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Ohio Republicans Propose Bill to Out Trans Students to Parents

Tom Brinkman

The bill would also make handing out educational materials about being transgender a fourth-degree felony. 

If a pair of Ohio Republican representatives gets their way, teachers would be required by law to out transgender students to their parents, according to Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC.

Ohio Rep Tom Brinkman introduced House Bill 658 in late May (Rep. Paul Zeltwanger is cosponsor), which would require school administrators, teachers, and counselors to determine what they believe are signs of "gender dysphoria" in students and, by law, report back to parents. Any child whose expressed gender identity doesn't match their biological gender would be reported to their parents in writing.

Furthermore, the bill would make it a fourth-degree felony for any "government entity" to provide "dysphoria treatment" to students. "Educational materials, classes, or programs, and medical, psychological, social, or other professional treatment, therapy, counseling, or other services" are all considered "treatment" under the bill and would be criminalized.

The bill states:

"If a government agent or entity has knowledge that a child under its care or supervision has exhibited symptoms of gender dysphoria or otherwise demonstrates a desire to be treated in a manner opposite of the child's biological sex, the government agent or entity with knowledge of that circumstance 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."

Brinkman introduced the bill after hearing of a Cincinnati case in which a Hamilton County Juvenile Court granted custody of a transgender teen to his grandparents who supported the child's gender identity and allowed the teen to receive hormone therapy. The child's Christian parents, who were not awarded custody, were opposed to the therapy and espoused forcing the teen to sit through hours of "Christian therapy" and Bible study, according to CNN.

"Parents have a fundamental right to decide what is best for their children," Brinkman said, although the father in the Cincinnati case that inspired his bill did damage to the child by refusing to call him by his chosen name, CNN reported.

The 124,000-person-strong teachers' union in the state, the Ohio Education Association, opposes Brinkman and Zeltwanger's bill.

"[HB 658] is contrary to OEA's belief that all persons, regardless of gender orientation, should be afforded equal opportunity and guaranteed a safe and inclusive environment within the public education system," head of the OEA Becky Higgins said, according to WKYC.

A spokesman for Equality Ohio, Grant Stancliff, who said the bill could deny necessary health care to trans kids under 18, also spoke out about the frightening implications the bill could have around traditional gender roles.

"If a girl wants to enroll in shop class, is that something where she's going to get a letter sent home?" Stancliff told WKYC. "If Billy doesn't want to play football, does he get a letter sent home? Not only does it mess with this kind of access to health care, but it creates these weird kind of policing of behaviors."

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