Ohio Republicans want to ban gender-affirming care for trans youth—even if parents approve of it

Ohio Republicans want to ban gender-affirming care for trans youth—even if parents approve of it

As Daily Kos has covered, Republicans are eager to attack trans folks via a handful of approaches at the state level. Banning trans girls from participating in girls’ sports teams, for example, tends to get a lot of national media coverage. In addition to the anti-trans sports bills, however, state lawmakers have tried to stop trans people of all ages from updating their birth certificates as well as pushing legislation that would bar physicians from prescribing gender-affirming, age-appropriate medical care. The latest state to introduce such legislation? Ohio.

The disturbingly titled (and misleading) bill is called the Save Adolescents from Experiment Act (“SAFE”), also known as HB 454. Republican Reps. Diane V. Grendell and Cary Click introduced the bill, which would punish medical professionals for providing potentially lifesaving gender-affirming health care to trans minors—even if the youth has parental consent, as reported by the Ohio Capital Journal

HB 454 aims to bar trans youth from receiving any kind of puberty blockers, surgeries, and hormonal treatments, even if parents or guardians approve of them. The bill would require public and private school teachers, nurses, and therapists at schools to out trans youth to their parents. In fact, school staff wouldn’t even be able to suggest that the youth in question keep their identity from their parents, which is dangerous for obvious reasons.

In terms of insurance, it would bar private insurance, plus Ohio Medicaid, from covering gender-affirming care for minors. Physicians who provide this care anyway could be charged with “unprofessional conduct,” which could potentially open physicians to being sued for providing such care. It could also lead to physicians getting in trouble with medical licensing agencies.

“My fear is that there are consequences that while the adults in the room are fighting about who gets to say what about what their future is, the children are the most affected and could tragically take some action to end their own lives because they do not feel the support that they need,” Democrat Nickie Antonio, who serves as the assistant minority leader for the Ohio Senate, told Spectrum News in an interview.

Parent Claudia Longo spoke to local outlet WKYC about the legislation and how it would impact her 17-year-old child, who, according to Longo, was around 10 when he started talking about his gender and identity. Since then, Longo says they’ve found him a supportive mental health team and have started doing research and reading more to learn how to be supportive and affirming. 

“They’re making it so hard for them as it is,” Longo told the outlet in reference to the anti-trans bill. “It is already hard.” She added that gender-affirming treatments are not decisions “parents are making in a rush.”

The bill suggests that there hasn’t been enough research done on gender-affirming care, but we actually already know gender-affirmation can be legitimately lifesaving. Plus these are not experimental treatments being prescribed on the fly; it’s age-appropriate and safe care on a case-by-case basis. In general, gender-affirming care has massive support from actual health care professionals and experts—you know, the people who actually know what they’re talking about.

“This bill attempts to ban evidence-based medical treatment that is supported by medical professionals, including but not limited to the American Academy of Pediatricians, the Endocrine Society, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the American Psychiatric Association,” Maria Bruno, public policy director for Equality Ohio, explained according to Cleveland.com

But we know Republicans don’t really care about trans people one way or another—they just think they’ve found a vulnerable group to scapegoat, and they’re sticking with it. 

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