CLEVELAND (WJW) — An Ohio bill would require high school students whose sex is disputed or questioned to undergo a physician’s examination of their genitals in order to play sports.
During a remote press call Thursday, Democratic state representatives and several health experts expressed their opposition to House Bill 151, stating it targets transgender youth specifically but could also impact all high school athletes.
The bill passed the Republican-controlled Ohio House last week.
“We stand to protect all children from child sexual abuse…as state-sanctioned child sexual abuse, which we believe this particular piece of legislation is,” said Democrat Representative Jessica Miranda.
Eliana Turan, a board member at the LGBTQ Community Center of Greater Cleveland, said the bill was not based on any data and called it dangerous and scary for all Ohio youth.
“Unfortunately, Ohio has elected officials who are fomenting and recycling a lot of harmful narratives that are coming from hate groups and other anti-LGBTQ lobbies,” said Turan.
Under the bill, if an athlete’s sex is disputed the person would be required to establish their sex by presenting a signed doctor’s statement indicating sex based on an internal and external reproductive anatomy exam, testosterone levels, and analysis of the child’s “genetic makeup.”
State Representative Beth Liston called the bill part of an extremist agenda.
“According to the Ohio High School Athletic Association there is one child who is playing high school sports in Ohio that is a transgender student,” said Rep. Liston. “However, this bill is harming every child in Ohio, and I want to make sure everyone is aware of that.”
The bill states participants deprived of athletic opportunity or “suffers direct or indirect harm” as a result of a violation can sue for damages against the school, school district or interscholastic conference or organization.
“These are not normal exams,” said OhioHealth OB/GYN Dr. Anita Somani. “You don’t prove gender by doing a blood test or by doing a physical exam.”
Akron-based CANAPI, an LGBTQ resources organization in a statement called the bill a “tragic example of both a denial and loss of human rights.”
The organization’s Executive Director Rebecca Callahan said, “This bill is not based on any scientific or empirical evidence, it is based on bigotry and hatred.”
“With social media and everything else now you’re putting institutional bullying on top of it,” said Turan. “I think that if this bill were to come to fruition, and I pray it won’t, I fear that we’re going to have a lot of young people who are going to carry the trauma of this for generations.”