Wednesday, December 7

14 quotes from the 3rd hearing of HB 454 to deny trans youth gender-affirming care

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A third hearing for HB 454 was held on Thursday in the Families, Aging, and Human Services Committee of the Ohio House of Representatives.

HB 454 would prohibit healthcare professionals from providing gender-affirming care and require staff at Ohio schools to “out” students they assume are transgender to their parents or legal guardians.

Like the first hearing on February 17 and the second hearing on March 19, this third hearing of HB 454 was proponent testimony: statements provided by supporters of the bill, followed by questions from representatives on the committee.

A protest could be heard all throughout Thursday’s session from individuals outside the statehouse advocating for appropriate, competent, and safe gender-affirming medical care, regardless of age or gender-identity.

This week’s hearing largely featured parents of trans children, all of whom misgendered their children—literally—hundreds of time. At one point, the chair of the committee had to call a time-out when representatives were not interacting respectfully with each other.

Though this hearing lasted close to 5 hours, we have captured here 14 quotes that will give you a good sense of what went down.

1. “We love her very much.” -Jane Williams, first up to testify. Williams is a mother of a trans child, who proceeded to misgender her son over 100 times in her testimony, despite her son legally changing his name and—by Williams’ own admission—expressing his preference for “he/him” pronouns.

Jane Williams

2. “When did she feel she needed to transgender into being a boy?” -Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland) displaying her command of the language related to gender identity/expression.

3. “Do we have your child’s permission to be talking about this?” -Rep. Monique Smith (D-Fairview Park), after expressing concern about the privacy of Williams’ child being violated on the floor of the Columbus Statehouse.
“I do not wish to answer that question.” -Jane Williams, very clearly answering Rep. Smith’s question.

4. “For the purposes of this hearing, I wanted to refer to her as I think of her, which is as my daughter. That is my parental right.” -Jane Williams, in response to being asked why she continues to use she/her pronouns for her son.

5. “Do we now have gender-affirmative journalism as well?” -David Mahan, Center for Christian Virtue, wondering aloud why there are positive pieces written about gender-affirming care.

Editor’s note: The staff of The Buckeye Flame met and concluded that we are indeed a source of gender-affirmative journalism. 

David Mahan, Center for Christian Virtue

6. “I don’t know if Children’s Hospital is conducting surgeries.” -David Mahan, in a striking admission after roughly an hour of insinuating the exact opposite. Later, Mahan—a guest preacher and not-even-remotely a doctor—was asked by Representative Al Cutrona (R-Canfield) to provide testimony explaining the medical effects of puberty blockers on 9-year-olds.

7. “The committee will stand at ease.” -Chair Susan Manchester (R-Waynesfield), immediately adjourning the committee into a break after Rep. Gary Click (R-Vickery) began to express his “disappointment in his colleagues,” violating committee procedures.

8. “Please stop attacking my witnesses.” -Rep. Click, immediately after the session resumed, displeased that Democrats had critical questions for the witnesses providing testimony, and thus labeling his colleagues’ questions as “attacks.”

9. “We were not told when he changed his preferred name and pronouns in school.” -Ronli Brown, about her child who identifies as female, but about whom Brown used male pronouns and described them as a boy well throughout her testimony, providing a possible explanation as to why she was not kept in the loop.

10. “Do you feel like the government is stepping in and taking control away from parents?”Rep. Click, the sponsor of HB 454, a bill to have the government step in take control away from parents. In this latest example of irony, Click was asking Brown about schools who decide not to out trans students to their parents.

11. “I believe in biological sex and that sex is binary, but I believe that people can dress the way they want to.” -Andrea Smith, the parent of a trans child—who also misgendered her child throughout her testimony—in response to the question of whether she believed that transgender people exist.

Andrea Smith

12. “It was bizarre how happy she was that people were affirming her.” -Andrea Smith, expressing surprise about how her child responded to being affirmed in ways he was not being affirmed by his mother who misgendered him even in this sentence.

13. “[Transgender identity] is a fad. It has no basis. It has no building blocks.” -Michael Cooper, the father of Jeanette Cooper, a witness at last week’s hearing who compared gender-affirming care to dog training, invoked the Holocaust, and called trans people a “social contagion.” In his testimony, Cooper shared that he lived through hippies, and that trans identity would similarly fade. No representative on either side of the aisle had any questions for Cooper. 

Lisa Breedlove Chaffee

14. “I don’t think that pertains to the issue at hand. But I will answer. I believe we have males and females biologically. No one can change their gender. Plain and simple.”-Lisa Breedlove Chaffee, Director of Ohio Parents Rights In Education, on whether she believes that transgender people exist, a question that she didn’t think pertained to HB 454, a bill which would deny gender-affirming care to trans youth. 🔥

Ignite Action:

  • If you are struggling, please remember you are not alone. Contact Trevor Project for 24 Hour Crisis Services.
  • If you’re a young person struggling and/or looking for support and community, you can visit Kaleidoscope Youth Center.
  • Trans Lifeline provides trans peer support for our community that’s been divested from police since day one. Their hotline is 1.877.565.8860.
  • Equality Ohio has a whole with actions dedicated to speaking out regarding HB 454, including how to contact this committee hearing the testimony.

About Author

Ken Schneck is the Editor of The Buckeye Flame. He received the 2021 Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for the LGBTQ Journalist of the Year from the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists. He is the author of "Seriously, What Am I Doing Here? The Adventures of a Wondering and Wandering Gay Jew" (2017), "LGBTQ Cleveland" (2018), "LGBTQ Columbus" (2019), and "LGBTQ Cincinnati" (2020). In his spare time, he is a professor of education at Baldwin Wallace University.

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