Monday, October 3

It’s not “Don’t Say Gay” in Ohio: It’s “Trans Ban”

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The United States is a country of freedom of speech and ideas. Our classrooms should be no different, providing a space to explore topics, conversations and the foundational frameworks of our nation.

Recently, Ohio Republican lawmakers amended a curriculum censorship bill—House Bill 327—to include anti-transgender language, effectively creating a bill with a potential chilling effect similar to the Don’t Say Gay bill that recently passed in Florida. 

To be clear, Equality Ohio has opposed this bill since its introduction because it has always been designed to whitewash the accurate teaching of history, particularly the insidious nature of racism (something confirmed this week by the exceedingly harmful remarks made by one of the bill’s cosponsors). 

We double down now as it becomes a vehicle to do further harm by taking aim at LGBTQ+ kids.

The language of this bill makes clear that HB 327 is part of a coordinated national attack on transgender youth in the classroom, on the field, and in the doctors office. This bill is not a mirror image of Florida’s“Don’t Say Gay” bill, but a truer catch phrase for HB 327 might be “Trans Ban.” This legislation effectively violates Title IX by banning the discussion of transgender people, damaging transgender students’ rights in the classroom. It effectively makes Title IX compliance by educational institutions impossible. 

It’s telling, however, what’s excluded from these prohibitions:

(b) Nothing in division (B)(2) of this section shall be construed to prohibit any nonpublic school from promoting the school’s closely held religious beliefs or specifying that the school’s religion is superior to other religions.

Note that this provision would explicitly create a carve-out to allow our tax-dollar-funded private school vouchers to go towards schools teaching religious superiority. It’s clear whose stories are allowed—and whose are pushed out. 

Coincidentally, the organization that cloaks its anti-LGBTQ+ ideology in out-of-context biblical passages and is aggressively pushing for this bill? They’re investing in private religious schools. Curious.

All children, including LGBTQ+ children and children with LGBTQ+ people in their family, deserve an honest and accurate education. Everyone deserves an education that enables them to learn from our past and helps them create a better future. All Ohioans deserve an education that includes the wonderful contributions LGBTQ+ people have made to culture, society and freedom in the US. To make that possible, we must stop harmful attacks to honest education like HB 327.

To learn more about HB 327 or any of the other current legislation impacting LGBTQ+ Ohioans most, and to get the latest actions and resources, visit our linktree, and follow us on TikTok. You can also tell legislators “NO!” to HB 327 by sending a letter now. Together we will win. Together we will tell Ohio #DontBanTrans.

About Author

MD Spicer-Sitzes is the Communications Manager for Equality Ohio. MD is an accomplished writer with success building relationships via equitable frameworks. They hold a master's degree in Urban Sustainability from Antioch University Los Angeles. In 2018 MD developed a course on how to create LGBTQ+ affirmative policies and programs in the fertility sector. MD is married and a twin toddler parent.

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