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This Ohio bill would charge therapists with a felony for not outing trans kids to parents

This Ohio bill would charge therapists with a felony for not outing trans kids to parents

The Ohio State Legislature

A bill introduced to the Ohio legislature in May would charge therapists with a felony if they fail to out transgender youth to their parents.

The Bill

Ohio House Bill 658 mandates that school employees, social workers, and psychiatrists must disclose to parents if a minor approaches them with questions about gender identity or seeks help for gender dysphoria. If they don’t inform the child’s parents, regardless of concern for the child’s wellbeing, they would face felony charges.

‘No government agent or entity shall purposely or knowingly authorize or provide gender dysphoria treatment for a child without the written, informed consent of each of the child’s parents and the child’s guardian or custodian, as required in section 2131.144 of the Revised Code,’ the text of the Bill reads.

‘A violation of this section is gender dysphoria treatment without parental consent, a felony of the fourth degree.’

Rep. Thomas Brinkman is the Bill’s primary sponsor. He believes that parents should have the right to decide whether their children are allowed to undergo treatment.

‘They should have that responsibility. And if somebody doesn’t like it, you’re emancipated at age 18 and you can go do whatever the heck you want,’ Brinkman told WKSU.

According to WKSU, Brinkman was inspired to put together this piece of legislation after a case regarding a 17-year-old put in custody of his grandparents after his parents refused to support his gender identity and tried to put him in conversion therapy.

Harming LGBTI youth

‘Every medical and psychological association agrees that transition-related care is medically necessary,’ said Erin Upchurch, executive director of the Kaleidoscope Youth Center in Columbus, Ohio.

‘Making sure that this stays between doctors and patients and isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation is really important.’

Upchurch worries this prospective legislation could harm LGBTI youth who seek access to Kaleidoscope’s services. According to Upchurch, 49% of the LGBTI youth who come to Kaleidoscope identify as trans or non-binary. Many of them already struggle to find acceptance at home, and H.B. 658 would just exacerbate their situations.

In Ohio, like many states, minors are required to get parental consent to start hormone treatments or be considered for gender-affirmation surgery. However, in Ohio, both parents—regardless of the family’s situation—must be notified of any name or gender marker changes. If there is no father in the family, for instance, the child’s mother must prove they notified the person who is believed to be the child’s father.

Anything else about Ohio?

Last year, the ACLU put together a video of transgender people in Ohio sharing their experiences of discrimination.

As of 5 June, the H.B. 658 is being referred to the Committee of Community and Family Advancement.

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