News (USA)

Ohio’s governor just made life a lot harder for transgender people

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine speaking at a Friday press conference.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine speaking at a press conference. Photo: Screenshot

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) has signed an executive order banning hospitals in the state from performing gender-affirming surgeries on minors. The ban went into effect immediately, even though such surgeries aren’t typically conducted on minors.

DeWine recently vetoed a bill to ban all gender-affirming medical treatments for minors (including medication) and to ban transgender females from female scholastic sports. It’s unclear if his executive order seeks to avoid an override of his veto by the state’s Republican legislators.

During a Friday morning press conference, DeWine also announced that the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Health and Addiction Services would on Friday file draft rules that would prevent “fly-by-night” providers from providing gender-affirming care (including medication) to adults “with no counseling and no basic standards to assure quality of care.”

The draft rules, he said, would require a multidisciplinary team — including an endocrinologist, a bioethicist, and a psychiatrist — to support individuals through care; a comprehensive care plan that includes informed consent from patients of the “risks” associated with gender-affirming care; and lengthy mental health counseling prior to being considered for treatment.

Lastly, DeWine announced draft rules that would require Ohio healthcare providers to report “deidentified data” on cases of gender dysphoria and treatment.

DeWine admitted that he has not come across any families seeking gender-affirming surgeries for their minor children, and that he has been assured that such surgeries are not performed on minors in Ohio.

“There is very little [evidence] that that is occurring, but let’s make sure,” he said.

The governor repeatedly stressed his concern about “fly-by-night operations” that might “set themselves up and start dispensing hormones” to adults without “the psychiatric care that we know is so very, very important.” However, he admitted that he was unaware of any complaints about such “fly-by-night operations” in the state.

As DeWine noted, House Bill 68, which would ban transgender minors from receiving gender-affirming care, and which he vetoed last Friday, does not address care for transgender adults. The draft rules DeWine announced today would impose restrictions and hurdles on adults seeking gender-affirming care.

Today’s announcement comes as Ohio House Republicans are set to return to the state capital next week, cutting their winter recess short by weeks just to override DeWine’s veto of the anti-trans bill.

As local ABC affiliate News 5 Cleveland reported, Ohio lawmakers were not scheduled to return to Columbus until the end of the month. But after DeWine’s December 29 veto, House Republicans settled on a plan to return for a January 10 session specifically to override the governor’s veto. Some lawmakers are even skipping previously scheduled fundraisers to return to the capital to push through the anti-trans bill.

As News 5 notes, a three-fifths majority vote in both the Ohio House and Senate is required to override the veto. State Rep. Josh Williams (R), who supports the legislation, said that he believes there are enough votes to override the veto.

At Friday’s press conference, DeWine would not comment on whether he thought his executive order and the draft rules would persuade his fellow Republicans not to override his veto. He said that today’s moves were aimed at filling “holes” he saw when looking at the issue of gender-affirming care, including what he characterized as a lack of data on the “frequency and circumstances” in which such care is provided.

“Whatever the legislature does, we’re going through with this,” he said.

Despite his consistent position that parents, not lawmakers, should be making decisions about gender-affirming care for their children, DeWine said that he would not consider signing an executive order barring state legislators from passing legislation to limit or restrict such care.

In addition to banning gender-affirming care for minors, HB 68 also bans trans students from participating in school sports on teams that align with their gender identity. DeWine did not announce any plans to address that part of the law, and said that he is focused on the issue of gender-affirming care. His veto, he said, did not reflect his position on the sports ban.

Don't forget to share:

Support vital LGBTQ+ journalism

Reader contributions help keep LGBTQ Nation free, so that queer people get the news they need, with stories that mainstream media often leaves out. Can you contribute today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated

Methodists urge ministers to avoid gendered terms like husband & wife

Previous article

Almost everyone prosecuted under Maryland’s HIV criminal law was a Black man

Next article