As Ohio Senate Overrides Governor’s Veto of Ban on Medically Necessary Care for Trans Youth, Advocates Launch Emergency Resources to Help Impacted Families


January 25, 2024

Adam Polaski | Campaign for Southern Equality | 610.306.7956 | adam@southernequality.org

MD Sitzes | Equality Ohio | 614-224-0400 | media@equalityohio.org 

Jen Kuhn I Kaleidoscope Youth Center I 614.294.5437 I jen@kycohio.org

As Ohio Senate Overrides Governor’s Veto of Ban on Medically Necessary Care for Trans Youth, Advocates Launch Emergency Resources to Help Impacted Families

Ohio families are now eligible for support from the Southern Trans Youth Emergency Project, including grant funding and patient navigation services. 

COLUMBUS – Yesterday the Ohio Senate voted to override Governor Mike DeWine’s December veto of HB68, a bill that bans medically necessary healthcare for transgender youth and prohibits transgender young people from participating in school sports. Since the House has already voted to override the veto, the bill will take effect in 90 days – meaning that soon, trans youth in Ohio will be unable to initiate gender-affirming care, and non-Ohio residents who currently receive care in the state will lose their care. 

The law allows transgender youth who are residents of Ohio and who have already begun a “course of treatment” to continue accessing that care. The most immediately impacted people will be families of transgender youth from outside of Ohio who access care in the state – including young people from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana, where bans have all passed (the Indiana law is not currently in effect). 

In response to this crisis, advocates have come together to launch resources to support families navigating this challenging period. Families of transgender youth impacted by Ohio’s healthcare ban are now eligible to apply for support from the Southern Trans Youth Emergency Project (STYEP), a regional project of the Campaign for Southern Equality, led in partnership in Ohio with Equality Ohio, TransOhio, and the Kaleidoscope Youth Center. The project helps transgender youth whose access to gender-affirming care has been disrupted by government policies. Through STYEP, families can receive accurate information about HB68; patient navigation to identify out-of-state gender-affirming care providers; and emergency grants of $500 for immediate needs, including travel, medication, and other logistics. Families can request support at www.southernequality.org/OHResources. Families in Kentucky should contact the Kentucky Health Justice Network for specific support on patient navigation and more, and for emergency grants, visit this website. 

TransOhio has also launched the Trans-formation Emergency Fund, which helps trans Ohioans of all ages. Learn more here, and make a donation to this fund here. 

Advocates will discuss these emergency resources on a Community Town Hall on Thursday, January 25. 

Siobhan Boyd-Nelson (she/her pronouns), Co-Interim Executive Director of Equality Ohio, said: 

“We know that many families in Ohio and beyond are reeling right now – as they watch the betrayal of this cruel attack from extreme lawmakers. Ohioans don’t want the government intruding into their private medical care – we literally just passed a ballot measure to that effect three months ago. We are honored to partner on this project to provide families who received care in Ohio options to continue – even as we explore every option possible to overturn this unjust law.”

James Knapp (he/him pronouns), Board Chair of TransOhio, said today:

“My heart is breaking today for transgender young people today who are not only tangibly losing access to life-saving healthcare – but also receiving a disturbing message of rejection from their state government. To youth impacted by HB68, please know: You are loved, you are worthy of respect and dignity, and there is a community here in Ohio and beyond that is ready to support you.”

[Donate to the Trans-Formation Emergency Fund: https://tinyurl.com/transohiofund]

Erin Upchurch, MSSA, LISW-S (she/her pronouns), Executive Director of the Kaleidoscope Youth Center, said:

“HB68 is a disgusting and craven political attack that blatantly ignores the health and well-being of transgender youth in Ohio and beyond, and the people who love them. I want transgender youth and their families to know this: Kaleidoscope Youth Center is committed to being a soft landing for you to thrive and be free, with love and support. While no one should have to leave their home state to access care, these emergency resources will help families continue to connect to these much-needed services.”

[Support for Families of Trans Youth: support@kycohio.org]

Oliver Hall (they/them pronouns), Trans Health Director of the Kentucky Health Justice Network, said:

“Kentucky trans youth and their families have already been through so much in the past year, and the passage of our state’s SB150 was devastating, forcing many families to seek medically necessary care in Ohio. Now that lifeline is gone too – and it’s up to all of us to come together and do everything in our power to support these families. Everyone deserves access to the healthcare they need – and no one should be caught in the political crossfire that we are experiencing in so many states today.”

Allison Scott (she/her pronouns), Director of Impact & Innovation at the Campaign for Southern Equality, said:

“Our team has watched a relentless wave of anti-transgender healthcare bans pass all across the South in the past year, and we have developed strategies that help impacted families understand their options and preserve continuity of care even in the face of oppressive legislation. When we saw this attack in Ohio, we realized that the systems we have built could help – and so we are honored to expand the Southern Trans Youth Emergency Project into Ohio. Southern hospitality is about helping your neighbor and sharing your resources and strategies, and that’s what we intend to do.”

Those interested in requesting support from the Southern Trans Youth Emergency Project can visit https://southernequality.org/OHresources.

Ohio advocates are also responding to new proposed administrative rules that impact transgender youth and adults – but these STYEP resources are specifically for families impacted by HB68. Follow Ohio organizations for the latest on the proposed administrative rules and how to take action.

An estimated 38% of transgender youth in the United States – and 89% of trans youth in Southern states – live in a state that has passed a ban. Click here for a map of where bans have passed and where they are in effect or on hold pending litigation. Since February 2023, Campaign for Southern Equality has led the Southern Trans Youth Emergency Project, which serves as a resource center for families, helping them access out-of-state healthcare options so their child can continue to receive uninterrupted care, and providing emergency grants of $500 to defray the financial burdens resulting from these bans. CSE has distributed more than $333,000 in direct emergency grants to more than 650 families and individuals across 15 states. STYEP is currently serving 83% of transgender youth nationwide who live in a state with a ban.

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Based in Asheville, NC, the Campaign for Southern Equality works for full LGBTQ equality across the South. Our work is rooted in commitments to equity in race, gender and class. 

Equality Ohio 

Equality Ohio identifies and transforms systems and institutions so LGBTQ+ Ohioans can fully access legal and lived equality. For more information: https://equalityohio.org/  


TransOhio is Ohio’s first and largest state-wide trans-focused equality group. Founded in 2005, TransOhio is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization comprised entirely of volunteers dedicated to education, advocacy, support, and providing safe and welcoming community to trans people and their allies. For more information, please visit https://transohio.org

Kaleidoscope Youth Center

 Kaleidoscope Youth Center (KYC) is Ohio’s largest and longest-serving organization in Ohio solely dedicated to supporting LGBTQIA+ youth ages 12 – 24.  Services include a Drop-in Center, community education and training, advocacy and civic engagement, behavioral health and wellness programming, and housing opportunities. For more information: www.kycohio.org

Kentucky Health Justice Network builds the power of Kentuckians to achieve reproductive justice. We support this mission through direct support, education and outreach. KHJN’s Trans Health program works to help Trans Kentuckians access the healthcare they need, as well as reaffirm our autonomy and community.