Transgender Youth Speak Out Against Ohio Legislation as an Assault on the Entire Trans Community

transgender youth speak out against Ohio legislationtransgender youth speak out against Ohio legislation

Nathan Alvarez has grown accustomed to the ridicule and snickering he faces when using the men’s restroom. However, his high school provides a safe haven with gender-neutral bathrooms where anyone can use either the men’s or women’s facilities. Unfortunately, a new bill threatens to revoke this inclusivity by prohibiting transgender students from using the bathroom and locker room that aligns with their gender identity.

House Bill 183, introduced by State Reps. Beth Lear, R-Galena, and Adam Bird, R-New Richmond, mandates that K-12 schools and colleges enforce the use of facilities corresponding to a student’s sex assigned at birth. Currently, HB 183 is awaiting sponsor testimony in the House committee. The potential passage of this bill deeply disturbs Alvarez, who identifies with he/him pronouns, and he strongly opposes it, feeling repulsed by the idea.

HB 183 is just one of several anti-trans bills being introduced in the Ohio General Assembly. If these bills pass in the Republican-controlled Ohio Statehouse, they would have detrimental effects on transgender individuals. Puberty blockers and hormone therapy would be inaccessible to trans youth, transgender athletes would be barred from participating in women’s sports, and educators would be compelled to disclose students’ gender identities to their parents. Furthermore, public schools would be required to notify parents before teaching any content related to sexuality.

Ohio is not alone in these endeavors. Across the United States, over 220 bills have been introduced that specifically target transgender and non-binary individuals, according to the Human Rights Campaign. This includes fifteen enacted laws that ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth and four additional laws censoring school curricula, including books.

Jaylah Hollins, a 19-year-old transgender individual who goes by she/her pronouns, emphasizes that these bills are not in the best interest of Ohioans but rather driven by anti-trans lobbyists from out of state. Hollins aspires to pursue social work at Columbus State Community College, aiming to work for an organization that supports transgender people. She hopes that Ohio can become a refuge for trans youth and adults, free from the politicization of their access to medical care and facilities aligning with their gender identity.

While Hollins acknowledges the harmful impact of all the anti-trans bills, House Bill 8 stands out as particularly concerning to her. Introduced by State Reps. D.J. Swearingen, R-Huron, and Sara Carruthers, R-Hamilton, HB 8 requires public schools to inform parents before teaching any content related to sexuality and compels school staff to disclose students’ gender identities to their parents. HB 8 recently passed in the Ohio House.

Hollins argues that these bills not only put children at risk but also hinder their self-discovery and make them feel punished for their identities. They impede children from developing understanding and empathy towards those who differ from them, leading to isolation and, most devastatingly, an increased risk of suicidal ideation, particularly among trans and non-binary individuals. Hollins is still contemplating whether she will remain in Ohio after college, but she expresses a desire to stay and advocate for trans youth.

Ko Rupert, a 20-year-old graduate student at Ohio State University, shares concerns about HB 8 and the erosion of youth rights. Rupert believes that young people are capable of making informed decisions about their bodies and have a profound understanding of their gender, sexuality, and romantic orientations.

Although Alvarez is too young to vote, he seizes opportunities to speak out against these anti-trans bills and recently made an appearance on Good Morning America. He finds it disheartening that adults make decisions that directly impact him without affording him a choice. Alvarez hopes to one day move out of Ohio and settle in Washington.

Among the various anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ bills, House Bill 68, also known as the Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act (SAFE Act), would prohibit doctors from administering puberty blockers and hormone therapy to transgender youth. Additionally, it would forbid physicians from performing gender reassignment surgery on minors. However, opponents have testified that no Ohio children’s hospital currently performs gender-affirming surgery on individuals under 18.

Furthermore, House Bill 6, incorporated within HB 68, would prevent transgender athletes from participating in women’s sports in Ohio. HB 68 has recently passed the House and awaits consideration by the Senate committee.


By Peter Etter

Peter is a highly skilled senior reporter at Edtech Avenue, a prominent news portal focused on the education sector. With a strong background in journalism and a deep understanding of the industry, Peter plays a pivotal role in shaping the platform's content strategy. His meticulous approach to researching, writing, and editing ensures that the articles published on Edtech Avenue are accurate, clear, and relevant to the readers. Peter's dedication to journalistic integrity and his passion for promoting the importance of education make him an invaluable asset to the team.

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