LGBTQ group says dozens of families looking to leave Ohio because of law on trans kids
The ban on gender transition treatment for minors and on trans athletes in girls’ sports will take effect in April, now that Republicans in the Ohio Senate have joined their colleagues in the House in overriding Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto of House Bill 68. That has people who would be affected looking into what happens next.
Ohio’s children’s hospitals say that people who are already in treatment will be able to continue it. Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) had said that to reporters before the override vote.
But Maria Bruno with the Equality Ohio, the state’s largest LGTBQ group, said it’s “ambiguous” whether that’s true.
“I read it slightly differently, in that it's unclear whether people who have received mental health treatment but not started any prescription therapy, that those folks—it's unclear whether they would be allowed to access this care,” Bruno said.
And she noted a statewide organization that works with trans people has gotten a lot of calls.
“TransOhio has been, I think they said they've already been contacted by 68 families looking to relocate and or receive care in other states,” Bruno said. “This deeply affects our community.”
Bruno said Equality Ohio is deciding how to support families with trans kids and “looking at all of our legal options.”
The group is also looking at rules DeWine proposed on gender-affirming care when he vetoed HB 68. He’s asked for state agencies to collect and track data on health care provided to trans children in Ohio. But activists said they’re concerned about a section of the rules that would require trans adults to get detailed plans and consent from medical professionals before they receive care as well.
“The cruelty of it is astonishing. It inflicts grave harm on transgender children,” said Freda Levenson, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio. But Levenson isn’t saying if her group will sue.
Two socially conservative groups praised the Senate’s action. The Center for Christian Virtue said in a statement HB 68 “prohibits the practice of dangerous and sterilizing transgender medicine on children and protects girls in K-12 and collegiate sports from being forced to compete against boys.” It’s estimated there are fewer than six trans athletes competing in girls’ sports in Ohio, and the Ohio High School Athletic Association has rules that govern them.
Ohio Right to Life said the law “will prohibit physicians from performing experimental gender-reassignment surgery on minors and from prescribing cross-sex hormones or drugs to block puberty for the purpose of gender transition.“ Gender-affirming surgeries are banned under an executive order signed by DeWine Jan. 5, a week after he vetoed HB 68. Children’s hospitals said they weren’t happening in Ohio anyway.