Connect with us

Ohio

Heavy accumulation of snowfall makes clearing it a ‘fabulous’ effort

Winters in Cleveland can be a dreary time, but now we can hopefully at least look forward to another visit….

Published

on

Photo by Bethany Staley via Facebook/Twitter

LAKEWOOD, Oh. – As an Arctic air mass moved across the Midwest and into the Northeastern U.S. this past weekend, drawing in precipitation that led to several inches of snow falling with upwards of a foot or more in some areas and temperatures hovering in the teens to mid twenties, residents in this suburban Cleveland city were greeted with the sight of one person apparently untroubled by the weather.

The Plain Dealer/cleveland.com reported that a magical being appeared on Lakewood’s Wagar Avenue this weekend, snow blowing the sidewalk after Northeast Ohio got hit with inches of snow on Sunday.

A person dressed in an inflatable unicorn costume grabbed neighbors’ attention, working their way down Wagar Avenue, snow blowing the sidewalk for the entire street.

Local Lakewood resident, Bethany Staley took a couple of photos and a video and posted them to the Lakewood Community Facebook group, with the caption “Such an awesome community!!! The Wagar Ave. Unicorn was back this year and just made my night!!! My family and I loved watching him plow on by!!! Thank you, neighbor.”

The pictures were then shared on Twitter Sunday by SuzyLeeInCLE aka @WeThePeopleCLE which was then taken viral by appreciative users since its initial posting.

John Corlett replied to the tweet with a photo taken of the unicorn on Christmas Day in 2020.

“I was actually kind of sad when it didn’t snow this year on Christmas. I thought we might see him again,” Corlett said. “I remember that he even snow-blowed the driveway of someone who lived across the street.”

The Plain Dealer/cleveland.com noted; “Winters in Cleveland can be a dreary time, but now we can hopefully at least look forward to another visit from the mystical Lakewood snow-blowing unicorn, the next time it snows.”

Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

Ohio

Ohio school superintendent orders LGBTQ+ mural painted over

Debate over discussions about race, inclusion, & LGBTQ+ issues in Forest Hills Schools was reignited by the decision to paint over the mural

Published

on

The student created LGBTQ+ affirming mural inside Nagel Middle School before it was painted over. ( Photo Credit: Forest Hills Schools board member Leslie Rasmussen)

Cincinnati, Ohio – The Forest Hills Schools Board of Education meeting erupted in controversy Wednesday night as parents and community members reacted to the decision to paint over a student-created LGBTQ+ affirming mural at the start of the school year.

Superintendent Larry Hook, who was targeted by audience members during the public comments session, remained silent and did not respond to the criticism directly.

Cincinnati Public Radio station WVXU 91.7 FM reported that debate over discussions about race, inclusion, and LGBTQ+ issues in Forest Hills Schools was reignited by Hook’s decision to paint over the student-created mural, which depicted the hands of people of different races signaling love and solidarity surrounded by symbols of equality and acceptance of various sexual orientations.

According to WVXU 91.7 FM, dozens showed up to Wednesday’s meeting holding signs of the mural. Forest Hills parent Jeff Nye addressed Hook directly, calling his response to the initial backlash childish.

“A 7th or 8th grade kid — 12- or 13-years-old — damaged that banner and that’s unacceptable and should be punished,” Nye said. “But before that happened, you had an opportunity to reflect and take action, value the feedback you received, to lead by example, to lead with humility, and say ‘I made a mistake, I shouldn’t have put it there,’ but you didn’t. You doubled down. You didn’t act like leader. You acted like a kid. You took your ball and you went home and I’m incredibly disappointed.”

High school student Norah Zellen also had strong words for Hook, saying that permanently covering the mural will have a more negative impact on students than district leaders thought.

“The mural exhibited a safe and inclusive learning environment, yet it was painted over. This action shows thoughtlessness, a lack of authenticity, and calls into question if the school board and superintendent want some students erased,” Zellen told Hook.

The Superintendent defended his decision remarking:

“I’ve talked to a lot of people who were very upset that it was there,” he said. “So, it’s kind of created this battle that shouldn’t even be in schools. We need to focus on our education. We need to focus on what’s important. That doesn’t mean we marginalize anybody.”

