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The Student News Organization for Rutherford B. Hayes High School

The Talisman

The Student News Organization for Rutherford B. Hayes High School

The Talisman

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Opinion: Ohio lawmakers are wasting your time attacking transgender youth instead of creating meaningful legislation

The+Ohio+Statehouse+shines+in+the+sun+amid+the+Ohio+Senate+voting+to+overrule+Governor+Dewines+veto.
Josie Morrow
The Ohio Statehouse shines in the sun amid the Ohio Senate voting to overrule Governor Dewine’s veto.

Ohio House Representative Gary Click punches his fists into the air, a smile spreading across his face as the bill he primarily sponsored overrides Governor DeWine’s veto. The journey to reach this point has not been easy. Almost a year of his time and effort has gone into passing this piece of legislation.

What is House Bill 68 trying to accomplish?  Better funding for Ohio’s failing infrastructure, addressing the nurse and teacher shortage, or fighting against the opioid crisis?

No. Gary Click and Ohio Republicans have spent a year of their elected time trying to keep transgender youth from having basic bodily autonomy. 

House Bill 68, or the ‘S.A.F.E.’ Act, effectively bans gender affirming healthcare for transgender youth in the state and prevents transgender students from participating in school sports on the teams that match their gender identity. 

After spending months being argued in committees, the bill initially made its way through the Republican majority Ohio House and Senate in November 2023. To the surprise of many, when sent to Governor DeWine’s desk to sign, he vetoed the piece of legislation citing the harm he felt it would do to many transgender children in the state of Ohio and undermine the decision of medical professionals. 

However, House Bill 68 was not dead, because two-thirds of the Ohio House of Representatives and the Senate overrode the Governor’s veto. After the absolute rollercoaster and almost a year of debate on the floor of both sides of Ohio’s General Assembly, the bill is set to go into effect April 24, 2024

The reasoning behind the drawn-out House Bill 68 is not backed in science and logic, but rather transphobia and bigotry. 

Currently, evidence indicates transgender women who have undergone testosterone suppression have no clear biological advantages over cisgender women. And until recently, that has been the metric with which the OHSAA has used to decide their regulations. 

However, under House Bill 68, the science is ignored and instead politicians side with the suppression of transgender youth instead of the facts. 

The main topic of House Bill 68 is banning gender affirming care for minors. Gender affirming care can consist of puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy, and in some cases, gender affirming surgeries.

Gender affirming care saves the lives of transgender youth everyday, with 73% of transgender and nonbinary youth less likely to experience suicidality when compared to youths who did not receive gender-affirming interventions. This, in contrast with the fact that 82% of transgender individuals have considered ending their own lives and 40% have attempted to do so, highlights the importance of this medical care. 

In 2021, a total of only 17,683 patients nationally, ages 6 through 17, with a prior gender dysphoria diagnosis initiated either puberty blockers or hormones or both during the five-year period. Considering that there were 28.2 million children in the United States between the ages of 6-17 at the time, the percentage of children receiving gender affirming care during that year was 0.06% of the population.

Advocates for HB 68 cite keeping children “safe” as their reasoning for banning this medical care; they argue transgender youth might grow up to regret their decision. However, data shows that only 1% of trangender youth will regret their transition and for some, regret was even temporary. Ohio legislators choose to cherry pick their data and prey on emotion rather than weigh the pro-con analysis. 

With this data in mind, the logic behind House Bill 68 is not only faulty but is built on the foundation of prejudice against trangender youth. 

While House Bill 68 has been taking up the time of the Ohio Senate, it has kept many important, bipartisan pieces of legislation from being debated on the floor. House Bill 161, a law that would close the exception for spousal rape, was passed by the House of Representatives but has yet to see the floor of the Senate. House Bill 152 would require health insurance to cover the cost of hearing aids for children and similarly to HB 161, has yet to see a minute on the floor of the senate. 

With only seven sessions left until the General Assembly adjourns in July, this is being considered the least effective General Assembly since 1955. Gary Click and his accomplices have successfully wasted the tax money of Ohio voters on a piece of legislation that might not even be Constitutional

 

 

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About the Contributor
Josie Morrow
Josie Morrow, Views/Entertainment Section Editor
Josie Morrow (she/her) is a senior at Hayes. It is her second year on staff. She is involved in the Ohio Youth and Government Program as the 2024 Media Editor-in-Chief and she co-founded the Hayes Period Project. In her free time, she enjoys reading, spoiling her cat, listening to Taylor Swift, and drinking coffee.
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