Thursday, December 8

15 quotes from the 5th hearing of HB 454 to deny trans youth gender-affirming care

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

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

A substitution bill was introduced and approved at this hearing that would mandate a two-year waiting period of counseling before accessing gender-affirming care.

The substitution language also requires that every physician who prescribes puberty-blocking drugs or cross-sex hormones to annually report to the Ohio Department of Health a series of data points, including:

  • The number of minors for whom the physician prescribed the drugs or hormones in the previous year;
  • The biological sex of the minors prescribed the drugs or hormones in the previous year and the age when treatment with the drugs or hormones began;
  • The names of the drugs or hormones prescribed in the previous year;
  • The average quantity of the drugs or hormones prescribed by the physician in the previous year;
  • The number of minors who resumed identification with their biological sex.

This fifth hearing was the second opportunity for opponents of the bill to provide testimony. It had been previously announced that the hearing would have a hard stop of two hours, the same as the June meeting. Only the opponent testimony sessions have thusfar been limited in time.

A protester disrupted the very start of the hearing, yelling, “How could you support this bill?”

We present to you 15 other quotes from the hearing:

1. “It is impossible to fully know the implications of these ideas and language under such short notice. Woven throughout the sub-bill are medical terms and definitions that could very likely have unintended consequences in other areas of clinical care.” -Nick Lashutka, President & CEO, Ohio Children’s Hospital Association, testifying that the substitution bill was distributed with less than 24 hours notice.

2. “The criteria established in [the substitution bill]creates intentionally impossible standards to meet, effectively eliminating the use of all medication. These were developed with zero medical input and with no studies or research to support those standards.” -Lashutka. 

3. “No. I have never regretted receiving gender-affirming care. It is honestly the best thing that happened in my life.” -Amy Schneider, Jeopardy! Champion and Ohio native responding to a question about her journey.

4. “I am transgender, I was born and raised in Ohio, and I have received gender-affirming medical care related to my transition for seven years now in Ohio.” -Stevie Beck, whose mother “Maria Polaris” testified at the May 19th meeting that “nobody is born in the wrong body” and that she had never met a trans person before.

5. “Your parents love you very much.” -Representative Gary Click (R-Vickery) to Beck, attempting to play the role of family intermediary during a hearing on the floor of the Ohio Statehouse.

6. “I would be honored to reconnect with my parents as long as my mother redacts her statement that trans people do not exist.” -Stevie Beck, in response to Rep. Click’s expressed hope that Stevie reconnect with his parents.

7. “We know that the idea that families can’t make hard choices is false and insulting to Ohio families.”Kathryn Poe, Equality Ohio

Kathryn Poe

8. “If passed, HB 454 would make my job as a father much harder. This bill would take away my ability as a parent to make the best decisions I can for my child. Please leave decision making in the hands of parents.” -Brendan Kelley, father of a trans teen who spoke about his-experiences family’s positive experiences with Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

9. “Understand that passing this bill is, without exaggeration, a death sentence for kids who depend on gender-affirming care for their health and safety. The blood of those kids would be on your hands, and you can prevent it.” -Mikael McLaren, who spoke with his wife Michelle about their experiences raising their trans daughter, including being called “child abusers, groomers, hell bound, sinners” and more for supporting their daughter.

10. “We have started to plan for options.” -Shannon Scott-Miller, parent of a trans child, responding to Rep. Beth Liston (D-Dublin) that her family has already begun planning to look at relocation options outside of Ohio to find a safer climate.

11. “My daughter’s medical information is not for your political warfare.” -Scott-Miller, declining to answer Rep. Gary Click specific questions about her daughter’s medical record.

12. “It’s Transgender Awareness Week.” -Mallory Golski, Kaleidoscope Youth Center, highlighting the irony of this hearing being scheduled for this particular week.

Mallory Golski

13. “Such disclosure would disrupt therapeutic rapport and possibly jeopardize clients’ safety. Such breaches in confidentiality will also interrupt successful clinical processes which rely heavily on trust and rapport and will dissuade youth from seeking essential mental health services.” -Stephanie Ash, National Association of Social Workers, Ohio Chapter, speaking to the part of the bill that doesn’t get as much attention: forcing school staff – including school social workers – to out trans youth to their parents, regardless of whether the youth grants them consent for this disclosure.

14. “The hope that this bill does not pass is what is keeping me alive. Passing this bill would forever change my life in a way that is detrimental to me and so many others.” -Cass Steiner, 15-years old, trailblazing homecoming princess.

15. “I have not been fooled. I have not been groomed. I know who my child is. I know the studies, I know the risks, I know the benefits, and I—the father—will make the choice.” -Giles Roblyer, parent of a trans child, who said that HB 454 is just as much about limiting options to parents as it is to trans youth.  

Ignite Action:

  • If you are struggling, please remember you are not alone. Contact Trevor Project for 24 Hour Crisis Services.
  • 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.
  • If you’re a young person struggling and/or looking for support and community, you can visit Kaleidoscope Youth Center.
  • Equality Ohio has a whole linktr.ee 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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