WVXU 91.7 FM also reported that a small number of adults spoke out during public comment defending Hook’s decision. One attendee, who took offense to parents and students supporting the mural, was removed by law enforcement after getting into a physical interaction with another audience member.

Forest Hills School District Board of Education Meeting 9-20-23:

Continue Reading

Ohio

Ohio High School crowns LGBTQ+ prom court, threats erupt

Being voted for the honor of being prom royalty by their peers was special, at least until hate and negative feedback targeted the pair

Published

on

Kettering Fairmont High School in Kettering, Ohio, made history by crowning two LGBTQ+ students, seniors Dai’sean Conley and Rosie Green, as prom king and queen (Screenshot/WDTN NBC 2)

KETTERING, Oh. – The student body of Kettering Fairmont High School in this an inner suburb of Dayton, Ohio made history by crowning two LGBTQ+ students, seniors Dai’sean Conley and Rosie Green, as prom king and queen. What followed next was heated debate, acrimonious social media posts, and physical threats against the LGBTQ community and an arrest.

An annual Spring ritual of passage for high school age teenagers, prom is considered the seminal event marking the impending end of the academic school year, and for seniors the transition to college or jobs.

For seniors Dai’sean Conley and Rosie Green, who identifies as non-binary, voted for the honor of being prom royalty by their peers was special, at least until hate and negative feedback targeted the pair.

NBC News affiliate WDTN 2 reported that during the May 2, 2023 meeting of Kettering City Schools Board of Education public comments took an ugly turn. While the prom court received full support, local resident Joe Overholser believes prom king and queen should be a biological male and female.

“Till the last few years about all the history in the world, it’s kind of been understood,” Overholser said. “So, you know, so for whatever reason the last few years, it’s has been questioned. And I don’t think that’s a good thing for society.”

Michael Knote, the CEO and Executive Director of ‘Have A Gay Day,’ a Dayton- based LGBTQ+ community centre, food pantry and national web based outreach program told the Blade:

“Prom King and Queen was decided by the students of Kettering Fairmont High School in Kettering Ohio and while the students made their vote and decision it was an outraged community that took the joy away from the event,” Knote said.

“The students decided on 18-year-olds Rosita Green and Dai’sean Conley which identified as gender non-conforming.  The community showed at the most recent school board meeting with some parents and peers being supportive while others demanded change.  Ultimately the school made the decision that the school would stay with tradition for now and the students would decide the results of their Prom King and Queen,” he added.

“Even when I was given the crown and I put on my head, there’s a lot of boos in the crowd,” Conley said. “I didn’t hear them. I only heard the congratulating, which I was very thankful for.”

“It’s very demeaning,” Conley added. “It takes a lot for an individual to be able to bring themself back to who they are and believing in themselves and being fully confident and not letting things like that pull them out of who they are as a person.”

The Kettering City School’s Board of Education decided that the choice by the students despite the complaints would stand and the board said that it would not interfere.

The day after the board meeting, the high school received a threat via phone around 9 a.m. A spokesperson for the school district told WDTN 2 the threat was not towards one specific person, but a broad safety threat.

“Following district safety protocols, Fairmont’s on-site School Resource Officer was made aware of the phone call,” the spokesperson said.

Booking photo: Brandon Moore via Kettering Police Department

“Kettering Police were able to determine immediately that the phone call had come from a location in Beavercreek and advised Fairmont High Administration that maintaining a normal routine at the school would be helpful as they continued their investigation to identify the individual who had made the call.”

Kettering Police immediately responded with an increased presence at the school and the ensuing investigation determined that the caller was a  Beavercreek resident, Brandon Moore who was charged Wednesday, May 3, 2023, with telecommunications and disturbing the peace violations.

According to police officials Moore threatened anyone at the high school who identified LGBTQ.

“In the wake of the threatening phone call today and the increased media coverage regarding Fairmont’s 2023 Prom Court, KPD will continue to provide additional police officer coverage at the high school for the foreseeable future to assist SRO Spinks in assuring the safety of all,” the Kettering City Schools District said in a statement.

