Ohio ready to criminalize gender-transition procedures on minors by doctors

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In this file photo, Republican Rep. Ron Hood of Ashville speaks at a press conference. Hood plans to introduce the “Protect Vulnerable Children Act” this week. (Andrew Welsh-Huggins/AP)

A proposed law to protect children from doctors who would irreversibly alter their gender and sexuality is drawing howls of protest in Ohio.

According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, Republican state Reps. Ron Hood and Bill Dean will introduce a bill this week that would make it a third-degree felony for doctors to provide gender-switching therapy or procedures to anyone under 18.

“My number one concern, by far and away, is the irreversible nature of these procedures,” Hood told the Enquirer. “These procedures, most of them, lead to sterilization. And these things are not reversible.”

The “Protect Vulnerable Children Act” would also give parents grounds to sue doctors who inflict such treatment on their children.

Equality Ohio, an LGBTQ rights group, said that the bill Ignores what it called “the fundamental reality of medical care for transgender youth.”

“Kids have it hard enough without Ohio House Representatives Hood and Dean invading their pediatrician’s appointment,” Executive Director Alana Jochum said in a statement.

Erin Upchurch, executive director of the Kaleidoscope Youth Center, said that the bill “blatantly perpetuates oppression, marginalization, and discrimination against transgender and non-binary youth.” The Columbus, Ohio nonprofit is “proud to be the largest and longest standing organization in Ohio serving queer youth,” its website says.

“Questioning, navigating, and/or exploring gender identity; identity in general, is a natural space of child and adolescent development. Young people in this space are not a threat to themselves or others; and should be supported with the best practices of affirmation and care,” Upchurch said.

As the 2020 legislative session begins, similar bills to protect young people from social trends have been proposed by lawmakers around the country.

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