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Partial ban on transgender therapies, operations proposed in Ohio

The House bill was introduced last week. It already faces significant resistance.
Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 7:45 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WXIX) - A new bill making its way through the Ohio House of Representatives would prohibit underage Ohioans from receiving transgender medications or undergoing procedures.

HB 454, or the “Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE)” act, would ban puberty blockers, hormone treatments and gender-change surgery for Ohioans under 18 even with parental consent.

Doctors who provide gender transition procedures to minors could have their licenses revoked.

Educators and school counselors would be banned from keeping students’ feelings about their gender identity confidential.

The bill was introduced on Oct. 19. It was referred to the House Families, Aging and Human Services Committee on Tuesday.

LGBTQ+ advocates say it would have a devastating impact if passed.

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“Gender-affirming medical care is endorsed and supported by, I believe, all of the medical associations I’m aware of,” said Mario Bruno of Equality Ohio. “This attempts to ban that and take control away from the parents and the child.”

The Ohio Federation of Teachers and the Ohio Education Association both oppose the bill. OFT President Melissa Cropper and OEA President Scott DiMauro released a statement that reads:

“HB 454 directs professionals to go against the current standards set by their licensing boards regarding student privacy, and forces counselors and teachers to out transgender and non-binary students against their will.

This is a violation of Title IX protections and will jeopardize the health and safety of at-risk students. More than half of transgender and non-binary youth who participated in a recent survey by the Trevor Project have seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year. The same survey showed that LGBTQ youth who had access to spaces that affirmed their sexual orientation and gender identity reported lower rates of attempting suicide.

We oppose HB 454 because politicians shouldn’t be making decisions that put our students in danger.”

The bill’s sponsors are Rep. Gary Click (R-Fremont) and Rep. Diane Grendell (R-Chesterland). Both declined FOX19 interview requests.

Click sent a statement that reads in part:

“Advances in technology and the ever-increasing medicalization of younger and younger children have not demonstrated consistent progress for positive outcomes in the mental health of youth as they mature into adulthood. An ever-growing number of adults regret that they were sterilized in their youth and permanently sacrificed the natural characteristics of their sex. They feel betrayed by those who rushed them into medicalized procedures that they were not mature enough to comprehend or choose. This has resulted in greater anxiety, depression and increased suicidal ideations.”

Bruno says LGBTQ+ people, especially youths, are already at a higher risk of self-harm and social isolation and that this bill would make it worse.

She also says there’s a good deal of misunderstanding about what constitutes trans-affirming medical care.

“In fact, prior to puberty, it’s entirely socialization,” she said. “There’s not any medical intervention past emotional support and socialization that support’s someone’s gender identity, and that is entirely reversible.”

Click says the bill only ensures children experiencing gender dysphoria received effective, holistic and comprehensive care.

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