COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) – The battle over bathrooms is heating up in Ohio, as state lawmakers introduce a bill restricting the facilities that transgender students can use. 

The proposal would require students to use the restroom that matches their biological sex, not the gender they identify with.

The word “transgender” is not written anywhere in the bill, but the proposed changes to the law, make it clear that it is targeted to students who identify with a gender, other than the one they were born with.

Similar laws have been passed in several other states, now the debate is here in Ohio.

House Bill 183 was introduced into the Ohio House of Representatives Tuesday, primarily targeting transgender students. The title of the bill states it “regards single-sex bathroom access in schools and universities.”

The primary sponsors of the bill are Republican state representatives Beth Lear of Galena, north of Columbus, and Adam Bird of New Richmond, south of Cincinnati.

Nineteen other House Republicans signed on as co-sponsors.

The new language in the proposed law states, “No school shall permit a member of the male biological sex to use a student restroom, locker room, changing room or shower room that has been designated by the school for the exclusive use of the female biological sex.”

The language is the same for biological females who want to use male facilities. Although the bill does have, “accommodation such as single-occupancy facilities… at the request of a student due to special circumstances.”

If passed, the law would apply to K-12 schools and universities in Ohio.

The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland issued a statement reading, in part, “We are in opposition to this house bill along with the many that have been introduced this year aimed at restricting the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals. We are here always to connect our community to resources that will help them through these disturbing trends towards social inequity. We remain committed to be that force of change and tip the scales back to the socially just treatment of all individuals.”

Ohio House committees have already passed legislation blocking transgender students from competing in women’s sports and preventing doctors from prescribing gender affirming treatment for minors.

The school bathroom debate created a heated school board meeting in Mentor back in March.

“I absolutely believe biological boys should stay in their own bathrooms and locker rooms and that girls should have the protection of having their own space in their own rooms,” said parent  Leah McCullough at the time.

“I think it’s ridiculous. I think these people don’t think they are affecting us trans kids as much as it is. I think these people think they are trying to protect, but in reality they are doing more bad than good,” said transgender student Brady Anderson.

In March, the Mentor school board voted 3 to 2 to support the Biden administration’s changes to Title IX, extending discrimination protections to transgender students.

HB 183 still has many steps to clear before it becomes law.

If passed, it would not impact a child under 10 with a parent or a person helping someone with a disability.