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Letter to the Editor: In Standing With our LGBTQ Community, Anti-LGBTQ Legislation Has No Place Here

Florida signed into law its so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill last month. Now, more than a dozen states—including Ohio—have followed suit by introducing legislation that would prohibit or censor discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools from kindergarten through Grade 12. 

Across the U.S., a record number of anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in 2022. State governments have taken aim at transgender and nonbinary youth in particular, attempting to (and in some cases succeeding at) blocking access to life-saving gender-affirming care and denying trans girls the opportunity to participate in youth sports. 

Alabama was the most recent state to enact such legislation, passing two laws earlier this month. The first makes it illegal to provide puberty blockers or gender-affirming hormone therapy to trans youth, forcing doctors to choose between violating the ethics and standards of care of their profession or being charged with a felony. The other prohibits instruction or discussion about sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools for children in kindergarten through fifth grade and forces trans youth to use bathrooms and locker rooms based upon the sex they were designated at birth rather than their gender identity. 

With more than 84% of transgender students and more than half of nonbinary students already reporting feeling unsafe at school because of their gender, further entrenching discriminatory practices into the school environment continues to put trans and nonbinary youth in danger.     

As Faculty Affiliates of Miami University’s Sexuality Education Studies Center (SESC) and related partners, we align ourselves with our professional organizations (e.g., National Council on Family Relations, National Association of Social Workers, American Psychological Association and the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality) and other major professional groups (e.g., American Medical Association; American Academy of Pediatrics) in condemning these political attacks on the health and well-being of LGBTQ youth and those who care for them. 

We are concerned about not only the obvious negative impact of the laws that are passed, but also the potential negative impact of having such public and political debate about LGBTQ youth—an already vulnerable group. We also know that LGBTQ students at Miami are very much aware of these legislative attacks on their community. 

LGBTQ+ Miami students: We want you to know that we see you, we’re here for you and we’ll do all that we can to educate others about the destructiveness of these laws.

Earlier this month, Ohio legislators introduced HB 616, which would disallow curriculum or instruction pertaining to “diversity, equity and inclusion” (including Critical Race Theory and Intersectional Theory), and — like Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law — would prohibit or censor curriculum or instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity, from kindergarten through high school. 

Earlier this year, HB 454, a specifically anti-trans bill, had its first committee hearing. This legislation would prohibit doctors from providing gender-affirming medical care to youth. It would also force teachers, counselors and other school personnel to break the trust of their students, compelling these professionals to tell parents if a student reveals that they are or may be trans or nonbinary — even if sharing such information with a parent could be dangerous for the student.    

Society’s rejection, continued discrimination and aggressive action against the LGBTQ community significantly contributes to high rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts and behaviors among LGBTQ youth. Fortunately, we know what is needed to combat these negative outcomes for this group—research has shown the critical importance of familial and community support and acceptance. 

For the health and well-being of LGBTQ youth, we implore legislators in Ohio, across the country and around the world to stop these legislative attacks. Rather than terrorizing an already marginalized group for political gain, those in positions of power should be using their influence to tackle real community problems, such as poverty, addiction, racism, intimate partner violence, hunger and homelessness.

We hope that you will join us in moving toward the vision of the SESC to create a welcoming, affirming, inquisitive and collaborative environment for LQBTQIA+ community members and for those whose scholarship and practice focus on gender and sexuality. Be on the lookout for SESC activities and research opportunities, or contact us directly with your ideas at sesc@miamioh.edu.

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We also support student-led efforts to support our queer and trans community such as the Silent Protest for LGBT Kids, Against Ohio HB 616 (Don’t Say Gay). For those interested in showing support with their physical presence, the protest is happening on Friday, April 22nd from noon to 6 p.m. in front of Armstrong Student Center.

The above statement is shared on behalf of the following individuals as Faculty Affiliates of the Dennis L. Carlson Sexuality Education Studies Center (SESC), the SESC’s related partners, and concerned faculty and staff at Miami University. The views shared in this statement are those of the listed individuals and do not reflect the views of their departments or Miami University.

