Teen transgender treatments targeted by Ohio lawmakers

The latest battle over transgender rights is erupting in the Ohio Statehouse where Republican lawmakers are backing a bill that would block medical treatments that delay the onset of puberty, which can allow youths more time to decide about their gender identity.

State Rep. Bill Dean, R-Xenia, is sponsoring a House bill, which is backed by Citizens for Community Values and opposed by EqualityOhio. The bill would punish doctors who prescribe gender-identity treatments such as hormone blockers that delay puberty.

In a co-sponsor request for the bill, Dean and state Rep. Ron Hood said the bill would:

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— prohibit medical and therapeutic practices on minors if the purpose is to affirm the minor’s dysmorphic gender perception;

— provide criminal penalties for medical providers;

— allow for civil lawsuits against medical providers;

— block removing child custody from parents who don’t consent to sexuality or identity counseling for the minor.

The bill, which has yet to be formally introduced, met criticism from EqualityOhio, an advocacy group that favors rights for LGBTQ Ohioans.

In a release sent by EqualityOhio, Dr. Scott Leibowitz of Nationwide Children’s Hospital THRIVE Gender Development Program said: “These types of legislative efforts pit the Hippocratic oath against the law, something that no medical or other healthcare professional should have to choose between. Evidence-based policy statements and clinical guidelines — published by every mainstream pediatric medical professional association — speak for themselves and are paving the path for minors to receive care that promotes the healthy outcomes the youth deserve.”

Dean and Hood say that medical providers encourage children to pursue puberty blockers, hormone treatments and/or surgical interventions for gender dysphoria “for the sake of suicide prevention” and that many children “outgrow gender dysphoria as puberty begins, as their biological identity becomes clearer.”

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