Ohio State Representative Tom Brinkman has introduced legislation that would put many transgender students at risk. House Bill 568 would force teachers, counselors, and other school officials to report to parents if their child/student exhibits signs of gender dysphoria at school. The bill would also make it illegal for any “government entity” to provide any dysphoria treatment to students. Parents of the reported child would be able to choose whether or not to accept any sort of treatment for the child. Professional counseling, educational materials, mental health advocacy, medical treatment, and any other forms of help could be treated as a fourth degree felony, if provided to a transgender student without parent approval.
The bill was inspired by a case from the Hamilton County Juvenile Court in which custody of a transgender teen was granted to his supportive grandparents who accepted his gender identity and helped the child start his transition journey. The student’s parents were unsupportive of his desire to begin hormone replacement therapy and instead forced him to endure hours of Bible study and Christian therapy.
Representative Brinkman defends his bill, saying "Parents have the right to decide what is best for their children.” The Ohio Education Association, a teacher’s union of 124,000 members, has voiced its opposition to the proposed bill. While Brinkman would like to turn teachers into gender cops, what he is ultimately doing is putting the safety of Ohio transgender and gender-questioning students at great risk.
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