Name, Discipline:

Megan Kuykendoll, Sexuality Education Studies Center, Family Science and Social Work

Kate Kuvalanka, Family Science and Social Work

G. Allen Ratliff, Family Science and Social Work

Sean Newsome, Family Science and Social Work

Liz Wilson, Comparative Religion

Jennifer Blue, Physics 

Elise Radina, Family Science and Social Work

Colleen Floyd, Sexuality Education Studies Center, Student Affairs in Higher Education

Monica C. Schneider, Political Science

Darren Cosgrove, Family Science and Social Work

Leland G. Spencer, Interdisciplinary and Communication Studies

Elisa S. Abes, Student Affairs in Higher Education

Sean Monroe, Psychology

Kimberly Hamlin, History 

Kenna Neitch, Global and Intercultural Studies

Callie Maddox, Sport Leadership and Management

Elizabeth Kerr, Libraries

Krista McDonald, Regional Libraries

John Burke, Regional Libraries

Jana Braziel, Global and Intercultural Studies

Jamie Viars, Regional Student Services

Mark Shores, Regional Libraries

Samantha Young, Regional Libraries

Crystal Walker, Regional Admission

Alan S. Kelley, Regional Libraries

Jacqueline Daugherty, Western Center for Social Impact and Innovation

Devon Cox, Regional Admission

Leslie Haxby McNeill, Student Wellness

Morgan-Allison Moore, Student Life

Cecilie D. McGhehey, Student Wellness

Madelyn Detloff, English and Global and intercultural Studies

Gaile Pohlhaus, Jr., Philosophy and WGS

Rodney D. Coates, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies & Global and Intercultural Studies

Mary Jean Corbett, English

Stephanie Beck, Regional Academic Advising 

Jacqueline Rioja Velarde, Global Initiatives.

Mark Allen Peterson, Anthropology

Keisha Norris, College of Engineering and Computing

Amy Yousefi, College of Engineering and Computing

Maddy LaTurner, English

Emma Boddy, English

Gabriele Bechtel, English

Casey Kuhajda, English

Kelsey Timmerman, English

Emily Lange, Philosophy

Adam Strantz, ETBD and English

Whitney Womack Smith, Languages, Literatures, and Writing

Jennifer Cohen, Global and Intercultural Studies

Danielle Hart, Career Services

Andrew Hebard, English

James E. Porter, English and Emerging Technology in Business & Design

Theresa Evans, English

Jason Palmeri, English

Margaret Luongo, English

Peter W. Rose, French, Italian and Classical Studies

Noah W. Montague, Residence Life

Ann Elizabeth Armstrong, Theatre

Annastashia Blesi, Miller Center for Student Disability Services

Lisa McLaughlin, Media, Journalism and Film & Global and Intercultural Studies

Natalee Blackford, Residence Life

William J. Gracie, Jr. Emeritus in English and Dean

Wyatt J Bischoff, College of Engineering and Computing

Brian Kirkmeyer, College of Engineering and Computing

Damon Scott, Geography & Global and Intercultural Studies

Jamie Kuhlmeier, Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, Student Affairs in Higher Education

Lucy Trevino Alanis, Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, Student Wellness, Student Affairs in Higher Education

Abigail Denton, English

Megan Schoettler, English

Molly Moran, Emerging Technology in Business and Design

Cory Duchesneau, Farmer School of Business

Andrea Righi, French, Italian, and Classical Studies

Pascal Massie, Philosophy

Anna Weisling, Emerging Technology in Business and Design

Elizabeth Music, Philosophy 

Sarah Grace McCollough, Rinella Learning Center, Student Affairs in Higher Education

