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Controversial Ohio bill to deny gender affirming care to kids won't be considered during lame duck

Daniel Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
Demonstrators outside the Ohio Statehouse showing support for transgender kids as a House committee hears a Republican backed bill to ban gender affirming treatments for minors under 18.

A bill that would have restricted gender affirming care for transgender children will not be taken up during the lame duck session of the Ohio Legislature, which means lawmakers won't consider it anymore before the end of this calendar year.

Rep. Gary Click (R-Vickery), sponsor of a bill that would have made it harder for children to get puberty blockers or hormone treatment, said he’s made the decision to hold off consideration on his bill because it would be too much of a rush to get it through the lame duck session.

Maria Bruno, executive director of Equality Ohio, said she’s relieved — at least for now.

“We also won’t get too comfortable because we know that the fight is far from over," Bruno said.

Bruno said she's hopeful Ohio lawmakers considering the bill were swayed by the nearly 300 people who testified about the bill earlier this year.

"My hope is that people will take a long, hard look before they try to pass bills like this that are full of government over-reach and take personal, private medical decisions away from parents and kids and overrule the expertise of doctors," Bruno said.

The bill has created controversy since it was first considered earlier this year and many raised questions about the science behind it. It also attracted attention from Amy Schneider, a transgender woman who won more than $1 million as a “Jeopardy!” champion on the popular nationally-televised game show.

Schneider, who grew up in Dayton, told lawmakers on the committee considering the bill that, from the moment she was born, it was as if a “quiet alarm” was going off in her head. But she said, after decades of living with that “agony,” she came out as trans and that alarm was silenced. Schneider said she wanted to use her platform to oppose HB454, which would not allow people under 18-years-old to receive gender transition care.

“When I heard about that, I knew that the lives of children were at risk. Lives of children that I know personally were at risk because gender affirming health care for trans people saves lives. And I just had to do what I could to resist it,” said Schneider.

Click made it clear that just because the bill is done for this General Assembly, he intends to bring it back in 2023. Click said he thinks it is essential to pass a bill like this to protect children from what he believes are permanent medical risks.

Contact Jo Ingles at jingles@statehousenews.org.