Many schools in Ohio are making the news over LGBTQ students.  Butler High School in Vandalia, Ohio cancelled prom king and queen votes because a member of the LGBTQ+ Community was nominated on April 21st

The Bellbrook-Sugarcreek school board removed language from their policies in the past week protecting LGBTQ+ students and staff the Dayton Daily News reported. The board approved changes to its policies Thursday that remove specific language for discrimination protections for LGBTQ staff and students, but vowed to revisit the policy in the future to accommodate stronger anti-bullying measures for those students.

Protections against discriminatory harassment would remain, including those based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, religion, ancestry or genetic information.

Students and parents Thursday condemned the changes, saying it proves the board thinks Bellbrook’s LGBTQ students are unworthy of protection, and sends tacit approval to bullies that pick on gay kids, whether they intended to or not.

“I gotta be real, there’s a lot of bullying in this school,” said student Ethan Newell. “You’re writing the words that define the students’ lives. You’re writing a reality. You think it’s a piece of paper, to us it’s our reality.”

“As a community many feel gutted that politics and personal prejudices are standing over parental, and youth rights.  What have we become when our students are risking their safety to stand on sidewalks to hold signs and speaking at school board meeting podiums as teens out themselves to an unsupportive community pleading for a right to exist safely,” said ‘Hace A Gay Day’s Knote.

He noted that the hallways of bullying and the echo chambers of erasing the community are becoming far too common. 

“While the violence of school life and active threats is felt across the nation the students of today are powerful and will not be dismissed.  Listening to the youth that stand up for their generation gives you such hope but also makes you ask what have we become when we see people discriminating against our children and dismissing the concerns of safety,” he said.

Continue Reading

Ohio

Trans youth sports ban fails to pass Ohio House

The Ohio bill is the latest in a year that has seen over 300 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced. The legislation overwhelmingly targets Trans youth

Published

on

Ohio State House, Columbus (Photo credit: Library of Congress)

COLUMBUS – A bill that would ban Transgender women and girls from participating in high school and college sports failed to garner enough votes to pass the Ohio House in a late night session before the Ohio Legislature adjourned for the year.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) has a policy, which has been in place since 2015, that sets standards for the inclusion of Trans Ohioans in school sports. According to Equality Ohio, throughout the policy’s 10-year history, fewer than 20 Trans girls were approved to play high school girls’ sports. 

Rep. Jena Powell, a Republican representing a district north of Dayton, added anti-Trans language to H.B. 151, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Don Jones, a piece of unrelated legislation that would revise Ohio’s Teacher Residency Program.

The amended bill was introduced last June on the first day of Pride Month.

The bill that would ban Transgender women and girls from participating in high school and college sports would also require those accused of being Trans to go through a “verification process” to check their genitals. 

The Ohio bill is the latest in a year that has seen over 300 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced. The legislation overwhelmingly targets Trans youth, from blocking participation in sports to baring access to gender-affirming care.

According to a press release from Equality Ohio, in the last two weeks—in an attempt to save face but preserve the cruelty—the genital inspection language had been replaced with equally exclusionary language that created a blanket ban on transgender girls by adding a birth certificate verification process.

Ultimately, a new amendment passed on the Senate floor coupled pieces of the ban with 2000+ pages of other large changes to Ohio’s education system. Thankfully, the gigantic amendment—including the anti-trans sports language—was voted down by the House in its entirety.

Alana Jochum, Executive Director of Equality Ohio, said about the victory, “I cannot begin to express my gratitude to the hundreds of community members and advocates who stood up for the rights of all transgender youth to participate in all parts of life as whole people, including sports, just like everyone else. Today is a day to celebrate that trangender Ohioans can continue to play sports with their friends and teammates. To our transgender youth: We see you, we love you, and we will always have your back.”

“TransOhio is vehemently opposed to any legislation that attempts to limit the existing rights and freedoms of trans individuals, especially when lawmakers are clearly using trans children and adolescents as pawns in political games.” said James Knapp Chair of TransOhio. “We are relieved this discriminatory bill did not advance further, but this is again a warning to stay vigilant — this is the second time in two legislative sessions that lawmakers have crammed a failing transphobic bill into an unrelated bill, trying to ram it past the legislature at the eleventh hour, while constituents are asleep.”   

