Two Republican Ohio House Representatives have introduced legislation to require single-sex bathroom access in schools and universities.

House Bill (HB) 183 sponsored by State Representatives Beth Lear (R-Galena) and Adam Bird (R-New Richmond) aims to require students at K-12 schools and universities to use the restrooms and locker rooms that match their biological sex.

The legislation says that “No school shall permit a member of the female biological sex to use a student restroom, locker room, changing room, or shower room that has been designated by the school for the exclusive use of the male biological sex. No school shall permit a member of the male biological sex to use a student restroom, locker room, changing room, or shower room that has been designated by the school for the exclusive use of the female biological sex,.”

According to Rep. Bird, he has heard reports from many schools that they are distressed over feeling like they are required to allow boys in the girl’s restroom and vice versa.

“Ohioans want this bill and need this bill. The General Assembly hears their voices. We have the votes to pass this. Let’s protect our children,” Rep. Bird said.

Additionally, the legislation aims to prohibit schools from allowing students of different biological sexes to share overnight accommodations.

Universities and K–12 institutions may continue to provide students with facilities intended for single use. If a family member is supporting a child under 10 or a person with a disability, the restrictions do not apply to them.

Rep. Lear told The Star that, “all students have a right to feel safe and a right to privacy.”

“Education is compulsory, so institutions and governments must protect all students and not just special interest groups. Segregating by sex is best for boys and girls, young men and women, and especially for children who are confused and being taken advantage of. It’s also important for parents to know that schools that allow boys and girls to share bathrooms and locker rooms cannot discriminate by age- that means during public events, pedophiles and perverts will have free access to children. It’s time for adults to do better,” Rep. Lear told The Ohio Star.

While other states have long debated bathroom use on stated gender identity rather than biological sex, Ohio’s House Bill 183 represents the first substantial attempt  to adopt legislation.

Several other states, such as Kentucky, Tennessee, and Iowa, have enacted legislation that prohibits K–12 students from using bathrooms that match their stated gender identity rather than their biological sex.

A legal battle over the matter is currently taking place in Ohio federal court. A group of parents sued the Bethel Local School District in Tipp City last year on the grounds that the school board had wrongly allowed children to use bathrooms that corresponded to their stated gender identity rather than their biological sex.

Ohio House Republicans have also introduced legislation to protect the integrity of women’s sports by requiring schools, higher education state institutions, and private colleges to designate separate single-sex teams and sports for each sex.

Lawmakers have introduced another piece of legislation in the Ohio House that would ban providing minors puberty-blocking drugs and cross-sex hormones for the purpose of “gender transitioning.”

Nineteen other House Republicans signed onto HB 183 as co-sponsors.

Although lawmakers have introduced the legislation in the Ohio House it is not currently in a committee.

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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Beth Lear” by The Ohio House of Representatives. Photo “Adam Bird” by The Ohio House of Representatives. Background Photo “Ohio Statehouse” by . CC BY-SA 4.0.