Ohio’s Transgender Bathroom Ban and Feminist Group Involvement

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Ohio transgender bathroom ban legislation

Significant Influence on Legislation

A group described as “radical feminist,” known as the Women’s Liberation Front, has been influential in shaping anti-trans legislation across the United States and has also played a significant role in a proposed Ohio law. This law would prohibit transgender individuals in schools and on college campuses from using bathrooms that match their gender identity and appearance, according to emails obtained by the Ohio Capital Journal.

Details of the Proposed Law

Introduced last May by state Reps. Beth Lear, R-Galena, and Adam Bird, R-New Richmond, Ohio House Bill 183, also known as the Protect All Students Act, mandates that each student restroom, locker room, changing room, or shower room that is accessible to multiple students at the same time be designated for the exclusive use of students of the male or female biological sex only. Additionally, the bill would prohibit the construction or maintenance of any multi-occupancy facility that is non-gendered, multi-gendered, or open to all genders.

Arguments and Controversies

During the bill’s first hearing on October 4, 2023, in the House Education Committee, Lear stated that her legislation aims to “protect all students and restore sanity,” criticizing public schools for affirming the gender identity of students. Lear argued, “Affirming confusion is not compassion,” and that such practices “put all students at risk.”

Studies and Opposition

A 2018 study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law on gender-inclusive public accommodations, such as bathrooms, showed that reports of privacy and safety violations in these spaces are exceedingly rare. Moreover, a 2019 CNN report based on data from the LGBTQ Teen Study indicated that transgender teens are more likely to be victims of sexual assault if they do not have access to bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity.

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Discussions and Amendments

The bill was passed by the House Higher Education Committee on April 10 after some minor revisions. Discussing these changes at the bill’s fourth hearing on January 10 of this year, Lear mentioned how input from academia influenced the modifications made.


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Collaboration and Strategies

Email exchanges between Lear and Sharon Byrne, executive director of the Women’s Liberation Front, reveal active support for this legislation and other restrictive measures, such as Ohio’s ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth. Byrne advised Lear on strategies to advance the bill, despite some resistance.

Reactions and Testimonies

The backlash against the bill is strong among parents and transgender students. Bradie, a transgender girl, and her mother Anne expressed their distress over these legislative initiatives, highlighting the profoundly negative impact such laws could have on their daily lives and well-being.

Conclusion

The Women’s Liberation Front continues to promote a version of feminism that excludes and limits the rights of transgender individuals, closely collaborating with right-wing groups to push forward laws they believe protect women and girls. However, this approach has drawn criticism for its lack of inclusivity and controversial methodology.

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