“The ACLU of Ohio is relieved, for every transgender and gender-nonconforming child in this state, that early this morning the Ohio House rejected HB 151,” said Sean McCann from ACLU of Ohio. “We celebrate the fact that trans athletes woke up this morning and found out they can continue to play their favorite sports. Their courage, and the courage of their families, has been so inspiring to watch. It is because of their tireless, courageous advocacy at the Statehouse and elsewhere that this hateful bill did not make it to the Governor’s desk. The ACLU of Ohio will always stand with trans and gender non-conforming youth, and we will continue to be vigilant and prepared to fight against future attacks on their right to exist as their authentic selves.”

“We are grateful that members of the Ohio legislature saw this legislation for what it is: discrimination. All children deserve to have the same positive, affirming, and formative experiences as their peers, and those who tirelessly fought against yet another extremist attack made it clear that our most vulnerable youth deserve to be seen, heard, and protected.” Sarah Warbelow, Human Rights Campaign Legal Director 

Continue Reading

Ohio

Ohio BOE delays vote on rejecting federal LGBTQ policies

The resolution calls for the general assembly to “assist local districts in combatting federal overreach” & references “parental rights”

Published

on

Ohio Board of Education building (Photo Credit: State of Ohio/Ohio Board of Education)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Board of Education sent a resolution rejecting federal LGBTQ nondiscrimination policies to the executive committee, delaying a vote on the measure advocates have called anti-LGBTQ. 

The resolution, introduced by board member Brandon Shea, expresses the board’s “unequivocal opposition” to a proposed Biden administration rule extending Title IX protections to LGBTQ students. In addition, it attempts to invalidate the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s announcement that such interpretations will apply to its school meal program. (Ohio’s attorney general, Republican Dave Yost, joined a lawsuit challenging the USDA’s regulations.)

The measure, which was referred to committee in a 12-7 vote, states that sex is “an unchangeable fact,” adding that “[d]enying the reality of biological sex destroys foundational truths upon which education rests and irreparably damages children.”

The resolution calls for the general assembly to “assist local districts in combatting this federal overreach” and makes reference to “parental rights.” It asks state legislators to ban transgender girls from female sports teams and private facilities, prohibit classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in grades K-3, and force schools to inform parents when their child changes their name or pronouns. 

LGBTQ and education advocates have railed against the resolution. Honesty for Ohio Education, a nonpartisan statewide coalition that champions honest education, notes that the guidance this resolution opposes is not a rule change or change in the law. 

Shea – who has not responded to the Los Angeles Blade’s request for comment – defended his resolution, stressing that “time is of the essence.” The measure also “acknowledges the pain experienced by those suffering with gender dysphoria” and said the “appropriate course of action to pursue for students experiencing symptoms of gender dysphoria is treatment delivered by parent-selected mental health professionals.” 

After four hours of testimony – which included comments from transgender people, both youth and adults, teachers, Conservative activists, politicians, parents and more – the board took the resolution up for a vote, beginning an extended debate over whether to send it to the executive committee. The motion passed, delaying a vote on the resolution. 

“I want this to be done, but I want it to be done right,” board member Paul LaRue said.

Supporters and opponents packed the board’s Wednesday meeting to comment on Shea’s resolution before the vote. In September, the vast majority of speakers were against the resolution. 

First, board members heard from a string of supporters of the measure – voicing concerns over “biological males” in women’s restrooms and sports. Others called transgender people a “fad,” warned against “grooming” and spoke against gender-affirming surgery for minors, which is rarely offered to adolescents. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health says the surgeries should be reserved for adults. 

Ohio state Rep. Gary Click, a Republican who introduced a bill limiting transgender health care earlier this year, said President Biden is trying to force an agenda on kids by “stealing their lunch money.” News 5 Cleveland reported in July that Click did not speak to any transgender people before authoring, introducing or giving testimony on his legislation. 

On Twitter, Equality Ohio, the state’s largest LGBTQ organization, said the speakers were anti-LGBTQ. “We are currently in the back room waiting to testify,” the group tweeted as supporters of the resolution spoke. 

Meanwhile, demonstrators stood outside the building with transgender Pride flags and signs that read “Trans kids matter” and “This teacher loves and supports trans students.” At least one demonstrator held a sign demanding the board not be “religious bullies.” 

