COLUMBUS – Today, State Reps. Beth Liston (D-Dublin) and Jessica E. Miranda (D-Forest Park) held a press call to discuss the dangerous impact of House Bill (HB) 151, legislation requiring high school athletes to prove their gender by submitting to intrusive inspections of their genitalia and other invasive tests. HB 151 was passed by House Republicans on a party-line vote in the late hours of legislative session on Wednesday, June 1.
Reps. Liston and Miranda were joined by Dr. Anita Somani, an OB/GYN, and Dr. Patricia Goetz, a child and adolescent psychiatrist.
"House Bill 151 is legislation that we can describe only as sick and disturbing, as it requires so-called ‘genital inspections’ for children who want to play school sports. To our House Republican colleagues who passed this bill, we say: our children’s sexual development is none of your business. House Democrats will continue to fight against this extreme bill on behalf of children and families in Ohio," said Rep. Liston, a physician.
HB 151 is a badly designed effort to exclude transgender students from sports teams by requiring any student, at any time, to submit to an unwanted inspection of their internal and external reproductive anatomy.
During the call, Rep. Miranda, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, discussed how traumatizing this legislation would be for children.
“This extreme legislation, which would require children to have genital exams to play high school sports, is nothing short of state sanctioned sexual abuse. No child should ever be forced to experience the same fear, trauma and humiliation survivors of sexual abuse often feel simply because they want to play a sport that they love,” said Rep. Miranda.
Dr. Anita Somani, an OB/GYN, explained in length just how invasive and intrusive genital exams required in HB 151 are.
“An internal and external evaluation of reproductive anatomy as required by HB 151 is not simply 'looking' and goes beyond a normal sports physical. Internal genital exams are not routinely performed on children and high school students unless there is a specific medical indication, and even then, they are done carefully in a manner designed to build trust and minimize trauma,” said Dr. Somani. “I have performed thousands of pelvic exams over the last 30 years, and I can tell you from personal and professional experience that they are invasive and uncomfortable even for adult women who have a close trusting relationship with their physician. I can only imagine the trauma a middle school or high school girl would experience, first on being accused of not being a true girl, and then having to undergo an invasive and painful exam in order to prove to a stranger that her genitals meet their expectations.”
Dr. Patricia Goetz, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, further emphasized the traumatic impact HB 151 would have on the psychological health and well-being of Ohio’s children.
“Girls and women who have had sexual trauma experience re- traumatization from gynecological exams whereby they can have: overwhelming emotions, intrusive or unwanted thoughts, memories or feelings or feelings of detachment from their bodies. This exam will bring about more trauma and more post-traumatic stress symptoms for girls,” said Dr. Goetz.
HB 151 now proceeds to the Ohio Senate for consideration, where Senate President Matt Huffman has indicated it has traction to pass in some form.
Watch the full press call HERE.