Ohio Civil Rights Commission Often Powerless to Address LGBTQ Discrimination

The Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC) is tasked with responding to and resolving complaints of discrimination.

People submit complaints for a variety of different types of discrimination, such as race, disability, sex, military status, religion and more.

Equality Ohio has obtained a number of complaints from the past several years and will be sharing them publically, with personally-identifiable information redacted.

The complaint below was filed in late February of 2015 and details a transgender teen being denied access to a teen event at a public library simply due to their gender identity.

Unfortunately, due to Ohio’s nondiscrimination laws being silent on LGBTQ people, OCRC is unable to do their job when LGBTQ people file a discrimination complaint.

The OCRC has stated on multiple occasions that they are properly equipped to evaluate these cases of discrimination, but they have their hands tied by the fact that LGBTQ people are not protected by Ohio’s nondiscrimination laws.

Passing the Ohio Fairness Act (HB160) is Ohio’s opportunity to correct our nondiscrimination laws to include the same legal protections for LGBTQ Ohioans that are afforded to individuals who experience discrimination based on race, sex, or religion. These are not special rights, but the same rights that all Ohioans should have access to, regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression or identity.

Find your local Ohio House Representative and Ohio Senator’s  phone number here and ask them to support HB160, the Ohio Fairness Act, to ensure that all Ohioans are protected from discrimination.