Transgender Jeopardy! champion Amy Schneider will testify Wednesday morning in the Ohio legislature against a bill that would block transgender youth from accessing gender-affirming medical care and require teachers to out trans kids to their unaccepting parents.
“It’s so important that LGBTQ+ Ohioans and those who love them fight to protect the children whose health and safety would be endangered by this misguided legislation,” Schneider, said in a statement released by Equality Ohio, the state’s LGBTQ advocacy organization.
Schneider is an Ohio native who gained national fame after winning 40 consecutive games on the quiz show. She has since shared details of her romantic life, high-profile appearances, and even her time addressing the White House press room ever since.
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The bill — H.B. 454 or the “Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act” — would outlaw the use of puberty blockers, hormones, and gender-reassignment surgical procedures on children under 18. It would forbid government funds or health insurance coverage from going toward individuals or organizations facilitating such care. It would also allow medical providers to be sued or face professional discipline for providing such care.
Additionally, the bill forbids teachers from withholding “from a minor’s parent or legal guardian information related to [a] minor’s perception that his or her gender is inconsistent with his or her sex,” forcing teachers to out students they suspect of being trans or non-binary.
Like most similar legislation, the bill’s actual text contains falsehoods, misrepresentations, and claims not backed up by any supporting evidence.
It claims that the “vast majority” of trans kids “identify with their biological sex in adolescence or adulthood” but provides no evidence for this claim. It says trans kids should pursue mental health care services before getting “extreme” hormonal and surgical interventions. (Most do. Genital surgeries aren’t performed on trans minors, and most hormone treatments are reversible.)
The legislation says doctors don’t understand the long-term effects of puberty blockers, even though such medications have been used for decades for kids with certain types of cancer. The legislation also lists the risks and side effects of gender-affirming medications and surgeries, even though all medical treatments and procedures have risks and side effects.
The bill is based on the idea that medical professionals are pushing transitional treatments upon gender non-conforming kids who’ve been peer-pressured into so-called “rapid onset gender dysphoria.” But no studies indicate that this is happening, and there’s a big difference between gender non-conforming kids and trans ones. Namely, trans kids consistently and persistently insist that they are trans.
“The risks of gender transition procedures far outweigh any benefit,” the legislation claims, even though numerous studies have shown that gender-affirming care reduces suicides and mental distress among trans youth.
Transgender young people who spoke with The Columbus Dispatch reported feeling frustrated over waiting for puberty blockers while their bodies change in undesirable ways. Even if a trans teen sees a mental health professional and is diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and gender dysphoria, this proposed law would force them to wait before receiving any gender-affirming treatment.
All major American medical associations recommend gender-affirming care for trans youth.
If Ohio passes its ban, it’ll be the third state to pass such a law. At least 15 other states have introduced similar legislation. Only Arkansas and Alabama have passed a ban so far, and a federal judge quickly blocked Arkansas’s from going into effect, and another judge blocked part of Alabama’s. Other states have blocked various insurers from funding such care, and Florida passed a ban through two state medical boards but not the legislature.
Olivia Hunt, policy director at the National Center for Transgender Equality, told The 19th the real goal of these bills is “to force trans people out of public life and restrict gender-affirming care access for all trans people, regardless of age.”