The war on gender

For 15 days after Ohio’s Congress passed House Bill 68, transgender youth across the state waited in anticipation to hear if Gov. Mike DeWine would veto the decision that stripped them of the ability to receive life-saving care.

Sponsored by Rep. Gary Click, House Bill 68 would ban gender-affirming healthcare for minors, including hormone-replacement therapy, puberty blockers and surgeries.

The bill would also prevent trans girls from competing on sports teams that align with their gender identity and require mental health professionals to evaluate patients for mental-health disorders, trauma and abuse before diagnosing them with a “gender-related condition.”

Ohio’s legislatures passed the bill on Dec. 13, 2023, with a vote of 62-27 in the House and 24-8 in the Senate. 

With The National Library of Medicine finding “82% of transgender individuals have considered killing themselves and 40% have attempted suicide, with suicidality highest among transgender youth,” it’s clear gender affirming care is life saving. 

A veto from DeWine could overturn the decision, and the next two weeks saw LGBTQ Ohioans and parents of trans youth speaking out, pleading that DeWine understand the danger of the legislation. 

DeWine vetoed House Bill 68 on Dec. 28, 2023.

According to The Columbus Dispatch, DeWine said he signed the veto because he listened to the families of trans youth.

“Parents looked me in the eye and told me that their child is alive today only because of the gender-affirming care that they have received. And youth who have transitioned to a new gender told me that they are thriving today because of that transition,” DeWine stated.

After the veto, there was a glimpse of hope for trans youth in Ohio, feeling that maybe — after decades of losing family, friends and partners to crippling dysphoria, discrimination and hatred — someone might be looking out for them.

The feeling was fleeting. 

DeWine signed an executive order Jan. 4 that banned all transgender Ohioans from receiving gender-affirming surgeries until they are 18.

Despite acknowledging the importance of gender-affirming care, DeWine still chose to take two steps back.

Ohio’s House followed suit and voted to override the veto Jan. 10 with a vote of 62-28. 

The Ohio Senate will vote Jan. 24 on whether to override the veto. The bill will go into effect if the Senate gets 60% of the vote. 

Many people fail to understand that there are already several barriers to receiving gender-affirming care, especially for trans minors.

The National Library of Medicine explains that these barriers include the cost of care, bias within medical fields, and the need for parental consent for minors. 

Many express concern over the irreversibility of gender affirming care. However, AP News reported in 2023 that only 1% of 8,000 surveyed trans teens expressed regret in their medical transitions. 

Still, DeWine chose to hear the outcries of his constituents and ignored them anyway. Ohio’s representatives chose to uphold an agenda based on hatred instead of listening to the truth. 

DeWine put it best himself when he said, “These are gut-wrenching decisions that should be made by parents and should be informed by teams of doctors who are advising them.”

Nevertheless, DeWine and Congress continue to disregard facts and act with malice. 

The government has shown it’s willing to let transgender youth die.