Controversial LGBTQ+ resolution introduced in Ohio BOE
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State Board of Education member Brennan Shea introduced a resolution Tuesday calling on schools and districts to reject what he calls “harmful and coercive gender identity policies.”
In June, the U.S. Department of Education released proposed changes to Title IX regulations, including protections for students who experience sexual harassment, assault, and gender-based discrimination.
Attorney General Dave Yost joined a lawsuit in July with 21 other attorneys general against the US Department of Agriculture, claiming the changes to Title IX were illegal.
“The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for East Tennessee, centers on USDA guidance issued on May 5, 2022 and a rule enacted on June 14, in which the department announced that it would interpret the prohibition against sex discrimination in Title IX and the Food and Nutrition Act 2008 to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” said a press release from the Yost’s office.
More than 60 people spoke at the board meeting where many said there could be an impact on students and families.
The resolution recently introduced by Shea opposes the Biden administration’s proposal to expand the Title IX definition of discrimination to include gender identity and sexual orientation.
The resolution calls a person’s gender “an immutable fact” and calls on the council to ask lawmakers to pass bills supporting the declaration.
“I sincerely hope that the state Board of Education will oppose the sweeping change and I would say illegal Title IX changes,” Shea said.
Christina Collins, is also a board member and said this resolution could have a direct effect on student-teacher relations.
“They lose that third person object, they don’t have to advise them, they don’t have to give them direction, they’re just a sounding board for the kids and I think that’s the greatest danger here,” Collins said.
Many parents, teachers and experts came to the meeting to testify against the resolution.
Among them was Ohio ACLU political strategist Sean McCann. He said resolutions like this could create an increase in feelings of isolation for trans youth.
“Homelessness and mental health issues for LGBTQ+ youth, often for this reason,” McCann said. “They’re not affirmed in their homes, in their communities, in schools, so that’s where we really see the impact.”
Although the rules are not yet in effect and would require the support of state legislation, Collins said they can still have a social impact.
“We send messages to our children about their worth as human beings and I just want to point out that’s the power of this conversation right now that it sends those kinds of messages,” Collins said.
The board plans to discuss the resolution at its Oct. 12 meeting, when the language of the document may change.
While the resolution supports the lawsuit against the Department of Agriculture if passed, Collins said local districts should adopt their own policies.