CLEVELAND- It is being called the latest attempt by anti-LGBTQ extremists inside the Ohio Statehouse, targeting transgender youth.
“Teens already have so many things that they have to consider and the obstacles that they’re faced with every day.”
Jackson Siegel, youth program coordinator at Cleveland’s LGBT Community Center, responds to House Bill 658 or the Parent’s Rights Bill.
Sponsored by Republican House Representatives Ron Brinkman and Paul Zeltwanger, the bill would allow parents to deny transgender children the right to transition.
It is a proposal that hits close to home for Siegel who is a transgender man.
“It becomes more difficult as individuals get older, so we have secondary sex characteristics that develop as a function of puberty. These all become extremely difficult and more arduous in the transition process if the resources aren’t there for individuals to begin this during their teenage years.”
This legislation was inspired following a recent court ruling by the Ohio First District Court of Appeals in which the grandparents of a 17-year old trans boy were awarded custody, after his family tried to force him into conversion therapy.
Adding to the controversy, the bill would also require teachers to “out” transgender kids to their parent or guardians, if a child demonstrates a desire to be treated opposite of their biological sex.
Siegel said, “We need to empower these youth to be able to make these decisions in a timeline that works best for them. And to take that away, is going to have such negative implications.”
Opponents add the proposed law seems frivolous since children under 18 already need parental consent to begin hormone treatment.
The bill was introduced in the Ohio Statehouse last week.
Support in the general assembly is too early to tell.
Siegel adds, “We do not support this bill because we are firm believers in elevating and enriching the lives of LGBT people.”
FOX 8 did reach out to the sponsors of this bill for comment; our calls and emails were not returned.
But in testimony back in May, Rep. Brinkman said quote, “Parents have a fundamental right to decide what is best for their children.”