Ohio 4-H Violates Rights with Harmful Agenda


State taxpayer dollars are funding Ohio State University (OSU) Office of Cooperative Extension’s coopting the mission of the Ohio 4-H program to promote LGBT ideology over “positive youth development” and the objections of Ohio 4-H adult leaders, volunteers and parents. Nearly a year after OSU offered “confidential and financial” assistance to minors to attend the first “Ohio 4-H LGBTQ+ Summit,” and refused to confirm whether written parental permission was actually given, California LGBT policies are becoming firm policies in all of Ohio’s 88 counties.

OSU is intent on silencing or driving away parents, employees or volunteers who believe that there are only two sexes, male and female, and that homosexuality and “transgenderism” are inappropriate subjects for impressionable children and have nothing to do with 4-H. Indeed, interim director of Ohio 4-H, Kirk Bloir has clearly said: “If parents or volunteers don’t like that, then we are not the program for them.”

Ohio 4-H once reflected the values of the populations it serves. However, OSU is now using the program as a vehicle to enforce radical LGBT ideology and terminology, including the idea that pronouns are subjective, and do not correspond to objective biology of male or female. OSU is promoting mandatory use of other fake gender pronouns inconsistent with biological sex, including Zie,” “Zir” and “Zirs.”

OSU is requiring all Ohio children attending 4-H camps and other events to embrace LGBT “inclusion,” including sharing showers and sleeping facilities with opposite sex individuals who “identify” as another sex. OSU will house gender-confused boys with girls in overnight camp accommodations, with no knowledge or consent from the girls or their parents, and vice-versa for boys. Children are to be told: “Sometimes people are born a girl and as they grow up they realize that they feel like a boy. Sometimes people are born a boy and as they grow up they realize that they feel like a girl. Sometimes people grow up and realize that they don’t feel like a boy or a girl.”

For elementary children and older, OSU is promoting the “Genderbread Person” (a gingerbread man repurposed to include a highlighted genital area upon which is superimposed a transgender symbol) to promote gender confusion, including the idea that biological sex is inconsistent with gender, and that “gender identity” includes “woman” on one side of a “spectrum,” with “man” on the other, and “genderqueer,” as something in between.

OSU Ohio 4-H Program Manager Kayla Oberstadt’s 2018 PowerPoint reveals Ohio 4-H’s implementation of California guidelines, which includes that objecting parents and legislative oversight are seen as “challenges” to overcome. Along with Bloir,. Oberstadt is a prime mover behind the Ohio 4-H policy changes and the “Ohio 4-H LGBTQ+ Summit” conference. First presented in April 2018, the next LGBT conference is planned for October 2019 under the name of “Diversity Dialogue.”

The 2018 Summit included two full days of LGBT propaganda programming with breakout sessions, guest speakers and activities supported by the university’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The adult portion of the summit was a “Professional Development Day” designed for 4-H affiliated adults including post-high school participants, 4-H professionals, parents, volunteers, and others who work with 4-H kids. Panels included how to navigate “coming-out conversations,” how to create “inclusive” learning environments, and what to say to parents who object. OSU staff trained leaders and youth to “help” youth who want to “identify” as another sex without involving parents. Policy would now require 4-H members to be addressed by false gender pronouns and names consistent with asserted “gender identity,” even if program records or identification documents indicate a different sex or different legal name. Staff and volunteers were trained about the “Genderbread Person” and the false concept that gender does not correspond to male and female, but that there exists a spectrum of “gender identities” that do not correspond with biological sex.

A second conference, the “Youth Summit,” was promoted to middle school and high school students, ages 13-19. OSU offers materials and topics from LGBT activist groups on homosexuality and gender identity/“transgenderism” to these children.  2018 session topics included: “Coming out about coming out;” “Don’t box me in: understanding stereotypes;” “Gender identity 101;” “LGBTQ+ 4-H alumni panel;” “Out on your own: determining whether prospective colleges are actually LGBTQ-friendly;” “What is a GSA [Gay-Straight Alliance];” and “What is transgender.”

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “OSU should be held accountable for undermining parental rights, replacing children’s innocence with the values of LGBT activists, and misdirecting resources intended for the 4-H program. OSU cannot require parents, children, employees, or volunteers to give up personal privacy and their First Amendment rights as a condition for participation in a state program. If Ohio State continues, it risks gutting the Ohio 4-H program. Parents will seek out better opportunities for their children,” said Staver.

Used with the permission of Liberty Counsel.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.