June is Pride Month, a time dedicated to celebrating and recognizing the LGBTQ+ community. This Pride season comes as more than 500 anti-LGBTIQ bills this year are being voted on across the country.
Eighteen states enacted laws restricting or banning gender-affirming care for transgender minors, including Ohio, which has four bills currently in the statehouse that affect LGBTQ+ youths.
“We’re going to keep being here,” said Dara Adkison, secretary of Trans Ohio, “even if there are members of the Ohio state legislature trying to make our lives more difficult.”
LGBTQ Ohioans are sharing that sentiment as four bills in the Ohio Statehouse bring different restrictions to the table.
One, similar to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, would prohibit classroom discussion of gender identity or sexual orientation.
House Bill 68, also known as the “Safe Act,” would prohibit doctors from providing gender-confirming care to minors.
Both supporters of the bill and those who oppose it claim to be fighting for the safety and protection of Ohio’s children.
Meanwhile, the “Save Women’s Sports Act” cleared the House education panel. The bill would bar transgender women and girls from participating in female athletics in public schools, up to the collegiate level.
While supporters of the bill say they are protecting athletic opportunities for women, trans rights activists say there’s already a fair policy in place.
“Across the country, we’re seeing a growing number of instances in which biological males have taken away championships. records and countless athletic opportunities for female athletes,” said Matt Sharp of the Alliance Defending Freedom.
“The Ohio High School Athletic Association and the NCAA already regulate trans athlete participation in sports, so this is just, I mean, ‘redundant’ is the nicest word I could use,” said Maria Bruno, public policy director with Equality Ohio, “but the probably more honest word is that it’s unnecessary and an even harmful.”
Most recently in Ohio, lawmakers are weighing in on a bill that would ban transgender students from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity at school.
In the Miami Valley, Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools updated its anti-discrimination policy this month. The policy now says “harassment, intimidation or bullying towards a student for any reason, including their sexual orientation, gender identity or membership in any other population or group, whether by students, staff or third parties is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated.”
The original proposal to change the policy wanted to remove sexual identity and gender identity from its protected classes. Students, staff and local LGBTQ advocates gathered together at a special meeting to speak against that policy change.
A blanket threat against LGBTQ+ students was called in to Kettering Fairmont High School after the students selected a trans girl and a non-binary student as prom queen and prom king.
Students were shaken by the threat, but they encourage their LGBTQ peers to keep being themselves.