After the first stream of speakers, opponents of the measure began to testify – many describing how dangerous the resolution could be for LGBTQ youth. According to the Trevor Project, LGBTQ youth who had access to spaces that affirmed their identity reported lower rates of attempting suicide than those who did not. (Some speakers said the Trevor Project is not a valid source.) 

“I will be one of the people who would have to clean up the mess you left behind,” Rev. Andy Burns, a United Methodist Church pastor from Columbus, said – adding the resolution will harm children. 

Continue Reading

Ohio

Community shows support for Cincinnati Trans teen after prank

She was called into the guidance counselor’s office and told parents had said her nomination could have been part of a “mean-spirited joke”

Published

on

Cassie and Kat Steiner WCPO ABC 9 News (Screenshot/YouTube)

CINCINNATI – A Cincinnati-area transgender teen made local headlines last week after her classmates voted her Homecoming Princess as a “mean-spirited joke.” Instead of opting out, the sophomore kept her crown and used the opportunity to promote acceptance – prompting widespread community support.  

Cassie Steiner, a student at Mariemont High School in the Cincinnati suburbs, was thrilled when she first learned her peers voted her to homecoming court. “Just the thought that I had a chance to make history here,” she told Cincinnati news station FOX 19

“I was absolutely thrilled and was really excited to understand and learn that our daughter was going to be the very first trans princess at Mariemont and perhaps even in the city,” her mother, Katt Steiner, added. 

The Steiners declined to be interviewed by the Los Angeles Blade. 

The very next day, according to FOX 19, Cassie Steiner was called into the guidance counselor’s office and told parents had said her nomination could have been part of a “mean-spirited joke.”

“It kind of brought down my spirits a little bit,” she said. 

In an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer, Kat Steiner said she was angry and disgusted after receiving the news from the counselor. 

Cassie Steiner was given the option to decline her nomination and opt out of homecoming court. But the teen decided against that, opting to wear the crown with her head held high. 

“Well, it certainly was disheartening,” Cassie Steiner told The Enquirer. “But it gave me hope, because knowing that I had haters and I had people who I can alter their corrupted mindsets, made me empowered to do more.”

Her mother added: “She didn’t hesitate to own the fact that she was not going to back down. She knew that she was going to be a trailblazer.”

For Cassie Steiner, that was just the beginning of her story. Her mom, Kat, took to Facebook to garner support for her daughter ahead of the high school’s homecoming parade. 

“Cassie is taking the high ground and making history as trans royalty,” the post said, per The Enquirer. “She’s owning her title as the sophomore Homecoming Princess because, well, when they go low, we go high. We choose to celebrate!”

The community, the newspaper reported, showed up at the parade with an outpouring of support. LGBTQ Pride flags lined the parade route, and attendees held signs that read: “We love you, Cassie” and “Cassie is my warrior.”

The Enquirer reported that the school district did not respond to questions from the outlet. However, the district did send out a media statement outlining the process by which students are elected to homecoming court without directly addressing the prank.

The Blade left a message with the district but has yet to receive a response. According to The Enquirer, Kat Steiner said she has yet to get an apology from any school administrators. 

But Cassie Steiner was happy to receive support from her community. “I don’t think people deserve to be hated,” she said. “Even if they hate me, I don’t like being mean to them, because I think that everyone deserves their own light in our world.

Continue Reading

Ohio

Opponents of LGBTQ resolution pack Ohio school board meeting

“I’m not a divisive concept. I’m a teenage girl who wants to graduate from high school, go to college, get a job and live my life”

Published

on

Screenshot/YouTube WBNS TV

COLUMBUS, Ohio – People packed an Ohio State Board of Education meeting Tuesday, many protesting a controversial resolution that opponents say will discriminate against LGBTQ students. 

The resolution, introduced by board member Brandon Shea, expresses the board’s opposition to a federal law requiring schools to investigate claims of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or risk losing school breakfast and lunch funding. Those investigations could include, according to the U.S. Department of Education, denying transgender students to use gendered facilities that correspond with their gender identity, keeping transgender kids from playing sports and allowing incorrect pronouns. 

It states that sex is “an unchangeable fact,” adding that “[d]enying the reality of biological sex destroys foundational truths upon which education rests and irreparably damages children.”

