A Republican-backed bill in Ohio would force teachers to out children to their parents if they do not conform to the “manner” of their “biological sex”.
The bill, submitted by Republicans Thomas Brinkman and Paul Zeltwanger, would force schools, doctors, and care providers to immediately notify the parents of any pupil who acts “in a manner opposite of the child’s biological sex.”
It 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.”
Although apparently targeted at transgender youth, the provision on “manner” is so loosely worded that campaigners have warned it could even be deployed against boys who don’t want to play football.
The same bill, HB658, also bans schools from referring to pupils who are transgender or gender non-conforming by their chosen pronouns and name – unless approved by parents.
The bill would give parents an unlimited right to block any transgender-related treatment for their children.
It states: “The parents, guardian, or custodian of a child shall not be subject to adverse action as a result of the refusal to permit gender dysphoria treatment, or refusal to provide written, informed consent for such treatment, for the child.”
The bill makes clear that parents “may withhold consent for gender dysphoria treatment or activities that are designed and intended to form a child’s conceptions of sex and gender.”
The ban on “gender dysphoria treatment” would force all state agencies to withhold “educational materials, classes, or programs” as well as “Medical, psychological, social, or other professional
treatment, therapy, counseling, or other services” from children whose transition does not have their parents’ approval.
It adds: “It is the policy of this state that the parents, guardian, or custodian of a child retain the right to determine what is in the best interest of the child regarding the following:
(1) The child is diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
(2) The child exhibits symptoms of gender dysphoria.
(3) Whether the child should participate in classes or programs, with or without accompanying educational materials, classes, or programs related to sex and gender
(4) Any counseling, therapy, or treatment provided to the child regarding the child’s gender dysphoria.”
Unsurprisingly, the bill has been criticised by LGBT rights groups, who say it would directly enable abuse against LGBT kids and unleash a wave of negative consequences.
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Equality Ohio said: “Ohio’s HB658 is the latest attempt by anti-LGBTQ extremists in Ohio to codify explicit second-class citizenship for LGBTQ people, only this time, they are targeting transgender youth.
“We already have a legal standard of how we treat kids in Ohio – we treat them in accordance with their best interest. Period.
“The state policing of behaviour opens a can of worms. Who is the judge of which gender is allowed to do what? If Jane signs up for shop class, will her parents receive a government letter? If Jordan doesn’t want to play football, do his parents get a letter? What if Alex wants to attend a meeting of the student LGBTQ group – does the school email that to Alex’s parents?
“Just what stereotypes are they expected to enforce?
“In targeting transgender children, the bill authors create a ridiculous and unenforceable requirements – requirements that out transgender students and create a significant threat of bullying and reduced access to social support systems.”
The group adds: “This bill is anti-trans youth. It’s attacking our most vulnerable.
“A few cynical politicians are trying to drum up fear and division about transgender youth and their families at a time when we need more love, respect, and kindness.
“This unnecessary and discriminatory bill does nothing to support youth and families.
“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.”