CLEVELAND — A Cleveland newspaper reported that the Ohio state GOP has introduced a bill that would allow parents deny their transgender children the right to transition.
From Cleveland Scene:
Sponsored by Republican House Reps. Tom Brinkman and Paul Zeltwanger, House Bill 658 grants parents sweeping rights to “withhold consent for gender dysphoria treatment or activities that are designed and intended to form a child’s conception of sex and gender.”
HB 658 also prevents schools from affirming a child’s trans identity without the consent of the young person’s parents. Violating that portion of the legislation would result in a 4th-degree felony.
Despite the fact studies have proven that children are aware of their gender identity around the age of 4, this bill authorizes parents to reject their children’s gender identity or expression.
Brinkman told the Scene that the legislation was inspired following a February court ruling by the Ohio First District Court of Appeals in which the grandparents of a 17-year-old transgender boy were awarded custody after his family attempted to force him into conversion therapy.
The bill also requires schools to inform parents if a child wishes to be “treated in a manner opposite” of their “biological sex.”
Equality Ohio, the state’s LGBTQ rights organization, called the bill absurd and unnecessary. “This provision is dangerous for Ohio families. It allows for non-custodial parents (for example, a legally separated parent convicted of domestic violence) to have a say in family decision making.”
“This unnecessary and discriminatory bill does nothing to support youth and families,” the group said on their website. “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.”
“Medical professionals are more qualified than parents to make decisions about a teenager’s healthcare,” Kate Kloss, a transwoman from Cleveland, told the Scene. “I wonder what [the legislators] could accomplish if they cared as much about police brutality as they do about interfering in teen healthcare.”