The resolution claimed the Department of Education’s new Title IX regulations “would require that K-12 schools socially transition minor children to a different gender without requiring parental notification or involvement,” calling it harmful. 

Tuesday’s meeting was packed with 61 people, according to the Statehouse News Bureau, most of whom opposed the board’s resolution. 

Ada Wood, a 24-year-old transgender woman, was one of them. She spoke to the board about the disproportionally high rates of poor mental health and suicide amongst transgender youth, “which, quite frankly, you would already know if you knew anything about the topics of which you are attempting change laws.” 

“If you pass this resolution, children will die,” Wood said.

Dawn Riggs, an educator of 30-plus years from Logan, Ohio, also spoke against the resolution. She said she had experiences with LGBTQ kids in her career, adding they “knew they would be safe for at least a little while each day” in her class.

“It is no burden to use a name that we are asked to use,” she said. “It is no burden to use the pronouns that are shared with us.”

Conner McLaren, a transgender student, told the board: “I’m not a divisive concept. I’m a teenage girl who wants to graduate from high school, go to college, get a job and live my life. Please don’t make things harder for the community I am here to represent. Don’t let our school become one more bully we have to deal with.”

Though many speakers spoke against the resolution, some supported it. One supporter, Allison Lindsey, worried her daughter with Down syndrome could be harmed by gender-affirming bathroom policies. According to a Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law study, there is no link between trans-inclusive policies and bathroom safety. 

“Often female students with disabilities need assistance when they get older and have begun their menstrual cycles,” Lindsey said. “Will I be accused of sex-based discrimination if I request that transgender women who are staff not help my daughter with her menstrual cycle at school?”

Shea did not respond to the Los Angeles Blade’s request for comment. But he did respond to the criticism at the meeting. 

“It’s awfully burdensome and heavy handed for the federal government to force every school in the nation to adopt radical gender identity policies to continue to receive federal funds and for the record,” Shea said. “It’s the regulations I’m saying are burdensome, not students who trans identify.” 
According to Cleveland.com, the board will vote on the resolution during its next meeting on Oct. 11-12.

Continue Reading

Ohio

Jim Obergefell wins in Democratic primary in Ohio legislative House race

Obergefell’s primary win comes as the right he stood to secure has now returned to mainstream political debate

Published

on

Jim Obergefell (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

SANDUSKY, Oh. – The lead plaintiff in the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court case that extended marriage rights to same-sex couples across the country has won his Democratic primary for the Ohio House of Representatives.

Following Tuesday’s primary elections in several states across the country, Jim Obergefell has secured the Democratic nomination in his bid to become the next Ohio state legislator in the 89th House District.

His nomination comes as the right he stood to secure has now returned to mainstream political debate.

Following a summer of tumultuous uncertainty over privacy-related rights like nationwide same-sex marriage, Obergefell, who lives in Sandusky, alluded to the current state of LGBTQ rights and the importance of his candidacy.

“This is a critical election for the LGBTQ community,” Obergefell said in a statement after officially securing the nomination. “When I win this election, I will work hard to improve the lives of the people in the district and across Ohio by increasing jobs and opportunities, improving access to affordable healthcare and protecting our environment. With so much at stake for our nation, I will also be a voice and advocate for all Ohioans and especially underserved and marginalized communities.”

With his high-profile status among the advocacy community, Obergefell has already secured the support of well-known organizations including the Human Rights Campaign and the LGBTQ Victory Fund.

“Jim Obergefell’s name is already legendary in the LGBTQ+ community as the man who won marriage equality for everyone in the United States,” interim HRC President Joni Madison said in a statement in mid-July. “Many people would be content with such a legacy — but Obergefell is not one to rest on his laurels.”

Obergefell’s years-long renown has also secured him fiscal support from around the country.

Campaign finance reports detail Obergefell having raised more $217,000 this year, with contributions from high-profile activists and philanthropists including actress Ashley Judd and Victory Institute board member Desiree Asher.

Victory Fund President Annise Parker released a statement following Tuesday’s election.

“Many within the LGBTQ community look to Jim for leadership and inspiration during trying times,” Parker said. “It is encouraging that his call to action for the LGBTQ community — that we must remain united in our shared fight for a more equitable future for the next generation of LGBTQ people — has been delivered on the campaign trail as a candidate himself.”