Sherrill L. Sellers, Family Science & Social Work

Cathy R. Moore, Teacher Education

Jo Line, Sport Leadership and Management

Heidi McKee, English

J Ravancho, Rinella Learning Center, Student Affairs in Higher Education

Amy Bielicki, Residence Life

Zachary Mroz, Residence Life, Student Affairs in Higher Education

Tamise Ironstrack, Spanish and Portuguese 

Lauren Toben, Psychology

Rebecca Buadry Young, Student Wellness

Christina Grote, Regional Student Activities & Orientation 

Sheila Croucher, Global and Intercultural Studies

Mecca Abdul-Aziz, Residence Life, Student Affairs in Higher Education

Carol Olausen, American Culture & English

Kourtney Spaulding, Armstrong Student Center, Division of Student Life

Rhonda Jackson, 1809 LGBTQ+ Alumni Association Board Member

Leslie Omaits, Regional Student Disability Services

Mike Savnik, 1809 LGBTQ+ Alumni Board

John Tassoni, English/Languages, Literatures, & Writing

Jim Coyle, Emerging Technology in Business and Design, and Marketing

Erin Goff-Mitchell, English

Tony Cimasko, English

Golden Fanning, Rinella Learning Center

Rachel Hellgren, Emerging Technology in Business and Design

Heather Morrow, Rinella Learning Center

Jerry Yarnetsky, University Libraries and Emerging Technology in Business and Design

cris cheek, English

Kara Anand-Gall, English / Miami Online Regionals

Ghada Mahdi, Rinella Learning Center

Roxanne T. Ornelas, Geography

Nikki Ferrell, University Communications and Marketing

Jessica L. McCarty-Kern, Geography 

Robyn R. Brown, Miami Regionals E-Campus/Miami Online Regionals

Kevin Reuning, Political Science

Justin J. Fain, Geography

Ahjah Marie Johnson, Educational Leadership

Robbyn Abbitt, Geography

Mary C. Henry, Geography 

James M. Bromley, English

J. Andrew Zeisler, 1809 LGBTQ+ Alumni Board Member

Erica Crawford, Miami Regionals E-Campus/Miami Online Regionals

Ellen J. Yezierski, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Center for Teaching Excellence

John M. Krafft, English

Katherine S. Cho, Educational Leadership

Lauren Brassfield, Armstrong Student Center

Durell Callier, Educational Leadership

Lisa Weems, Educational Leadership & Global and Intercultural Studies

Meghan Phadke, Teacher Education

Robert W Black, IT Services

Shavon Anderson, University Communications and Marketing

Molly Heidemann, International Student and Scholar Services

Don Moeller, College of Arts and Science IT 

Maressa L. Dixon, Discovery Center for Evaluation, Research, & Professional Learning

Michael Turner, Center for Career Exploration and Success

Cheryl D Young, Global Initiatives

Elise Clerkin, Psychology

Ryan Dye, Education Abroad 

Michael P. Evans, Educational Leadership, Teacher Education, Family Science & Social Work

Maija Sipola, Geology & Environmental Earth Science

Daniel E. Meyers, Interactive Language Resource Center

Mathew Perry, Residence Life

Kurt Olausen, College of Arts & Science Academic Advising

Jeffrey Hunger, Department of Psychology

Vrinda Kalia, Psychology

Karthik Vishwanath, Physics

Timothy G. DeMarks, Emerging Technology in Business & Design

Brooke Spangler Cropenbaker, Department of Psychology

Michael Bailey-Van Kuren, Emerging Technology in Business & Design

Todd Dupont, Geology and Environmental Earth Science

Emily Cluen, Residence Life

Brandon T. Humphrey, Department of Psychology

Kendall L. Hauer, Geology and Environmental Earth Science

Elizabeth J. Kiel, Psychology

Jason Rech, Geology and Environmental Earth Science

Elisabeth Widom, Geology and Environmental Earth Science

Carter Roane, Residence Life

Tina Coyne, Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion 

April Callis, Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion

Cricket Meehan, Center for School-Based Mental Health Programs, Psychology

Dalanie Beach, English Department, Creative Writing

Aaron Luebbe, Psychology

Cathy Wagner, English

Anne Whitesell, Political Science

Pete Ferris, Information Technology Services

Theresa Kulbaga, English / Languages, Literatures, and Writing

Michael Hicks, Philosophy

Gabby Spencer, Residence Life, College of Arts and Science Dean’s Office

Veronica R Barrios, Family Science and Social Work

Russell Simonsen, Spanish and Portuguese

Thomas Morgan, Languages, Literatures, and Writing

Alyssa Westberry, Student Affairs in Higher Education & The Rinella Learning Center

