State Board of Ed passes anti-transgender resolution

The Ohio State Board of Education passed a controversial resolution involving Ohio’s transgender students by a 10-7 vote Tuesday, following months of agonizing by both board members and the public.

The Board of Education will now direct the interim state superintendent, Stephanie Siddens, to send a letter to all schools in Ohio letting them know of the board’s opposition to Title IX proposals under President Joe Biden’s administration that would increase protections for LGBTQ+ youth in schools.

The Title IX changes haven’t been passed yet as a current lawsuit is underway. The Ohio Attorney General is among the state attorney generals who are suing the federal government for the proposed changes.

However, if the Title IX changes do pass, schools that discriminate against transgender youth could lose key federal funding, such as school lunch funding.

The real effect on schools due to the resolution passing will likely be small. The public comment period for the change ended over the summer. A letter is expected to go out in the upcoming weeks to school districts informing officials of the state’s opposition to the changes.

But the effects are already being felt by both proponents and opponents of the resolution, who often gave deeply emotionally charged testimony during public comment periods in front of the Board of Education.

Proponents of the resolution cited their religious beliefs and their concerns about gender-affirming surgery, which can involve taking hormone blockers and extensive plastic surgery on a young person.

“Should the proposed rules ever take effect - and they may not - schools will be required to affirm that the thoughts and feelings of children override biological facts,” said Diana Fessler, a state board member from Bellefontaine

Opponents, including transgender youth and their parents, said the resolution would only make life more difficult for them and make it easier for people to discriminate against them.

“I want to say to many of the LGBTQ+ community, that there are people who do love you,” said Antoinette Miranda, a board member from Columbus, who voted against the resolution. “There are people who want the best for you, and it bothered me the hatefulness that really came out of some of the testimony.”

Three of the 10 people who voted in favor of the resolution represent the area: Charlotte McGuire, board president, who represents Montgomery and Miami Counties; Brendan Shea, who proposed the original resolution that has since been significantly altered and represents Greene County; and Jenny Kilgore, who represents Warren County and whose term will end in December after being defeated in the November election by former Cincinnati Public Schools teacher Katie Hofmann.

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