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A Turning Point: Transgender high school athlete wants Ohio Statehouse to 'listen' as they consider banning her from competition

Ember has spoken in opposition of legislation in the Statehouse that would prohibit transgender female athletes from competing in girls sports.

CLEVELAND — Ember spends her summers as a theatre camp counselor and playing on a local softball team. She's worried about whether or not she'll be allowed to continue the latter her senior year of high school.

"I'm not some major athlete," Ember said in a recent interview. "I'm mediocre, at best. It shouldn't be a concern for anybody, and it's not a concern for me, truly."

The concern comes from wording in House Bill 151 dubbed the "Save Women's Sport Act" by its author, Ohio state Rep. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum). 3News reached out to Powell, but has not heard back.

Ember is a transgender female athlete, and the act would prohibit her from competing on her school's team, mediocre or not.

"This has helped me so much, being part of a sport, being part of a team," she told us. "It's such an incredible, amazing experience for me, and I want people to be able to have that."

RELATED: She's Ohio's only trans female playing varsity sports; lawmakers want her out

Ember cites four transgender girls athletes currently in middle school that could miss out on their entire high school athletic careers if this legislation passes in the State Senate, which is why her parents, Minna and Chris, support her in speaking out.

"We [were] just, 'Are you kidding? She just got here, and now you're going to take it away from her?'" mother Minna remembered thinking. "So she was the one who said, 'I have to talk about this, I have to speak up. If I don't, who will?' and it was hard as a family. ... We had a number of family discussions before we came out public."

The family is aware of the danger trans youth face when identified. That's why we aren't disclosing their last names, or the town where they live.

This legislation has Ember's mom and dad doing some serious evaluating, because they will stand by their daughter just as they did during her coming out journey.

"I think we're just normal people trying to live a normal life, but we're afraid we're going to be forced out of the state, that it's going to be an unfriendly state for us to live in in the future," Chris admitted. Actually, my company supports that."

It’s a story state Sen. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood)—herself a member of the LGBTQ community—has heard many times from people across the state.

"I think that's part of what's problematic about this bill, is that it would deny children the right to participate in sports," Antonio said. "It also creates a situation where it's demonizing them."

Ember spoke in opposition to the legislation, which argues she has an unfair advantage as a transgender athlete. Both she and Antonio believe the bill is a solution looking for a problem, since as far as they know, she's the only out female trans athlete at the high school level in the entire state. 

Ember has one request for Ohio senators if this bill goes up for a vote after summer recess.

"Listen. Just listen," she said. "Just try to see it from my perspective. I mean, I'm the one whose actually going through this. I and a few other trans people—again, there's not many trans people in sports to begin with—are the ones being effected. Listen to what we're saying."

Whether mediocre or stellar, just like any other kid who grows up playing catch, Ember wants the chance to play with a team.

RELATED: Ohio House Democrats call transgender sports bill 'state-mandated sexual assault'

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