And where Obergefell would provide meaningful and needed legislative support, Parker asserted, his candidacy also represents a message about LGBTQ influence in areas far outside District 89.

“We are confident that come November, he will prove a skilled legislator with the political wherewithal to get meaningful reform done,” Parker said. “His success is also a rallying cry to the LGBTQ community and our allies that we won’t stop organizing, we won’t stop running for office and we won’t back down.”

Obergefell will face incumbent state Rep. D.J. Swearingen (R-Huron) in November.

Swearingen, who first assumed the office in 2019, was reelected in 2020 with more than 57 percent of the vote. Swearingen has a recorded history of voting in favor of anti-LGBTQ legislation.

Continue Reading

Ohio

Cincinnati-area Trans man attacked for using women’s restroom

“Dude- I’m using the right bathroom,” Ruiz replied, explaining he was following the directions of the campground’s owner, Rick Cross

Published

on

Noah Ruiz with his mother speaking with a reporter (Screenshot/Fox 19)

PREBLE COUNTY, Oh. — A Cincinnati, Ohio-area transgender man was attacked earlier this month for using the women’s restroom at a local campground. 

Cincinnati news outlet FOX 19 reported Noah Ruiz, a 20-year-old trans man, was beaten over the July 4th weekend for using the women’s restroom, something he was told to do, at a Preble County campground located roughly 40 miles from the Queen City. 

Ruiz told the station he was punched in the back of the head, leaving him with bruises. 

The incident underscores the danger of trans people using restrooms according to their sex assigned at birth, something some state and local lawmakers want to force trans people to do. Many of the laws, including one signed by Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Sitt in May, target trans youth in schools. 

The Independence Day weekend incident happened after a woman saw Ruiz in the bathroom and started shouting, he said. 

“Who the [expletive] is in here?” the woman said, according to Ruiz.

After Ruiz and his girlfriend made themselves known the woman said: “No man should be in this bathroom.”

“I’m transgender,” he replied. “Like, I have woman body parts, and I was told to use this bathroom.”

As he was walking out, Ruiz told the station, three large men approached him, grabbed him off the ground and “choked me out.”

“I’ll kill you, you [expletive] doing all this,” one of the men said, according to FOX 19. 

“Dude, I’m not, I’m using the right bathroom,” Ruiz replied, explaining he was following the directions of the campground’s owner, Rick Cross.

“I’m following the rules,” he said.

In the end, Ruiz was left with several cuts, gashes and bruising, according to the outlet.

Police later showed up, arresting Ruiz for disorderly conduct and obstructing official business. According to Preble County Sheriff Michael Simpson, deputies weren’t initially aware of the assault, noting that Ruiz was highly intoxicated and becoming belligerent.

“Noah was so upset at the time, he was trying to explain what has happened, and no one was listening to him,” Ruiz’s mother, Jennifer Ruiz, said, adding: “He admits to his part of getting out of hand, from screaming, yelling. He was in defense mode, and when police got there, they didn’t listen to him. They just immediately started shoving him to the ground.”

Ruiz’s mother also said the men repeatedly used a homophobic slur. 

Following his arrest, Ruiz was able to file an assault report with the sheriff’s office. He told FOX 19 he wants the men held accountable. 

“If we don’t do something about it, who is going to do something about it?” Ruiz’s mother said. 

Katelyn Burns, a trans freelance journalist and MSNBC writer, said on Twitter that despite Ruiz doing what conservatives and TERFs, or trans-exclusionary radical feminists, want him to do, he was assaulted and arrested. 

Continue Reading

Ohio

Ohio Republicans pass anti-Trans sports bill in last minute move

According to Equality Ohio, throughout the policy’s 10-year history, fewer than 20 Trans girls were approved to play high school girls’ sports

Published

on

Ohio State House, Columbus (Photo credit: Library of Congress)

COLUMBUS – In an unexpected and eleventh-hour move, Ohio House Republicans passed Wednesday, the first day of Pride Month, a bill that would ban Transgender women and girls from participating in high school and college sports. 

H.B. 61, or the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” wasn’t supposed to make its way to the House floor Wednesday night. But Rep. Jena Powell, a Republican representing a district north of Dayton, added the language to H.B. 151, unrelated legislation that would revise Ohio’s Teacher Residency Program.

