Guest Comment: Ohio Legislation Presents Coming Hellscape Week for Trans Ohioans | Reviews | Cincinnati

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Photo: Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona, Unsplash

Trans Awareness Week begins November 13.

Trans Awareness Week kicked off Nov. 13 and culminates in more than a dozen Trans Memorial Day events in Ohio at the end of the week.

But to get there, trans Ohioans and their allies must navigate a week-long legislative hell.

Here’s what the week ahead looks like:

Monday November 14

The Ohio School Board Executive Committee will meet for the second time to discuss the “resolution to help parents, schools and districts reject harmful, coercive and restrictive gender identity policies” proposed in September by Madison County State School Curator Brendan Shea, Board Member.

This resolution calls on schools to reject Title IX language that would protect LGBTQ+ students from discrimination.

It has now spawned five (!) different versions to consider: two from Full Member Mike Toal banning trans sports participation, two from Board Chair Charlotte McGuire who has now publicly stated that she opposes LGBTQ+ protections, and one from Dr. Antoinette Miranda who would actually affirm LGBTQ+ students.

The meeting is expected to last four hours and either Shea’s original resolution or one of the new proposals should emerge, which brings us to…

Tuesday, November 15

The full state Board of Education will meet Nov. 15 and will likely consider any resolutions that survived the Executive Committee on Nov. 14.

There will again be opportunities for public participation, which has resulted in more than eight hours of testimony over the past two meetings. While the September meeting featured public comment almost entirely against Shea’s resolution, testimony from the October meeting was decidedly more mixed. A lot of pretty awful things have been said about trans people by a host of speakers, including representative pastor Gary Click, which brings us to…

Wednesday, November 16

At the Ohio State House, the Committee on Families, Aging, and Human Services will hold its fifth hearing on HB 454, the Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act. If passed, HB 454 would ban gender-affirming care for Ohio youth and require teachers and school staff to tell trans youth about their parents. The bill’s sponsor, Gary Click, has previously testified that the bill was brought to him by the Center for Christian Virtue.

The promoters’ first three hearings in February and May featured gruesome testimony, including gender-affirming care compared to dog training, a Holocaust analogy, and a host of parents of transgender children hurting their children — literally. – hundreds of times.

The fourth hearing on June 1 — Happy Pride Month! – was the first opponent hearing and featured medical providers and hospital representatives testifying about the realities of providing gender-affirming care in an effort to counter the misinformation that had previously been presented by witnesses and Republican representatives on the committee.

Wednesday’s fifth hearing is again opposition testimony and will largely feature LGBTQ+ advocates, likely including Equality Ohio, the ACLU and TransOhio. It has already been announced that this hearing will have a two-hour crash, like the June meeting. Only the testimony sessions of the opponents have so far been limited in time.

There will again be a pro-trans-youth rally outside the state house during the hearing. More info on their Facebook event page.

Sunday November 20

Trans Day of Remembrance events couldn’t be more necessary as 2022 has been another brutal year for trans Americans. On Sept. 21, Semaj Billingslea, 33, was shot dead in Florida, becoming the 32nd transgender person reported as a victim of fatal violence in 2022, according to the Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents blog, which tracks anti-trans killings.

Ignition action:

  • Regarding Board of Education resolutions, Honesty for Ohio Education outlines the following three actions:
    • Contact the members of the executive committee. Contact details here.
    • Show up at the executive committee meeting. Info here.
    • Continue to submit testimonials for the November Council. Instructions here.
  • Regarding HB 454, Equality Ohio recommends the following:
    • PACK THE HOUSE! Wear rainbows and fill Courtroom 121 at State House at 10 a.m. to show the power of our community and support those who speak out. You can also watch it on the Ohio Channel.
    • Contact the committee NOW! You can call President Manchester, send the committee a message objecting to HB 454, or call committee members.
    • Express yourself on social media and in your personal networks. People who want to ban gender-affirming care rely on others’ lack of familiarity with supportive care for transgender people to avoid criticism. We know better. Make sure everyone in your personal network does this too.

This story was originally published in The Buckeye Flame and republished here with permission.

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