Ohio becomes a front line for transgender rights
COLUMBUS, Ohio. — According to Reuters, Ohio is the next battleground for transgender rights in the United States.
Reuters reported that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit against officials at the Ohio Department of Health in March on behalf of three trans women and one trans man. Ohio is one of three states that don’t allow people to determine their own gender on their birth certificate.
“It’s going to be a long fight,” said Susan Becker, general counsel for the ACLU, told the wire service. “The current laws affect people applying for credit, housing, employment or financial aid. There is a whole parade of trouble that transgendered people experience because of this non-conforming birth certificate that other people don’t experience.”
Stacie Ray, 44, stated in documents filed at the Southern District court that her gender was questioned publicly after she presented her birth certificate during the orientation process for a new job because it labeled her male.
Subsequently, many of her co-workers “refused to speak to her” and labeled her “the freak of the company”, according to the documents.
“After I had to show my birth certificate… a colleague threatened to beat me up and I felt I needed to leave for my own safety,” said Ray in a statement when the lawsuit was filed.
A spokesman for the Ohio Department of Health said it did not comment on pending litigation.
“There is support among the public (in Ohio) for transgender rights,” said Kara Ingelhart, law fellow at Lambda and one of the lawyers acting for the Ohio plaintiffs, told Reuters.
“But maybe there is a top-down culture led by the commander-in-chief who has taken affirmative steps to infringe on the rights of transgendered people.”
A bill is also working its way through the Ohio statehouse that would require teachers to out transgender children to their parents and allow parents to stop their children from transitioning.