Every Ohioan, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, deserves to feel safe, secure, and at home in our state. That includes in our neighborhoods, our workplaces, on the street, and at school.
Ohio currently has a an anti-bullying law that provides limited protection to students, and it provides no specific protection to LGBT students.
In 2006, the Ohio Legislature passed House Bill 276, which required the 723 school districts across Ohio to develop anti-bullying policies on their own. This bill was signed into law without enumerated categories of protection. Equality Ohio and a coalition of organizations testified before the Ohio Senate Committee on Education to try to include these important protections.
Currently, House Bill 208 is pending in the Ohio House. HB208 would enumerate the anti-bullying law to specifically protect LGBT students as well as students who may be bullied or harassed based on their race, gender, disablity or other characteristics.
Ohio’s hate crimes, or "ethnic intimidation", law does not specifically address crimes motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. An act of violence motivated by hatred sends a message not just to an individual victim, but to an entire community of people. When an Ohioan is targeted and harmed because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, all LGBT Ohioans and their allies are affected in very real ways. The community feels less safe, less welcome, and more vulnerable.
A 2006 Harris Interactive poll found that 64% of gays and lesbians are concerned about being the victim of a bias-motivated crime.
Hate Crime Statistics
Evidence indicates that hate crimes are under-reported; however, statistics show that, since 1991, more than 100,000 hate crime offenses have been reported to the FBI, with 7,163 reported in 2005, the FBI’s most recent reporting period.
Violent crimes based on race-related bias were by far the most common, representing 54.7 percent of all offenses for 2005. Violent crimes based on religion represented 17.1 percent, and ethnicity/national origin, 13.2 percent. Violent crimes based on sexual orientation constituted 14.2 percent of all hate crimes in 2005, with 1,017 reported for the year. While the FBI doesn’t specifically collect data on hate crimes based on gender identity, we know that all too often the transgender community is affected by some of the most horrific hate violence. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, a non-profit organization that tracks bias incidents against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, reported 1,985 incidents for 2005 from only 13 jurisdictions, compared to the 12,417 agencies reporting to the FBI in 2005.
Identification and Gender Identity or Expression
Ohio is one of three states in the country that does not allow an individual to make a correction to their birth certificate once they have completed medical procedures to match their physical appearance with their inward gender identification. Because of this, Ohioans who are transgender face an undue burden when they apply for a driver's license or passport.
Ohio law provides generally that its citizens may amend their birth certificates. However, in a 1987 case an Ohio court held that a birth registrants’ right to make general amendments to their birth certificate information did not include amendments to sex information for individuals who have undergone sex-reassignment surgery.
Equality Ohio is working with legislators and policymakers to change Ohio's laws and policies that prevent transgender people from having documentation that reflects their true gender identity.