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Ohio’s bathroom bill approved by education committee, heading to House floor for vote

The Higher Education Committed voted 10-5 in favor of House Bill 183, also known as the bathroom bill, on Wednesday. The bill would ban transgender students from using restrooms aligned with their gender identity.

House Bill 183 would require K-12 schools, chartered non-public schools, and institutions of higher education to designate specified restrooms for students of the male and female biological sex.

Opponents of the bill, including families of transgender students, called the bill discriminatory toward their children.

“It’s a really sick feeling for parents,” Jeanne Ogden said. “She (Ogden’s transgender daughter) has already confided in me that she is looking at dropping all of her summer classes if this bill goes into effect. Her classroom building does not have single-use restrooms, so she will be rushing across campus when she needs to use the bathroom, and she doesn’t feel safe. She’s scared.”

Supporters of the bill have said it protects the greater population of students state-wide.

“Me and my republican colleagues have heard from constituents all across the state,” Representative Adam Bird, a sponsor of the bill, said. “They may not have been loud. They may not have been vocal. They may not have come with a sign to the state house. But we are representing a vast majority of Ohioans who want protection in a restroom.”

Bird continued, “It’s the voices of our constituents who are asking us to protect their kids and grandkids. It’s about school superintendents across the state who have asked me for this bill, and it’s about the legislative branch that needs to weigh in on this bill.”

Families told ABC6 that legislation, like House Bill 183, has them considering leaving the state.

“It’s exhausting,” parent Betty Elswick said. “It’s hard. Especially when you love your state so much. This is home, but I want my child to feel safe.”

“I want to pick her up and take her to a different state, but she has friends here. We have family here and doctors here,” Ogden said. “It’s exhausting. It’s depressing, and if it’s anxiety-producing for me, imagine what it’s like if you are a trans, younger person.”

House Bill 183 will now head to the House for a vote and then would have to go through the Senate Committee process as well before making it to Governor DeWine’s desk.

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