Ohioan Jeopardy Champion, Others Testify Against Anti-LGBTQ Health Care Bill

A crowded and sweltering Families, Aging and Human Services committee room was flanked by several overflow rooms, where applause could be heard after parents, trans advocates and individuals implored the committee not to pass House Bill 454. the House of Representatives, a bill created by the representative of the state member of the committee. Gary Click, Republican of Vickery.

One of the testimonials came from Dayton native Amy Schneider, a trans woman who became a Jeopardy! super champion, and has used her platform to support her fellow members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“To have the chance in Ohio, where I spent 30 years of my life, to have the chance to make a difference and to have the chance to at least stop these laws and give trans kids a little more time to live. be careful, so I have to do it, ”Schneider told the OCJ before giving his testimony before the committee.

In his testimony, he sought not to demonize those who support the bill, but rather to ask them to do what they say is the main goal of the bill: protect children.

“But if you share that goal, passing this bill would be a tragic mistake,” Schneider said. “Because far from protecting children, this bill would put some of them in grave danger, a danger that not all would survive.”

Several of those who testified, including Schneider, called gender-affirming attention a “lifeline” as it would help suicide rates among trans people and the general mental health of those trying to live the way they want to live.

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“With this bill, I wouldn’t be able to appear the way I want to appear to the public in a way that appeals to me very much,” said Cass Steiner, 15, who appeared with her mother, Kat. “This is likely to send me, and everyone else awaiting treatment, into another deep depression.”

Ohioan Jeopardy Champion, Others Testify Against Anti-LGBTQ Health Care Bill IMG 5723
State Rep. Gary Click, R-Vickery, watches as the House Committee on Families, Aging and Human Services, of which he is a member, listens to testimony against his bill restricting gender-affirming care, the House Bill 454. The bill did not see a vote on Wednesday.
Photo: Susan Tebben, OCJ

In the midst of two hours of testimony, Click submitted a substitute version of the bill, which he said was an attempt to “meet in the middle” of opposition and support.

In the new version, puberty blockers or hormone therapy are allowed for minors, but only after a doctor confirms that the child “has routinely received counseling related to puberty for at least a two-year period.” gender dysphoria, mental health and the risks of gender transition”, according to the sub-project analysis by the Legislative Services Commission.

A doctor should also assess for other things that “may be influencing the child’s gender dysphoria,” such as depression, autism, or ADHD, and “ensure that these comorbidities are treated and stabilized for at least two years.”

In addition to other evaluations for physical, sexual, mental, and emotional abuse, a second doctor must be consulted and the treatment plan accepted.

Asked twice how the two-year time frame was decided, Click told reporters that “it was discussed by other people who came up with that and I thought it sounded reasonable.”

He did not specify who he consulted with to get to that amount of time.

The surrogate bill also seeks to track the number of medical and therapy appointments the minor attended before a doctor recommended hormones or puberty blockers, any mental health condition before being diagnosed with a ” condition related to gender” and any monitoring of the minor. received after treatment.

The bill also requires physicians to report “the number of minors who have resumed identification with their biological sex” and “the number of minors previously prescribed medications or hormones by their physicians who have not received those hormones or medications for a year or more.” ”, according to the LSC analysis.

That information would be reported annually to the Ohio General Assembly and Department of Health.

Like the abortion ban currently upheld in court, violation of HB 454 could put doctors’ medical licenses at risk, and the state Attorney General would be empowered to sue anyone who violates the bill. , should it become law.

The bill failed to vote during Wednesday’s committee meeting, and Chair Susan Manchester, R-Waynesfield, adjourned the meeting immediately after the last witness for the day ended.

It is unclear what the bill’s fate will be from here, with the General Assembly session wrapping up at the end of December. More hearings could be scheduled, which Click supports because he said there are more people to listen to, particularly those who have been “damaged” by gender-affirming attention.

He said the testimony he heard Wednesday was nothing he hadn’t heard before, but he didn’t change his mind about the bill.

“(Kids) need to have that period to get through this to make sure it’s not a phase, that it’s not a social contagion…we want to give them that legitimate opportunity to get through this,” Click said.

He said he won’t “rule anything out” in terms of further amendments to the bill, but feels the bill has gotten as close to “medium” as possible.

“There are supporters of this bill who are not happy with some of the concessions we made, and of course opponents are not happy with the fact that we didn’t do enough,” Click said.

For Schneider, he sees attempts to prevent trans people from receiving the care they need as a negative response to the success and progress the trans community has made in recent decades. Progress that will continue, she says.

“Momentum will continue to be on our side and there is this pain right now, but this is just the last gasp of that resistance,” Schneider said.