May 27, 2022
A transgender flag with pink, blue, and white colors is shown hanging from a banister.

Understanding ‘Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act’

House Bill 454 was introduced to the 134th Ohio General Assembly as the “Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act.” The bill’s transphobic tagline transitions into an enumeration of dubious claims intended to discredit transgender people’s identity and the safety of medical treatments and procedures. 

The primary sponsors of H.B. 454 are Reps. Gary Click and Diane Grendell. Rep. Click’s highest level of education is from Midwestern Baptist College, an unaccredited college that lists Bachelor of Religious Education (B.R.E.) and Bachelor of Sacred Music (B.S.M.) as their highest degree. 

During September of 2020, in the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rep. Grendell proposed a bill that would have canceled the state of emergency enacted as a result of the high case numbers. 

The bill Reps. Click and Grendell are sponsoring would prohibit:

  1.  Counselors and educators from concealing adolescents’ feelings of gender dysphoria
  2. Referrals for medicalized treatments for minors with gender dysphoria  
  3. Medicaid from covering the cost of SRS for minors
  4. Any requirement for private insurers to cover medicalized treatments for gender dysphoria in adolescents
  5. Hormone blockers for Gender Dysphoria prior to the age of 18
  6. Surgical interventions or Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) for minors

According to the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry, gender-affirming treatment is highly personalized and focuses on the requirements of each individual–including gender and sexuality psychoeducation (age and developmental level appropriate), parental and family support, social interventions and gender-affirming medical therapies.

H.B. 454 isolates and vilinizes children who are already embarking on courageous and sometimes treacherous journeys of self-discovery. 

House Bill 616 was introduced to the 134th Ohio General Assembly as an attempt to protect children; however, it simply muzzles educators, counselors and families from having sometimes life saving conversations with students and children. The bill’s primary sponsors are Reps. Mike Loychik and Jean Schmidt, who also happen to both be sponsors of H.B. 454.

H.B. 616 would prohibit:

  1. Responding to a pupil inferring about sexual orientation/gender identity
  2. Discussing personal life if openly LGBTQ+
  3. Critical race theory
  4. Intersectional theory
  5. The 1619 project
  6. Diversity, equity, and inclusion learning outcomes
  7. Inherited racial guilt
  8. Teach, use, or provide any curriculum or instructional materials on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade

Due to the bill’s wording, it can be inferred that discussing heterosexuality or using “boy,” or “girl” in front of K-3 pupils shall be outlawed, as well. Sexual education has never been in the curriculum for pupils beneath grade five, so any argument of “sexualizing children” is consequently irrelevant. As of right now, there is no LGBTQ+ inclusive education being taught in any Ohio grade school. Reps. Loychik and Schmidt are attempting to block a door that hasn’t been opened yet. 

Banning books because of racial and sexual disparities is closer to the definition of prejudice than any of the content that H.B. 616 is attempting to outlaw. Barring “inherently racist concepts” like critical race theory and intersectional theory from being taught in schools is a deplorable method of skewing history to one’s own likeness. 

Official committees regarding H.B. 454 and H.B. 616 have not been held; alrough, multiple protests, rallys, letters, calls, articles and columns against the bills have flooded Ohio. 

We mustn’t be blindsided by faith-led people in politics who hold direct agendas targeting marginalized groups of people. It’s evident that brain power has nothing to do with this fight, so we must keep showing up for one another – whether that means protesting, calling your representatives, or letting your transgender friends know that they are loved…just show up.

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