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Ohio Overrides Governor’s Veto, Enacts Gender-Affirming Health Care Ban

“We really did do everything we could,” one transgender activist in Ohio said.

A transgender rights advocate holds a sign outside the Ohio Statehouse during a rally in Columbus, Ohio, on June 24, 2021.

On Wednesday, the Ohio legislature overrode Gov. Mike DeWine’s (R) veto of a bill that bans gender-affirming care for transgender youth and restricts trans athletes from participating on school sports teams. The anti-trans law will go into effect in 90 days.

“This state-sponsored vendetta against some of Ohio’s most vulnerable young people is beyond cruel. We stand in solidarity with all trans youth,” the ACLU of Ohio said on social media.

Earlier this month, DeWine vetoed the bill, saying, “Parents have looked me in the eye and told me that but for this treatment, their child would be dead.” However, in an attempt to persuade right-wing lawmakers not to override his veto, DeWine introduced dangerous administrative rules that would restrict gender-affirming care for transgender patients of all ages.

“The restrictions would prohibit most primary care providers from providing hormone treatments to transgender people of any age, enforce a list of cumbersome requirements unfounded by medical evidence, and threaten to shut down care across the state,” the ACLU of Ohio said in a statement.

Despite DeWine attempting to placate conservative lawmakers with these sweeping new rules, the Ohio House ended vacation early and voted 65-28 to override DeWine’s veto. The Senate’s 23-9 vote on Wednesday to override DeWine’s veto makes Ohio the 23rd state to restrict gender-affirming care for transgender minors and the 24th state to restrict trans girls and women from playing on women’s sports teams.

“We really did do everything we could,” said Cam Ogden, a transgender advocate in the state who organized against the anti-trans bill. “I’m so damn tired.”

This veto override does not affect the administrative rules introduced by DeWine’s administration, which are still moving forward.

“To make matters worse, Ohio is considering adopting sweeping new rules that would restrict the care that Ohio providers can provide to all transgender patients of ALL ages,” the ACLU of Ohio said. “These restrictions, if finalized, would make Ohio the most restrictive state in the U.S. with respect to evidence-based health care.”

Within the last 72 hours, TransOhio, a transgender advocacy group in the state, has received requests for emergency funds from more than 68 families fleeing the state because of the enactment of the anti-trans law. The organization is requesting donations to help supply the emergency fund.

“Their government is forcing them to uproot their lives,” Dara Adkison, secretary of the board for TransOhio, told NBC News. “They’re selling their homes, they’re changing jobs and careers and closing out all of their savings. 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.”

Since the start of the year, state lawmakers have introduced more than 350 anti-LGBTQ bills across the country.

“The right is appearing to shift to targeting adults and all queer people. As we have said time and time again, this was never about protecting kids,” LGBTQ+ legislative researcher Allison Chapman said on social media. “This is a part of a highly organized, heavily funded initiative to force queer people back into the closet.”

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