Ohio Republicans Demand Right To Inspect Children's Genitals
This week, Ohio House Republicans decided to relive their high school bully glory days by passing a bill banning kids they don't like from sports.
On the first day of Pride Month, no less, these grown ass adults took a bill (HB 151) about revising the Ohio Teacher Residency Program that did not have jack shit to do with their agenda and amended it to enact their insipidly titled "Save Women's Sports Act" (HB 61), which will not only ban transgender students from taking part in sports, it will allow parents, teachers, or literally any uninvolved stranger to demand a physician perform "external and internal genital inspections," testosterone level checks, and genetic makeup tests of any student athlete they merely suspect may be transgender.
It is not clear who would be paying for this service.
As an added bit of grossness, the bill also includes provisions protecting those who try to out student athletes as being transgender by forcing them to undergo such an evaluation — it allows them to sue if they experience any "adverse action" as a result of their bullying.
Any participant who is subject to retaliation or other adverse action by a school, school district, interscholastic conference, or organization that regulates interscholastic athletics as a result of reporting a violation of this section shall have a private cause of action for injunctive relief, damages, and any other relief available against the entity that takes the retaliatory or other adverse action.
As an aside, if these people think the only kids who are going to be subjected to these "genital inspections" are trans kids they don't care about, they must not remember school very well. There is no question that there will be little assholes demanding that every kid they hate and don't want on their team be humiliated in this way. They may end up having to pay for a doctor's visit so that their own kid can be "inspected" so that the doctor can report back to their bully that they are the gender they say they are, just so they can be on the field hockey team.
Republicans supporting the bill, of course, tried to play it off like what they were really concerned about was girls' sports and ability to win and compete and get scholarships.
Via ABC 5 Cleveland:
State Rep. Jean Schmidt, a Republican from Loveland, is very passionate about this issue because of her running career.
"I have fought my entire life for equal rights for women, this is equal rights for women," Schmidt said.
The Republican used her time to talk about how, one time, she placed second in a track meet. She did not lose to a transgender woman, but this was before Title IX came into play, so she couldn't get scholarships.
"It's also the sense of pride that you get when you cross that finish line first, and you get that little coffee cup or you get that little medal," she said. "We take that away when we give somebody an unfair advantage that we cannot compete against transgender women if they have the same athletic training as biological women have a much better shot at that trophy or that coffee cup or that scholarship."
I will say that I get this. Part of it, anyway. My mother went to school pre-Title IX, loved track, was the fastest runner in her school (including the boys) but couldn't be on a track team because they didn't even have one for girls. It was heartbreaking for her. It wasn't right and it wasn't fair. What I don't understand is why anyone would want to do that to anyone else. No one should be barred from playing sports on account of their gender.
The scenario Rep. Schmidt is imagining is not even happening, because the current Ohio High School Athletic Association (OSHAA) regulations actually already account for things like testosterone levels, the amount of time a student has been transitioning, and other things that might give someone who was assigned a different gender at birth an unfair advantage. In the entire time these regulations have been in place, there has not been more than one transgender girl participating in high school sports in Ohio.
In fact, there is just one now. One sweet little girl named Ember who just wants to play softball with her friends.
"Being able to play on the girls team is absolutely amazing, it's a total dream," Ember, a softball player and high school junior, told ABC 5. "I feel at home and I can be myself and push myself every day to do my best, and I don't have to put on the mask or pretend to be someone else to enjoy the sport that I love."
One kid. They're pushing a bill to keep one kid from playing softball. Not because she's some kind of Babe Ruth powerhouse who is going to crush the competition. She's no bigger or stronger than any other girls her age — in fact I am pretty sure she is smaller than I was at her age. But that's not why they're doing this. They're doing this because it's red meat for the Republican base, largely made up of people who were bullies in high school and haven't felt such power since. People who want to get to relive the joy and excitement of being mean to kids who are different, because they never really figured out any other way to feel good about themselves. People who need one group they get to be legally better than.
It should be noted that this is not the first time they have tried to pass such a bill — and it didn't work before. Republican Governor Mike DeWine actually refused to sign it. But while there's no guarantee that it's going to become the law, it's hard enough being a kid — trans or not — without knowing that the state legislature wants to make your life even more miserable.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse