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Ohio judge temporarily blocks ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth


Ohio judge temporarily blocks ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth

Apr 16, 2024 | 3:16 pm ET
By Morgan Trau
Ohio judge temporarily blocks ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth
COLUMBUS, Ohio — DECEMBER 13: An advocate for the trans community protests outside the Senate Chamber while inside lawmakers debated and passed HB 68 that bans gender-affirming care for transgender youth and bars transgender kids from participating on sports teams, December 13, 2023, at the Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Graham Stokes for Ohio Capital Journal. Republish photo only with original article.)

A Columbus judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked a controversial Ohio bill banning gender-affirming care for transgender youth and prohibiting trans students from participating in athletics on teams that align with their identity.

Republican Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Michael Holbrook has issued a temporary restraining order on House Bill 68, which would have prevented LGBTQ+ minors from accessing care such as hormone blockers, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and some mental health services. It would have also prohibited trans athletes from taking part in middle and high school sports. Along with requiring schools, state institutions of higher education, and private colleges to designate separate single-sex teams and sports for each sex, H.B. 68 provides the opportunity for legal action.

The ACLU of Ohio, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of a transgender child and her family, is celebrating their win.

“We are thrilled and relieved that Ohio’s ban on gender-affirming health care has been halted, and that transgender youth can continue, for the near term at least, to access medically necessary healthcare. Our legal battle will continue until, we hope, this cruel restriction is permanently blocked. Ohio families have a constitutional right to make personal healthcare decisions without government intrusion,” Freda Levenson, their legal director, said.

The temporary restraining order is for two weeks, but it is renewable.

“The sun is shining, the court ruled in our favor and trans youth live to be able to access gender-affirming care for another day,” Mallory Golski with Kaleidoscope Youth Center (KYC) said.

KYC aims to provide a community for LGBTQ+ teens by holding educational programming and discussion groups. Many of the individuals who go there are transgender, and have been scared and heartbroken by the thought of not getting their health care.

This is an issue that has captured the attention of lawmakers in Columbus. Earlier this year, we reported that more than 100 families with transgender members have made plans to leave the state after Ohio Republicans passed an override on Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto of a bill banning gender-affirming care.

In December, DeWine vetoed the legislation and said: “Were House Bill 68 to become law, Ohio would be saying that the state, that the government, knows better what is medically best for a child better than the two people who love the child the most — the parents. I cannot sign this bill as it was currently written and just a few minutes ago, I vetoed the bill.”

The following month, a supermajority of Republican lawmakers voted to override DeWine. The law was slated to take effect April 24 before being blocked by the judge in the ACLU’s lawsuit.

“We know that this is not the end all be all for access to gender-affirming care, but it is a really, really positive step toward protecting this care for trans youth,” Golski said. “The fight for accessing gender-affirming care is far from over.”

This article was originally published on News5Cleveland.com and is published in the Ohio Capital Journal under a content-sharing agreement. Unlike other OCJ articles, it is not available for free republication by other news outlets as it is owned by WEWS in Cleveland.

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