, 25, a trans experience woman, waves the transgender and gender nonconforming flag during a rally for LGBTQI + rights in Washington Square Park on October 21, 2018 in New York. Based on a leaked memo, the New York Times reported this morning that the Trump administration was considering redefining gender as a “biological and immutable condition determined by the genitals at birth,” which activists say subject transgender and gender non-conforming people to discrimination. , harassment and violence. (Photo by Yana Paskova / Getty Images)

THROUGH: NICK EVANS and Ohio Capital Newspaper

Ohio House lawmakers are fighting the state’s trans youth. But this time, instead of focusing on school sports, the proposal would ban offering minors any kind of gender-affirming treatment – from hormones to surgery. The measure, HB 454, imposes liability on healthcare providers by defining such treatment as “unprofessional conduct” for state licensing boards and by making “actual or threatened violations” of Bill’s grounds of pursuit.

Erin Upchurch, executive director of the Kaleidoscope Youth Center in Columbus, calls the bill dehumanizing.

“I feel frustrated and angry and extremely disappointed that the people who were elected to protect all Ohioans are using their platform and their power to attack a really specific part of our communities,” she said. “This is a blatant and utterly excessive abuse of power. “

The sponsors of the bill, Rep.Gary Click, R-Vickery, and Diane Grendell, R-Chesterland, begin by listing a series of legislative findings – a long list of questionable claims intended to cast doubt on trans identities and the safety of medical procedures.

“The risks of gender transition procedures far outweigh any benefit at this stage of the clinical study over these procedures,” says the legislation.

Upchurch disputes this, noting that national organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics support gender-affirming care.

In a 2018 policy statement on the issue, the organization’s first-ever recommendation argues that transgender youth should have access to “comprehensive, gender-respectful and developmentally appropriate health care provided in a safe and clinical space. inclusive ”.

In addition to punishing caregivers, HB 454 threatens school workers, including teachers, nurses and counselors. The bill says they cannot “withhold” information about a student who questions their gender identity from that child’s parent or guardian. But Upchurch, who is a licensed social worker, explained that the ethical standard is to maintain confidentiality unless a minor harms himself or others.

“Do you withhold or protect the confidentiality of the young person? Upchurch asked. “So when we look at what’s right and what’s in it, there are many ways that language can be used to serve our programs. “

The bill’s sponsors did not respond to a request for comment, but Senator Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, was quick to condemn the move.

“I am incredibly frustrated that some members of the General Assembly continue to challenge the right to exist of our most vulnerable children for a little political phrase,” she wrote in a statement.

Antonio argued that lawmakers have no role in individual children’s health care decisions.

“These decisions must be made in concert with medical experts and doctors,” said Antonio. “Frankly, it is time for the legislature to stop these unnecessary and heinous attacks on transgender youth once and for all. “

Earlier this year, lawmakers proposed a law known as the “Save Women’s Sports Act”. The bill would limit a student’s participation in sports to the team corresponding to the sex assigned to him or her at birth. Although the proposal got a few hearings, it was never passed by a committee.

In June, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum) attempted to force the issue by adding language to an independent Senate bill dealing with name, image and politics. resemblance for college athletes. His decision scuttled the bill, and Governor Mike DeWine instead issued an executive order giving athletes the green light to sign sponsorship agreements.

The last proposal has not yet been sent to a committee.

Nick Evans has spent the past seven years reporting for NPR member stations in Florida and Ohio. He made his debut in Tallahassee, covering issues such as redistribution, same-sex marriage and medical marijuana. Since arriving in Columbus in 2018, he’s covered everything from city council to football. His work on Ohio politics and local policing has been featured repeatedly on NPR.

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