HB 454 seeks to ban all affirmative medical and mental health care for LGBTQIA+ children and youth under the age of 18. What does the bill entail & why does it matter?
What is Ohio HB 454?
HB454 would prohibit any affirming care for LGBTQIA+ youth in Ohio referrals for the care of gender dysphoria and Medicaid payments for this care. The bill would also require counselors and educators to out queer youth to their parents and guardians.
The bill threatens to remove the licenses of medical professionals who provide affirming care and opens these practitioners to civil lawsuits. The bill also allows for the withdrawal of public funding from hospitals providing affirming care.
So why should Christians care?
1. Christians should care about life
In 2021, 45% of LGBTQIA+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide and one-in-five transgender and non-binary youth attempted suicide (Trevor Project). Gender-affirming care for children and adolescents has been repeatedly shown to improve mental health outcomes (Columbia University).
Increasing, not decreasing, access to gender-affirming medical and mental health care is a scientifically-proven way to reduce harm and improve the lives of transgender, non-binary, and gender-diverse children and adolescents. Reducing suicide rates in youth and advocating for children is something Christians should care about.
2. Christians should prioritize care
LGBTQIA+ people have historically lacked access to positive, affirming health care including mental health care.Over 60% of LGBTQIA+ youth who sought mental health care in 2021 were unable to access it. At the same time, LGBTQIA+ youth who found support and affirmation in their communities reported attempting suicide at significantly lower rates than their peers (Trevor Project).
If schools & classrooms are places where students can hear experiences like their own being talked about openly & in positive ways from a young age, this will reduce the stigma around sexuality & gender, which could lead to reduced suicide rates. Reducing suicide rates in youth is something Christians should care about.
3. Christians should care about love
The Christian community knows all too well what happens when people are silenced and important discussions are abandoned. Shame, fear, and isolation are the products of silence. Grace, mercy, and peace are the products of love. While some Christians may struggle with gender-diverse identities, we are called to love our neighbors.
Through LOVEboldly’s work over the years, we have seen how having open, honest conversations around these topics almost always leads to greater understanding, love & compassion. Let’s help our transgender, non-binary, and gender-diverse siblings access the affirming care they need with the dignity which they deserve.
So what can you do?
1. Contact local lawmakers
Tell Ohio lawmakers to denounce House Bill 454 and stop supporting harmful legislation. Call House Speaker Cupp at (614) 466-9624 and Representative Manchester at (614) 466-6344.
2. Share this information
Share what you learned today with other people! As Christians, instead of responding with fear, let's lean into these conversations & grow as people who speak with love & compassion on issues of sexuality & gender. Not sure where to start? Visit our website for resources to begin your journey.
Want to share this information another way?
Share our Instagram post or download the images and share it to your social media channels (and tag @loveboldly). You can also download our bulletin insert to include in your church bulletin, newsletters or other forms of communication!