Teachers would be enlisted to spy on their students and out transgender kids to their parents in Ohio if a proposed bill in the state becomes law.
The proposal would require any government agent — including teachers, who interact with students on a daily basis during the school year — to pen a note to both parents or a guardian if a minor is “exhibiting symptoms of gender dysphoria or otherwise demonstrates a desire to be treated in a manner opposite of the child's biological sex,” the bill states.
That requirement would undoubtedly make things difficult for many children in the state. Transgender kids in families where their identities aren’t recognized could be subjected to harassment or abuse from their guardians if this bill gets passed.
The bill also prohibits anyone from giving information or treatment to a minor who may be transgender if they haven’t properly notified their parents first. The bill’s author, Republican Rep. Tom Brinkman, said the aim is to preserve parental rights.
His solution for kids that are trans that don’t like his bill?
“[I]f somebody doesn't like it, you're emancipated at age 18 and you can go do whatever the heck you want,” he explained.
Bills like these and others like them, however, focus on making life more miserable for transgender children. They do not consider these students’ rights to privacy. While it’s the hope that every child and their parents can have good lines of communication, that isn’t always the case, especially for children living in households with bigoted viewpoints.
For those children, staying silent about their identities is necessary to keep them safe. Brinkman’s bill would remove that tool for many kids’ survival.
Forcing teachers to out their transgender students would make things invariably more difficult for those children. The bill is mean-spirited and should be rejected outright by the rest of the Ohio state legislature.