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HB 454—to ban trans youth from accessing care in Ohio—will have a second hearing this week. Here’s what you need to know.

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By Ken Schneck, The Buckeye Flame

The 2nd hearing (proponent testimony) for HB 454 will be held this Thursday, May 19 at 9am in the Families, Aging, and Human Services Committee of the Ohio House of Representatives.

Here’s what you need to know:

What is HB 454?

Dubbed the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act, HB 454 is intended to ” to prohibit certain procedures to alter a minor child’s sex.”

If passed, HB 454 would:

  • Prohibit medical professionals from making referrals to individuals under age 18 to any medical doctor for gender transition procedures.
  • Prohibit school staff from encouraging or coercing a minor to withhold from the minor’s parent or legal guardian the fact that the minor’s perception of his or her gender is inconsistent with his or her sex.
  • Force school staff to share with a minor’s parent or legal guardian information related to the minor’s perception that his or her gender is inconsistent with his or her sex.
  • Prohibit any health insurance policy or other plan providing health care coverage in Ohio from providing reimbursement for gender transition procedures for individuals under 18.

Who proposed HB 454?

The co-sponsors of HB 454 are Republicans Gary Click (R-Vickery) and Diane Grendell (R-Chester Township).

Click is a Baptist pastor and Grendell was a Judge of the Ohio Eleventh District Court of Appeals for 18 years.

HB 454 currently has 23 co-sponsors, all Republicans.

What happened at the first hearing for HB 454?

Held on February 17, the first hearing for HB 454 was, in a word, wild.

In only one hour, the hearing featured healthy doses of transphobia, shout-outs to shadow religious organizations, testimony from a former porn star, a gasp-inducing invocation of the c-word, and an Adele reference thrown in for good measure.

This proponent testimony was delivered by Representative Click and Erin Brewer, a not-Ohio-based, former-porn-star-turned-activist who travels around the country delivering proponent testimony to deny trans youth their lived experience.

What will happen at this second hearing of HB 454?

Like the first hearing, this second hearing of HB 454 is proponent testimony. This means more testimony provided by supporters of the bill.

Although the list has not yet been provided—materials are published the morning of the meeting—in the past, this has meant a line-up of faith-affiliated witnesses, other Republican co-sponsors, and non-Ohio residents who travel around speaking out against gender affirming care.

Who is really behind the HB 454?

At the February 17 meeting, Representative Click said he “was asked to carry this bill by parents and by the Center for Christian Virtue.”

The extraordinarily rightwing, Columbus-based CCV was formerly called the Citizens for Community Values, and has had connections to every piece of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation proposed in the past few sessions of the Ohio legislature.

Minutes after Rep. Click admitted the connection to CCV, he bafflingly testified that HB 454 has “no religious motivations.”

Where can you watch the 2nd hearing for HB 454?

The Ohio Channel broadcasts hearings live and then quickly archives them on the committee’s video page. Though the meeting starts at 9am, HB 454 is the 4th item on the committee’s agenda for the morning.

BE WARNED: If this proponent testimony is like the last one—and prior hearings guarantee it will be—many transphobic comments will be said.

How can you make your voice heard about HB 454?

Equality Ohio has a whole linktr.ee with actions dedicated to speaking out regarding HB 454, including how to contact the committee who will be hearing testimony. 

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