A protester holds the trans flag

A protester holds the trans flag and snaps in solidarity with other speakers, during a demonstration outside of the Ohio Statehouse on June 25, 2021.

(Photo: Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

'Beyond Cruel': Ohio House GOP Overrides Veto of Bill Attacking Trans Kids

"To make matters worse, Ohio is now considering adopting sweeping new rules that would restrict the care that Ohio providers can provide to all transgender patients of all ages," one group noted.

In another blow to LGBTQ+ rights, Republicans in the Ohio House of Representatives voted Wednesday to overturn GOP Gov. Mike DeWine's recent veto of legislation that would ban gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth and prohibit them from playing on school sports teams that match their identity.

While announcing his veto of House Bill 68 last month, DeWine—who spoke with families that would be affected by the bill—said, "Many parents have told me that their child would not have survived, would be dead today, if they had not received the treatment they received from one of Ohio's children's hospitals."

Rights groups and impacted families similarly highlighted the stakes after the Ohio House's 65-28 vote on Wednesday, which is expected to be followed by a vote in the state Senate on January 24.

As The Columbus Dispatch reported:

Betty Elswick of Marysville traveled to Columbus on Wednesday to protest the vote with her 16-year-old son, Parker, who has been receiving hormone therapy for four months. Elswick said the family will likely leave Ohio if House Bill 68 becomes law so Parker can access the healthcare he needs.

"If this gets passed through, it's going to kill kids," Parker Elswick said.

"We are extremely disappointed that the Ohio House continued their crusade against transgender youth and their families by returning early for an emergency session to override the governor's veto on H.B. 68," declared the ACLU of Ohio. "This state-sponsored vendetta against some of Ohio's most vulnerable young people is beyond cruel."

"The ACLU of Ohio stands in solidarity with all transgender youth and their families," the organization stressed. "This measure may force families to leave the state, disrupting communities and other deep ties to Ohio's history and economy."

The ACLU of Ohio also noted Wednesday that "to make matters worse, Ohio is now considering adopting sweeping new rules that would restrict the care that Ohio providers can provide to all transgender patients of all ages."

"These proposed restrictions, if finalized, would make Ohio the most restrictive state in the country with respect to evidence-based healthcare, imposing disastrous burdens on providers untethered from any medical guidelines," the group warned. "Ohioans do not want government officials involved in private medical decisions, these matters should be reserved for parents, children, and doctors."

While DeWine won widespread praise for his veto, "late Friday, the governor announced a new executive order and a set of rules from the state's health department that could threaten access to gender-affirming care across the state, even for trans adults," MSNBC columnist Katelyn Burns, the first openly transgender Capitol Hill reporter, explained Wednesday.

"Trans people used to die from secretive, underground bottom surgeries, and health issues frequently popped up among those who got black-market hormones with self-prescribed dosages," Burns noted. "We must avoid returning to a world where trans people are forced to turn to dark-market providers for their lifesaving medical needs, and that means we must vigorously and vocally oppose DeWine's onerous government overreach into the private lives of trans people. The quality of transition care depends on it."

In addition to battling over gender-affirming healthcare and sports teams, Ohio Republicans are considering House Bill 183, which would prevent trans students at public K-12 schools and universities from using bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their identity.

During an Ohio House Higher Education Committee hearing for the bathroom bill on Wednesday, one of the sponsors, Rep. Beth Lear (R-61), used a Bible verse to justify the bill and suggested supporters of trans students should be executed.

"If I had a child who thought he was a bird, am I going to take him to a doctor who tells him the best thing to do is to let him explore being a bird?" Lear also said, according to The Enquirer. "And oh, by the way, there's a five-story building next door—why don't you jump off and see if you can fly?"

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio argued Wednesday that "trans people deserve equal accommodations. Going to the bathroom is a normal bodily function and trans people should be able to do so in the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity."

"Make no mistake—bathroom bills are part of a larger dehumanization campaign against the trans community," the group added. "There are so many other initiatives the Legislature could be focused on instead of perpetuating unnecessary surveillance and harm to the trans community."

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