Jessica Rea, University Communications and Marketing

Matthew Siegel, Teacher Education

Robin Schell, Teacher Education 

Lisa Portwood, Teacher Education

Catherine Haerr, Teacher Education

J Rizzo, University Communications and Marketing

T. Mackenzie Bryant, University Communications and Marketing

Mattea Carveiro, Residence Life, Student Affairs and Higher Education

Sujay Sabnis, Educational Psychology

Andrew Richard, Regional Student Activities and Orientation

Kenyetta Lomax Lee, Family Science and Social Work

Leslie Wood, Rinella Learning Center

Helaine Alessio, Kinesiology, Nutrition, and Health

Tara Chapin, Family Science and Social Work

Aidan M. McKeon, Student Body Vice President, Miami University

Madelyn Jett, Student Body President, Miami University 

Kevin Carr, Rinella Learning Center

Travis Poling, English

Claire Ruberg, Regional Student and Academic Success

Dasha Wood, Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion

Katie Kromer, Residence Life

Darryl B. Rice, Business

Destiny Brugman, English and Women and Gender Studies

Leah Wasburn-Moses, Educational Psychology

Jenna Kamrass Morvay, Teacher Education

Rebecca Howard, Teacher Education

Irene Lang Kleiman, Teacher Education

Paula Gândara, Spanish and Portuguese

Peter Wessels, Psychology

Glenn Platt, Emerging Technology in Business & Design/Marketing

Hannah Brown, Family Science & Social Work

Sheri Leafgren, Teacher Education

Paul Schaeffer, Biology

Eric Sheffield, Music & Emerging Technology in Business and Design

Caryn E. Neumann, Interdisciplinary and Communication Studies

Libby Grant, Residence Life, Student Affairs in Higher Education 

Kenzie Andrews, Teacher Education

Joel Malin, Educational Leadership

Brian Currie, Geology and Environmental Earth Science

Nazan Bautista, Teacher Education

Sam Reenan, Music

Joshua Magee, Psychology

Riley Acton, Economics

Richelle Frabotta, Dennis L. Carlson Sexuality Education Studies Center (Founder), Family Science and Social Work (former faculty)

Juan Camilo Galeano Sánchez, Spanish and Portuguese

Eva E. Howard, Teacher Education

Shelly Jarrett Bromberg, Spanish and Portuguese

Amy Shaiman, 1809 LGBTQ+ Alumni Board of Miami University

Zachary Campbell, Spanish and Portuguese

Raúl Ianes, Spanish and Portuguese

Jacqlyn Schott, Rinella Learning Center

Hannah Chauvin, Management

Amber D. Franklin, Speech Pathology and Audiology

Kyrstin Mallon Andrews, Anthropology

Brian D. Schultz, Teacher Education 

Ruchelle Dunwoody, Recreational Sports  

James C. Hanges, Comparative Religion

David Motta, Spanish and Portuguese 

Cathy Heinz, University Communications and Marketing

Robin D. Cooper, Teacher Education

Katherine E. Batchelor, Teacher Education 

Katherine Fowler-Córdova, Spanish and Portuguese 

Marion Lytle, Geology and Environmental Earth Science

Amy Beissel, University Advancement 

Zackary Hill, Western Program

Julia Pond, Regionals Academic Advising

Nichole Carr, Family Science and Social Work

Mathew Hall, 1809 LGBTQ+ Board Alumni Board of Miami University

Bryan Duarte, Educational Leadership

Shannon Pinegar, Psychology

Amy R. Roberts, Family Science and Social Work

Brittany Aronson, Educational Leadership 

Ganiva Reyes, Teacher Education

Nela Ahmed, University Libraries

Kyle Standifer, Philosophy

Julie Szucs, Spanish and Portuguese

Karla Guinigundo, Global Initiatives

Hope Sweeney, Miller Center for Student Disability Services

Sharon Custer, Family Science and Social Work

Todd Edwards, Teacher Education

Laura Desmond, Global Initiatives  

Martha Sapiro, Global & Intercultural Studies

Vicka Bell-Robinson, Residence Life 

Bruce D’Arcus, Geography

David Prytherch, Geography

Bartosz Grudzinski, Geography

Hillel Gray, Comparative Religion and University Studies

Aacha Gregg, The Urban Cohort, Student Affairs in Higher Education

Marcia England, Geography

Cara M. Calabrese, MU Libraries

Susan Jakubowski, Geography

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