On Friday, GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, and Equality Ohio, which advocates and educates to achieve fair treatment and equal opportunity for all Ohioans regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, called on Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to veto Sub. HB 68, which passed the state legislature last week and bans essential health care for transgender youth and prohibits them from participating in school sports.
Gov. Mike DeWine has ten days from receipt of the bill by the Secretary of State to veto HB 68, sign it into law, or do nothing and allow the bill to become law automatically.
☎️ “I called DeWine’s office and have appealed to 20 or so other people to do so. Thanks for your work.”
Happy Friday! Let’s all channel this kind of action mindset today. Tell DeWine: VETO HB 68 ^^^ pic.twitter.com/Hz7eMNY2aF
— Equality Ohio (@EqualityOhio) December 15, 2023
“Governor DeWine’s veto of HB 68 is crucial to preventing further harm to children and families in Ohio,” said Maria Bruno (she/they), Policy Director of Equality Ohio. “If HB 68 becomes law, politicians would be overruling parents on their child’s most personal, important medical care.
“This bill is two bills in one: it would ban and even criminalize lifesaving medical treatment endorsed by every major medical association in the country, and overrule existing, thoughtful OHSAA and NCAA participation policies in order to prevent a handful of kids from playing school sports with their friends, further alienating and villainizing transgender and gender nonconforming youth. This isn’t just government overreach, it’s a cruel weaponization of state power against kids.
“Equality Ohio will continue to fight for trans youth, and we are grateful for the thousands of community members, businesses, and lawmakers who have spoken out against this bill. To the transgender youth in Ohio: we see you and we love you. Ohio is your home and we will never stop fighting for you.”
According to Equality Ohio, 585 people submitted testimony to lawmakers to reject these efforts since HB 68 was introduced, compared to only approximately 40 supporters of the bill, many of whom were not from Ohio.
Since the bill passed, Equality Ohio reported that calls have poured into Gov. DeWine’s office, filling two voice mailboxes over two days; and engagement among followers on Equality Ohio’s Instagram increased by 300%. Equality Ohio recommends residents, health care professionals, business owners and all other statewide stakeholders email the Governor to urge him to veto.
“Ohio legislators have failed their residents by forcing a bill forward that makes it impossible for the entire community of transgender young people to access basic and essential health care, or to be happy and healthy alongside their peers in playing school sports,” said Sarah Kate Ellis (she/her), GLAAD’s President and CEO. “Transgender youth deserve the same equal opportunities as anyone else growing up in Ohio; and should not be denied fair access to health care and school extracurriculars. Lawmakers are playing a reckless game with transgender lives, perpetuating harm and discrimination and helping no one. Governor DeWine should listen to the families that would be directly impacted by this devastating bill, the overwhelming number of medical experts and evidence in opposition, and the Ohio business leaders who know attacks on LGBTQ people are bad for their industries. Most of all, Governor DeWine should consider the future he wants for all of Ohio’s youth and residents, look into his heart, and send a message of love and acceptance by vetoing HB 68.”
A recent population analysis shows Ohio has 557,000+ LGBTQ+ residents, 6.2% of the state population, among the top ten states where LGBTQ+ people and families live. Research shows states that include transgender students in school sports have more girls participating in sports than states with bans. As Ohio struggles to attract new talent, this bill could have a significant economic cost on taxpayers: this year in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis’ administration authorized more than $1.3 million for legal and expert-witness fees in the effort to ban Medicaid coverage of health care for potentially thousands of transgender residents.
Should Gov. DeWine sign HB 68, it would also be at odds with every major medical association and leading world health authority that supports health care for transgender people as safe, effective, lifesaving care. Moreover, the International Olympic Committee released guidelines for transgender inclusion in sports, created by experts in athletics, medicine and human rights, to determine that no participant should be presumed to have an advantage based on sex assigned at birth or other characteristics. Governors in Kentucky, Utah, Wisconsin, and Arizona have all vetoed bills similar to the anti-transgender ban pending in Ohio.
Federal judges in Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee have all ruled against these states’ respective bans or blocked bans from being enacted, including rulings by three Trump-nominated justices, calling the bans unconstitutional and a violation of due process. In Ohio’s neighbor state, Kentucky, Judge David Hale wrote: “the Court finds that the treatments barred by SB 150 are medically appropriate and necessary for some transgender children under the evidence-based standard of care accepted by all major medical organizations in the United States.” The ACLU of Kentucky, along with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, noted SB 150 singles out transgender kids by blocking access to health care that non-transgender kids can receive. They also say it unjustly limits a parent’s rights to make medical decisions for their children.
Ohio residents can send a message to Governor DeWine by visiting www.governor.ohio.gov/contact or calling 614-466-3555 or 614-644-4357 to urge a veto on HB 68.
Reporters can reference a full fact sheet with more details at https://glaad.org/releases/glaad-equality-ohio-fact-sheet-for-reporters-on-hb-68-ban-on-health-care-and-sports-for-transgender-people-in-ohio/.