Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, & Queer

REMEMBER, it is always your choice whether or not to disclose your identity, sexual orientation, and/or gender. You are under no obligation to do so under any circumstances.




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Can someone fire hire me because I am Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer?

In most of Ohio, yes this is something that can happen. Ohio does not have laws that prevent employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Ohio is an “at will” employment state, an employee can be fired at anytime—without warning—for any reason, without the employer having to establish “just cause” —see glossary below). These places in Ohio have an LGB or LGBTQ anti-discrimination ordinance that protects individuals from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity:

  • Akron
  • Athens
  • Bexley
  • Bowling Green
  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland
  • Columbus
  • Dayton
  • East Cleveland
  • Oxford
  • Toledo
  • The Village of Yellow Springs.

Do I have the right to change my gender marker on my birth certificate?

No. Ohio does not allow trans people who were born in Ohio to change their gender marker on their Ohio birth certificate.

Can I marry someone who is the same sex as myself?

Yes. There is complete marriage equality throughout Ohio and the United States. Married same-sex couples also have equal access to all the federal benefits that married opposite-sex couples have.

I need housing. Am I protected from discrimination?

No. Ohio does not have a law that prohibits or protects people from housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. However, if the property is funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), you cannot be denied housing based on your sexual orientation or gender identity under any circumstances. There are Ohio cities and counties that now have anti-discrimination ordinances based on sexual orientation: Counties: Franklin, Lucas, Montgomery, and Summit. Cities: Akron, Athens, Bexley, Bowling Green, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Columbus, Coshocton, Dayton, East Cleveland, Lakewood, Newark, North Olmstead, Oberlin, Oxford, Shaker Heights and Toledo. Village: Yellow Springs.

Do I have the right to change my gender marker on my state ID or driver’s license?

Although not legislated, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) has a formal policy in place that does allow for the gender marker on your Ohio-issued photo identification card or driver’s license to be changed.

Can I legally change my name?

Yes. Name changes are typically handled by your county’s probate court. It would be best to call or visit the website for your county’s probate court to try and obtain more information for the name change.

I’m trans. What are my rights regarding gender affirmation surgery?

The process of gender affirmation can include a change in name/pronouns, starting hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and/or gender affirmation surgery. It is also a complicated and expensive process that often starts with counseling. If you are thinking of accessing transition related resources, first talk with a trusted doctor about how you can start the process.

Someone hurt me because I’m LGBTQ, is that a hate crime?

Under the federal law, yes it is a hate crime. Ohio’s hate crime laws do not include protections for sexual orientation or gender identity; however if a crime is committed, you would still want to report it so that it can be investigated and prosecuted. Below are some examples of things you may experience that may be hate crimes:

  • Pranks, hazing or intimidation at your school/college or in your neighborhood based on being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer
  • Homophobic, transphobic, or biphobic grafitti and/or vandalism of your personal property or space
  • Verbal, physical or sexual violence or assault based on your sexual orientation or gender identity.

Where can I get support if people in my community are mistreating me?

The Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO) will support you through this process in a safe and affirming way: Toll free: 1-866-86-BRAVO (1-866-862-7286) Columbus: 614-294-7868 || Cincinnati: 513-453-4001 || Cleveland: 216-370-7361 You can also call the National GLBT Youth Hotline: 1-800-246-PRIDE (800-246-7743)

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Do I have the right to access government-funded housing programs?

Yes. Government-funded or subsidized housing programs cannot refuse housing to you based on your sexual orientation or gender identity.

As a person who is trans, what do I need to know when it comes to shelters?

Most importantly, it’s your choice to disclose your identity. Shelters that are funded by HUD must provide you shelter according to your stated gender identity. Privately funded and/or faith-based shelters may work differently.

If I am in foster care, what rights do I have to make sure I feel safe?

In Ohio, it’s illegal for a foster parent to discriminate against a youth in care based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. This includes name calling and exclusion from activities that other youth/family members engage in. If you believe you are being treated unfairly while in foster care, you have the right to speak in private with your caseworker, attorney, or guardian ad litem and report any concerns.

Do I have the right to choose the gender of my doctor and nurses?

In non-emergency situations, you have the right to choose the gender (or other characteristics) of your doctor to make yourself more comfortable.

Am I able to access existing programs and support for trans youth?

Yes. In Ohio, most insurance plans, including Medicaid and Medicaid HMO plans, cover services related to transitioning. These services include counseling services and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). It is important to know that if you are under 18, you will need parent/guardian consent before beginning HRT.

Are there mental health providers that specialize in serving LGBTQ youth?

Yes. There are LGBTQ affirming providers across the state who can assist with mental health services. Information to access some of the providers and resources are provided below: Stonewall Columbus – LGBTQ Community Center that provides individual, couples, family, youth, transgender, and group therapy. Equitas Health – Individual and group counseling available. Kaleidoscope Youth Center – Peer support groups. RAD Remedy – Resource for finding trans friendly providers.

Am I required to disclose if I’ve tested positive for HIV/AIDS?

Yes. Ohio mandates that you disclose your HIV/AIDS status to persons that you may be intimate with. There is additional inform in the Well-Being section of the Taking Charge of the guide.

What rights and protections do I have in a juvenile justice facility?

LGBTQ youth in juvenile justice facilities must receive equal and respectful treatment, in addition to safety, privacy, dignity, and quality medical and behavioral health care. Staff cannot punish you for not conforming to “normal” gender roles and this includes placing you in isolation for protection.

  • Staff are not allowed to automatically house you in a unit based on your assigned sex at birth and must make decisions on a case by case basis.
  • Staff must defer to you and ask which staff you are comfortable with having your sexual orientation or gender identity disclosed to and when that disclosure should occur.
  • Staff should also ensure that you receive care from a qualified medical professional and policies must allow for any medically necessary transition-related health care as determined by a medical professional who is familiar with the current relevant standards of care.

What can I do if I’m getting bullied in school?

Talk to a teacher, counselor, or parent that you trust. Although Ohio does not have any specific laws that protect students from harassment or bullying based on sexual orientation or gender identity, your school or district may a have a policy in place that addresses the issue.

Are there organizations to support LGBTQ students in Ohio?

Yes. feel free to check out some of the resources below: PFLAG – straight ally outreach, anti-bullying advocacy, scholarships; national, local chapters GLSEN – Coordinated advocacy and action, safe space resources; national, local chapters Kaleidoscope Youth Center – gathering place, social events, local campaign support, development of Gay-Straight Alliance clubs at schools, state legislation; based in Columbus Gender Spectrum – Student Transition Resource - National organization that has resources on how to navigate transitioning in schools.


“Just Cause” - a sensible, reasonable and legal reason for doing something.


Transitioning - the process an individual goes through to change their outward gender identity so that it is on accord with their inner gender identity.




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Content in this online FAQ does not constitute legal advice.

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