Ohio: Approved Bill Requires Genital Inspection For Student-Athletes To Prohibit Trans Kids From Playing Sports

Legislators passed the anti-trans law late on June 1st, the first night of Pride Month celebrations. Originally, Republicans planned to vote on changing Ohio’s teacher residency program, but at the last minute they inserted a ban on transgender athletes, according to ABC station WEWS News 5 in Cleveland.

To comply with the new rule, schools, public universities, and private institutions would have to create “single-sex” athletic teams for men and women or have co-ed teams instead. Under the proposed legislation, students whose “sex is disputed” would be required to provide a doctor’s declaration certifying their “internal and external reproductive anatomy.” This doctor would also need to do an “analysis of the participant’s genetic makeup” and verify that the student had “normal endogenously produced levels of testosterone.” If a transgender girl or woman wants to participate in girls’ sports in Ohio, they must complete a minimum of one year of hormone therapy or show that they lack any physical or physiological advantages.

According to Equality Ohio and the Ohio High School Athletic Association, there is just one transgender female presently competing in high school sports in the whole state (OSHAA).

According to Democratic state lawmaker Dr. Beth Liston, “never more than one” transgender student has competed on a high school girls’ team in the “last seven years that the OSHAA transgender policy has been in place.” “There are not scores of girls’ dreams being crushed; there is one child trying to play on their high school sports team,” Liston said. “This is a made-up controversy and this amendment is state-sanctioned bullying against one child.”

“Disturbing” parts of the measure were subsequently slammed by Liston, who is also a physician, for “discussing bills focusing on children’s genitals.”

Equality Ohio said in a statement that legislators’ efforts to “undermine” the LGBTQ+ community on “multiple fronts” were “appalling” on the opening day of Pride Month.

“Health and safety” of Ohio’s youth is “not negotiable,” according to Equality Ohio executive director Alana Jochum.  “This should not be a partisan issue, and we are appalled that our lawmakers are once again causing real harm to LGBTQ+ youth to score political points,” Jochum said. “All Ohio youth deserve the opportunity to play on a sports team with their peers without having to hide who they are.” 

Cathryn Oakley, the Human Rights Campaign’s state legislative director and senior counsel, said Ohioans deserve “better than this shortsighted, discriminatory bill that will do real harm” to trans youth. “Transgender students have participated in sports consistent with their gender identity for decades in states around the country, and there’s no actual problem here that needs addressing: this bill is about targeting transgender youth for perceived political gain, not about strengthening women’s sports or helping Ohio’s youth,” Oakley said. “It’s especially shameful that extremist politicians passed this legislation in the dead of night before leaving town until the fall.”

Governor Mike DeWine should “make clear” that he would utilize veto authority in order to overturn the trans sports ban, according to Oakley.

The anti-trans bill is now on its way to the Ohio Senate, which won’t convene again until November, when it returns from break.

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