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Ohio House passes bill restricting transgender bathroom access

The Ohio House passed a transgender bathroom and locker room ban for school and college late Wednesday night in a 12-hour marathon session .

According to the Ohio Capital Journal, House Bill 183 was then added to Senate Bill 104 as an amendment on the House floor late Wednesday night; S.B. 104 passed as amended with a 60-31 vote.

State Reps. Beth Lear, R-Galena, and Adam Bird, R-New Richmond, introduced H.B. 183. I signed into law, Ohio K-12 schools and colleges would be compelled to mandate students can only use the bathroom or locker room aligning with the gender they were assigned at birth.

“Boys and girls should not be in locker rooms together,” Lear told the Capitol Journal.

Meanwhile, Bird told the Capital Journal he had heard from school district superintendents from across the state requesting the legislature take action.

“Superintendents and school boards, they need clarity on this issue,” Bird told the Capitol Journal. “…We want to protect women and girls from assault, from intimidation.”

Rep. Beryl Piccolantonio (D-Gahanna), who has experience as a local school board member, called the bill an overreach by the state.

“Before I was sworn into this seat, I testified in opposition to this bill from the perspective of a locally elected school board president who believed that locally elected school board members are in the best position to set any district policy related to bathroom use,” Piccolantonio told her colleagues, according to WCPO in Cincinnati. “I still believe that.”

According to the Capitol Journal, House Minority Leader Allison Russo, D-Upper Arlington said the bill diverted time from more pressing school-related issues.

“Here we are, again, I think focusing on the wrong things,” she said on the House floor. “There’s so many things that need to be done in our school districts and for schools and for our students. But this body continues, over and over again, to focus on the small group of children and target and bully children. … This is what we’re spending our time and energy on. I’m sorry, but don’t tell me your school districts are coming to you begging for this. Baloney.”

She called the issue – “a made up problem.”

On the other hand, Rep. Jena Powell, R-Arcanum, said passing the bill was the obvious thing to do.

“This is easy,” she said. “This is simple. This should not be complicated.”

The Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union also came out against the bills, stating on its website: “This is yet another state-sponsored attack on transgender, gender-nonconforming, and intersex (TGNCI) youth and young adults. Legislators have no business telling TGNCI people what restrooms or locker rooms to use. Transgender people who are forced to use the restroom or locker room that does not align with their gender identity risk being bullied, harassed, or outright targeted for violence.”

The American Medical Association, while not making a statement on this specific legislation, has expressed its policy “supports transgender individuals’ use of public restrooms in line with their gender identities.”

In an amicus brief in federal court, the AMA stated “Exclusionary policies require transgender individuals to live one facet of their lives in contradiction with their gender identity.” Ot adds that these “policies threaten to exacerbate the risk of anxiety and depression, low self-esteem, engaging in self-injurious behaviors, suicide, substance use, homelessness and eating disorders, among other adverse outcomes.”

The America Association of Pediatricians was among several organizations that published studies indicating such bans have negative consequences. The study concludes: “Pediatricians should be aware that sexual assault is highly prevalent in transgender and nonbinary youth and that restrictive school restroom and locker room policies may be associated with risk.”

The legislature is now on its summer break and will likely not meet before the November general election. . The state Senate would have to pass the bill, which is amend to S.B. 104, to send it to Governor Mike DeWine’s desk, who have then have to sign it into law for it to take effect.

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