In addition to the ban, the bill would also require those accused of being Trans to go through a “verification process” to check their genitals. 

H.B. 151, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Don Jones, passed the House by a party-line vote of 56-28. However, the bill will not receive a vote in the Republican-dominated Senate anytime soon as Ohio lawmakers are not expected to return until November. 

It’s the second time Powell has sought a back door path to pass the controversial measure that Democrats and LGBTQ+ rights advocates have called anti-Trans. 

In June 2021, she added the language to a bill to allow college students to profit off their name, image and likeness. At the time, Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine issued a statement against the legislation. 

“This issue is best addressed outside of government, through individual sports leagues and athletic associations, including the Ohio High School Athletic Association, who can tailor policies to meet the needs of their member athletes and member institutions,” DeWine said.

The bill, Powell and other Republicans said, is to “protect” women’s sports. 

“We want every little girl to achieve her athletic dream here in the state of Ohio,” Powell said. 

But statewide LGBTQ+ advocacy group Equality Ohio called the move “appalling.”

“The health and safety of our youth are not negotiable. This should not be a partisan issue, and we are appalled that our lawmakers are once again causing real harm to LGBTQ+ youth to score political points,” Alana Jochum, executive director of Equality Ohio, said. “All Ohio youth deserve the opportunity to play on a sports team with their peers without having to hide who they are.” 

The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) has a policy, which has been in place since 2015, that sets standards for the inclusion of Trans Ohioans in school sports. According to Equality Ohio, throughout the policy’s 10-year history, fewer than 20 Trans girls were approved to play high school girls’ sports. 

The Ohio bill is the latest in a year that has seen over 300 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced. The legislation overwhelmingly targets Trans youth, from blocking participation in sports to baring access to gender-affirming care.

So far, two Republican governors have vetoed anti-Trans sports bills. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, both Republicans, vetoed legislation that barred Trans youth from participating in sports.
In the end, however, the Utah House overturned Cox’s veto days later. Two Utah families filed a legal challenge in Utah state court Thursday against the legislation.

Continue Reading

Ohio

Cincinnati area high schoolers created ‘Jim Crow’ signs & are disciplined

“These water fountains were labeled ‘blacks only,’ ‘whites only,’ which pushed us back so many generations”

Published

on

Colerain High School (Screenshot/WLWT NBC 5)

CINCINNATI – A group of students at Colerain High School in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio posted racist notes mimicking ‘Jim Crow’ segregation-era rules over a pair of drinking fountains then took pictures which were posted to social media earlier this month.

According to officials with the Northwest Local School District, the notes posted over the water fountains were posted for a matter of 30 seconds before being removed by the students. The students involved in the incident posted the signs, took photos and removed the notes before posting the photos online.

“These water fountains were labeled ‘blacks only,’ ‘whites only,’ which pushed us back so many generations,” said one parent who preferred to remain anonymous told Cincinnati NBC affiliate WLWT 5. “My heart dropped. My heart dropped. I could not believe it. It was so offensive.”

A Northwest Local School District spokesperson called the incident “unacceptable on all levels” and a deviation from the district’s “culture of inclusivity, respect, kindness and compassion for everyone.”

“Upon investigation of the matter, we have learned that the notes posted over the water fountains were posted for a matter of 30 seconds and were never seen by other students or staff members,” the spokesperson said. “The three students involved in the incident posted the signs, took photos and removed the notes before posting the photos online.”

“We want to make sure our staff, students, families and community understands where we stand on racial intolerance, discrimination, racism and hatred. We take this matter very seriously. Those who participated in this tasteless and hurtful act have been issued significant disciplinary actions. This type of behavior is not and will not be condoned or tolerated,” a statement released Wednesday from the Northwest Local School District read.  “The actions that were displayed do NOT reflect the values and the culture we’ve worked so hard to cultivate in all of our schools across the district. NWLSD stands firm in creating a culture of inclusivity, respect, kindness and compassion for everyone. As a school community it’s our responsibility to uphold these values and we will not tolerate any action from anyone that compromises or disrupts that culture.”

About 30% of the high school’s 1,730 students are Black, according to U.S. News and World Report. About 49% is white.

Continue Reading

Popular