A resolution has been put forward to the Ohio Board of Education that can only be described as state-sponsored discrimination against transgender (trans) and gender expansive youth. The so-called “Resolution to Support Parents, Schools, and Districts in Rejecting Harmful, Coercive, and Burdensome Gender Identity Policies” is filled with dangerous misinformation and advocates for lawlessness. The Society for Sexual, Affectional, Intersex, and Gender Expansive Identities of Ohio (SAIGEO) unequivocally condemns and opposes this resolution. As counselors we have in-depth knowledge of mental and emotional well-being and can say without a doubt that this resolution will irreparably harm trans and gender expansive youth.
Not only does the resolution go against the state board’s core mission to support public education for all Ohio students, it also attempts to undermine Title IX protections. Title IX was created to protect marginalized people in educational settings. This resolution openly calls for school districts to break the law simply because some people disagree with federal guidance. This is a dangerous precedent to set especially with laws regarding children.
The resolution contains glaring misinformation about gender, sex, and “scientific facts”. It is curious that a resolution that claims “denying the reality of biological sex destroys foundational truths upon which education rests” puts forward so much demonstrably false and scientifically disproven information about biology and sex. This inconsistency demonstrates that this is not a good faith effort to protect children but a political stunt.
This resolution also spreads falsehoods about transition related care for trans and gender expansive youth. Medical intervention for this population is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Endocrine Society and the American Academy of Family Physicians and is viewed by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), and the Society for Sexual, Affectional, Intersex, and Gender Expansive Identities (SAIGE) as evidence-based care. To suggest that this life-saving treatment is dangerous is both inaccurate and cruel.
Trans and gender expansive youth are two to three times more likely to develop depression and anxiety disorders as compared to their cisgender peers. Forty percent of trans and gender expansive youth report attempting suicide and eighty-two percent of trans people have seriously considered suicide. This does not occur because they are transgender but because of the lack of support they receive and the discrimination they experience. This resolution will only exacerbate this distress for trans and gender expansive youth. It is not hyperbolic to say that the passage of this resolution could kill children.
Included in this resolution is the demand that schools disclose to parents if their child is trans, gender expansive, or questioning their gender identity. According to the Human Rights Campaign only one in four LGBTQIA children in America feels safe being authentic in their own home. Therefore, this resolution puts defenseless children in danger of abuse, trauma, and even homelessness.
As clinical mental healthcare professionals, school counselors, counselor educators, and counselors-in-training we stand against this dangerous resolution that attempts to make vulnerable children cannon-fodder in an ill-conceived and ill-informed culture war. Ohio’s educational system must be founded on respecting, nurturing, and supporting children and this resolution will do the opposite. We hope that the Ohio Board of Education will take our submitted comment seriously and act to protect all Ohio students from this resolution.
2022-23 SAIGEO Executive Board
Dr. Tara Hill, President
Chase Morgan-Swaney, Past President
Sarah Hatch, President-Elect
James Thomas, Treasurer
Kristin Curran, Secretary
Gene Dockery, SE Ohio Rep. & Liaison to the OCA Gov't Relations Cmte.
Kelsey Scanlan, IT Rep. & Central Ohio Rep.
Mariah Payne, NE Ohio Rep.
Grey Nelei-Nunnemaker, SW Ohio Rep.
Yub Kim, Emerging Leader
Emmett Drugan, Emerging Leader