Two states, Ohio and Delaware, are attempting to forcibly out transgender children to their parents.
In Ohio, lawmakers are considering a bill, HB658, that would require both teachers and healthcare professionals to tell parents if their children are transgender, gender nonconforming, or questioning their gender identity.
“If a government agent or entity has knowledge that a child under its care or supervision has exhibited symptoms of gender dysphoria or otherwise demonstrates a desire to be treated in a manner opposite of the child’s biological sex, the government agent or entity with knowledge of that circumstance shall immediately notify, in writing, each of the child’s parents and the child’s guardian or custodian,” the proposed legislation, known as the Parent’s Rights Bill, and introduced by Republicans Reps. Paul Zeltwanger and Thomas Brinkman, reads.
A recent survey conducted by the Human Rights Campaign, in partnership with the University of Connecticut, involving 12,000 LGBTQ teens, 682 of whom were from Ohio, showed the potential danger if the bill becomes law. It is up for consideration by the Ohio state legislature in the fall.
64% of LGBTQ youth in Ohio surveyed said they had heard negative comments about being LGBTQ+ from their own family, with only 23% reporting being out of the closet to their closest family members.
“This unnecessary and discriminatory bill does nothing to support youth and families,” said Equality Ohio in a statement. “In fact, it puts the livelihoods of some of our most vulnerable youth––transgender youth––further at risk with bullying and discrimination by potentially forcing teachers to out them.”
Meanwhile, in Delaware an anti-discrimination policy meant to protect trans students has been twisted by Republicans to, like the attempts in Ohio, force them out to their parents. This despite the fact that the state has a Democratic governor and secretary of education.
The Delaware Department of Education succumbed to pressure and rewrote the policy, requiring teachers and school administrators to notify parents before recognizing a transgender student’s gender identity.
Former President Barack Obama issued a directive to public schools instructing them to respect the gender identity of transgender students and allow them to use the bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with that gender.
“It got on the radar on the professional anti-LGBT and trans people organizations and it has turned into a proposal that would actually make it worse for a lot of trans students,” National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling told Rewire.News of the proposed policy changes in Delaware.
“It’s our position that we’d better off without it. Delaware is such a positive state and has been a real beacon for [trans-friendly] public policy and this just isn’t.”
“The idea [for the initial regulation] was not to usurp parents’ rights or cut parents out of the process in any way shape or form, it was to make sure that a child was safe,” she said. “What the committee talked about was that, especially at the older ages, a lot of kids get thrown out of their home for this. There’s a large a percentage of the homeless population between [age] 16 and 24 which is made up of LGBTQ kids who have been thrown out of their home,” said Andrea Rashbaum, who has a transgender stepdaughter and served on the advisory committee that developed the initial version of the policy, known as Resolution 225.
According to research by the NCTE, transgender kids with unsupportive families are more likely to attempt suicide and experience homelessness.