Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Local leaders mark Transgender Day of Visibility and condemn bills at the Ohio Statehouse

Local officials marked International Transgender Day of Visibility Friday at Cincinnati City Hall, using the event as an opportunity to denounce some state legislation.

"I grew up with 365 days of trans invisibility," said Cathy Allison of the Transgender Advocacy Council, Heartland Trans Wellness, and Crossport Cincinnati.

Allison says she realized she’s transgender in 1964, at about age 7.

"[Of] all the of all the trans women I know who transitioned to full time in the 1990s, only two are involved with the trans community — everybody else is living stealth because they're afraid," she said. "Visibility without protection is what we're dealing with."

This week Kentucky lawmakers passed Senate Bill 150, which bans all gender-affirming medical care for trans youth. Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed the legislation, but lawmakers quickly overturned the veto.

Indiana lawmakers also passed a measure banning gender-affirming care for trans youth. It has been sent to Gov. Eric Holcomb to either sign or veto; he hasn't publicly indicated what he'll do.

Advocates say this year has seen a record number of anti-LGBTQ laws introduced in states across the country.

RELATED: The fight over Kentucky's transgender care ban was long and emotional

Elliot Jules Paige Draznin is director of diversity, equity and inclusion for Cincinnati Pride.

“Transgender Day of Visibility is a day to celebrate the fact that despite continued attacks on our livelihood, we thrive," they said. "Despite there being people in the world that want to kill us, we live loudly and proudly and authentically. Visibility cannot be the end goal — the end goal must be justice.”

Reggie Harris, the first openly gay Black Cincinnati Council Member, organized the event.

"Visibility and being out in the world is something that should be celebrated, and so there should be a sense of joy," Harris said. "But we know that [the] increase in visibility has increased targeting and dehumanization of people, and so that leads us to this moment and to the fight."

RELATED: Public Single-Stall Bathrooms In Cincinnati Can No Longer Be Restricted By Gender

Harris authored a resolution condemning two bills introduced at the Ohio Statehouse this year; Council passed the resolution unanimously Wednesday.

Ohio House Bill 6 would bar transgender athletes from women’s sports. House Bill 8 would require public schools to notify parents about their child’s wellbeing, which could include a child not wanting their parents to know they’re gay or transgender.

"They are hateful transphobic laws," Harris said. "Our commitment is that as they pop up that we will continue to make sure that we say those are hateful, they have no place in our city. And we will continue to make sure that the city of Cincinnati is as inclusive and welcoming as possible."

RELATED: Council votes to protect Cincinnatians from discrimination based on abortion

Last summer city officials established a new policy to reimburse city workers for the cost of traveling to get medical care not available locally. The impetus of that policy was the overturning of Roe v. Wade, but it also includes traveling for gender-affirming care.

"To the extent that we have employees that live in Kentucky, who are looking for gender affirming care, that would be covered," Mayor Aftab Pureval said. "The only caveat I would say is, I think our legal department is taking a look at what has been passed in our surrounding communities and making sure that our policy can withstand any sort of litigation."

Officials planned to raise the transgender pride flag outside City Hall as part of the event but delayed that because flags are being flown at half-mast in remembrance of the Nashville school shooting victims. Harris says they will raise the transgender pride flag along with the LGBTQ pride flag in June.

Read council's full resolution below:

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.