LGBTQ Equality

The health care of trans people should not hinge on someone else’s religion

  The health care of trans people should not hinge on someone else’s religion

By Co Clark

Christian Nationalists in Ohio are prioritizing their religious beliefs and fake facts over the health and lives of transgender residents. Let’s break that down.

House Bill 68 (AKA “the SAFE Act”) is one of the most highly contested pieces of legislation in Ohio right now. It bans all types of gender-affirming care for minors and says that no trans women or girls can play on women’s sports teams. (The bill’s previous version took minors off their hormones, but due to public pressure, a grandfather clause was added.)

In the discussions surrounding this bill in the Republican-controlled legislature, fact-checked and reliable evidence in favor of gender-affirming care was disregarded. Trans people who went out of their way to testify at the statehouse were disparagingly dismissed as lobbyists, and Democrats speaking in favor of gender-affirming care were silenced.

This anti-trans bill was spearheaded by state Rep. Gary Click (R-Fremont). Click is a pastor of the Fremont Baptist Temple, a graduate of the Midwestern Baptist College in religious education and former chaplain for law enforcement and in hospice care. He is also the primary sponsor of the Detransition Awareness Day Act and is a co-sponsor for a so-called parents’ bill of rights.

Click has been quoted stating, “[Gender-affirming care] is not best medical practice. I do believe it is child abuse.” He said this about care that has been affirmed and endorsed by almost every major medical association. It’s care that, by the way, encompasses a range of medical interventions, including talk therapy, vocal training, laser hair removal, hormone replacement therapy, surgery, puberty blockers and more.

When it comes to trans health care, we should prioritize the views of trained medical professionals over Christian Nationalists.

As of writing, HB 68 has been passed by the state legislature in an override of Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto and is now the subject of a planned court challenge by the ACLU of Ohio before it goes into effect in less than 90 days.

The arguments leading up to the decision to pass HB 68 are the exact reason why I am for church-state separation. We must oppose any political movement that seeks to impose narrow religious beliefs on all of us and that wants to use the government, which is supposed to represent everyone, to promote transphobia, white supremacy and other forms of bigotry.

Some lawmakers yearn to push their agenda for a heterosexual, cisgender population with a strict gender binary onto their constituents, all in the name of God. But I remain committed to the fight for an inclusive Ohio, and I hope you’ll join me, wherever you live.

Co Clark is a member of Americans United’s Youth Organizing Fellowship

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