Ohio Just Became the 22nd State to Ban Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Kids

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

AP Photo/Patrick Orsagos

As expected, the Ohio Senate voted on Wednesday afternoon to override Governor Mike DeWine’s veto of an anti-transgender bill that restricts gender-affirming care and sports participation for trans kids.

The override passed with a vote of 23-9 in the Senate and, earlier this month in the Ohio House, with a vote of 65-28, according to NBC. This means that the bill, also known as the “Saving Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act,” will become law in 90 days, absent any legal intervention. The override makes Ohio the 22nd state to ban gender-affirming care for kids and the 24th whose state law banning trans girls and women from playing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity.

The bill, which DeWine vetoed in December, bans hormone blockers, gender-affirming hormone therapy, and surgery for trans youth (only a fraction of a percent of trans minors receive gender-affirming surgery), though it maintains an exception for (typically nonconsensual) procedures on intersex minors. Trans kids who initiate gender-affirming care before the bill is enacted will be allowed to continue receiving that care. HB 68 also bars trans girls and women from competing on women’s sports teams, including at private colleges, and would allow students who feel as though they have been “deprived of an athletic opportunity” by a trans student to sue their schools.

When DeWine vetoed the bill, he was lauded by LGBTQ+ advocates for releasing a statement that appeared to empathize with trans youth and their parents, writing, “Were I to sign Substitute House Bill 68 or were Substitute House Bill 68 to become law, Ohio would be saying that the State, that the government, knows what is best medically for a child rather than the two people who love that child the most, the parents.”

But in January, DeWine signed an executive order that immediately banned gender-affirming surgeries for minors for a period of 120 days. Additionally, the order included draft rules that would place a number of bureaucratic restrictions on the process of initiating transition for everyone seeking that care, not just minors.

In an interview with NBC, Dara Adkinson, the secretary of the board for trans advocacy organization TransOhio, said that in advance of the Senate vote, they had spoken with 68 families and seven trans adults who requested emergency relocation funds.

“They’re selling their homes, they’re changing jobs and careers and closing out all of their savings,” Adkinson told the publication. “They’re closing their businesses, they’re leaving their medical practices. The intense amount of personal and community trauma that is being inflicted by the government right now and putting these families through who just love their f---ing kids is so cruel.”

Mike DeWine declared an “emergency” requiring new rules for trans medical care.

Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, slammed the overturn of the veto in an emailed statement. “Ohio’s extremist lawmakers inexplicably refused facts, expert testimony, and deeply personal pleas from families who understand how this bill will bring pain and harm,” she said. “No one should be treated like an outcast in their own state or be forced to leave to receive health care they count on. The bill is inaccurate from start to finish, even in the name, as it does nothing to keep children safe and interferes in parents’ rights to support their children. Ohio deserves leaders who protect all citizens, who believe in facts and science, and a future where everyone can be safe and belong in their home state.”

Get the best of what’s queer. Sign up for Them’s weekly newsletter here.

Originally Appeared on them.