Ohio families request emergency funds to flee state after trans care ban passed

Two people hold placards in support of trans healthcare during a protest in Amsterdam on 6 February 2022

At least 68 families in Ohio have requested emergency funding to flee the state, after Ohio’s Senate officially passed a ban on gender-affirming care for trans minors.

On Wednesday (24 January), Ohio’s Senate voted to override Governor Mike DeWine’s veto of House Bill 68, which prohibits trans and non-binary minors from accessing gender-affirming treatments and ban trans athletes from participating in girls’ and womens’ sports.

Following suit from the Ohio House that had voted earlier this month to override the Republican governor’s veto, Ohio’s Senate voted 23-9 to do the same and pass the bill, which will be made into law in 90 days.

a pink, blue and white trans flag waves in the air before some trees in a setting in the US, perhaps Ohio
At least 68 families in Ohio have requested emergency funding to flee the state as the Senate approves a ban on gender-affirming care for minors. (Getty)

The vote is an earth-shattering blow for transgender people and their families residing in Ohio, who had campaigned heavily for the bill to be blocked.

Local trans advocacy group TransOhio, who earlier this month launched an emergency fund to provide financial assistance to families looking to relocate or travel to access gender-affirming care, has already been inundated with calls from concerned families.

Secretary of the board of TransOhio, Dara Adkinson, told NBC News that 68 families and seven trans adults had been in touch in the days leading up to the Senate to request emergency relocation funding.

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“Their government is forcing them to uproot their lives,” Adkison told the news outlet.

 “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.”

Ahead of Wednesday’s vote, Governor DeWine reiterated that he had vetoed the bill – a decision he made after taking the time to meet with transgender and non-binary youth, their families, and medical professionals to discuss the impacts of gender-affirming care.

A person holds up a trans flag, both of which are bathed in an orange glow.
Ohio is now the 22nd state to enact a trans care ban for minors. (Getty)

The Republican state leader had argued that medical decisions should be made by the child’s parents rather than the government.

Unfortunately, Governor DeWine’s argument – and those of Ohio families, medical professionals, and educators – fell on deaf ears.

Speaking to the Senate on Wednesday, one of the bill’s co-sponsors Republican Sen. Kristina Roegner falsely stated that there was “no such thing” as gender-affirming care and that you “can’t affirm something that doesn’t exist.” 

Gender-affirming care, which had been widely available across the US for over a decade, is endorsed by major medical associations including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians,  the American Medical Association, the World Medical Association, and the World Health Organisation – to name a few.

Ohio is now the 22nd state that has introduced a law to restrict trans minors from accessing gender-affirming care, and the 24th to restrict trans girls and women from taking part in women’s school sports teams.

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