Coalition of LGBTQ+ Organizations Unite Against Anti-Trans Legislation and Announce “Ohio Is Home” Campaign


December 13, 2023 


Celina Coming |ACLU of Ohio: ccoming@acluohio.org   

MD Sitzes | Equality Ohio: md@equalityohio.org, media@equalityohio.org 

Coalition of LGBTQ+ Organizations Unite Against Anti-Trans Legislation and Announce “Ohio Is Home” Campaign

[COLUMBUS] – A coalition of LGBTQ+ affirming organizations in Ohio including TransOhio, Equality Ohio, ACLU of Ohio, HRC, Kaleidoscope Youth Center, Equitas Health, and NASW have united in opposition to harmful legislation that threatens the freedom, safety, and future of LGBTQ+ Ohioans. This coalition is proud to announce the release of a sign-on letter that, so far, over 1700 Ohio-based* businesses and individuals have signed expressing their commitment to protecting the rights and well-being of all residents, especially transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary individuals.

“House Bill 68 centers the biases and misunderstandings of adults and is out of touch with the actual needs of young people in Ohio,” Kaleidoscope Youth Center Executive Director Erin Upchurch, MSSA, LISW-S, said. “We need laws that help Ohioans live free from discrimination, harassment and violence, not legislation that strips people of their autonomy and seeks to further marginalize and promote harm. Ohio’s youth and young adults deserve to grow up in a state that respects the health, wellbeing and basic humanity of all residents.”

“No one should be forced to choose between their home and their basic freedoms, and families should be able to make private, personal decisions free from government interference. If HB 68 is signed into law, LGBTQIA+communities all across the state will be in crisis overnight. It is our collective duty to protect the freedom and liberty of all Ohioans, especially transgender youth,” added Micah Mitchell, Policy Fellow for the ACLU of Ohio.

“The resounding rejection from Ohioans of HB 68 just last week at the Statehouse is unmistakable, with 300 opponent testimonies versus 13 from proponents this week at the Statehouse,” added Equality Ohio Policy Director Maria Bruno.“In a year where Ohio has passed less than 15 bills, the disproportionate focus on 24 hearings for anti-transgender legislation needs to stop. The ratio in favor of opponent testimonies is a powerful testament to Ohioans’ unwavering stance against discrimination, compelling lawmakers to prioritize justice over their own interests.”

“We must remember that, despite repeated attempts to reduce and restrict access to support systems for trans, nonbinary, intersex, and gender nonconforming youth, that transgender Ohioans cannot be legislated out of public spaces. And that attempts to weaken our community will not tear down the systems of support for trans people that exist across Ohio,”
said James Knapp, Chair of TransOhio. 

“HB 68 – which includes both a gender affirming care ban for youth and a sports ban – actively harms transgender, non-binary, gender expansive, and intersex youth and young adults across Ohio. In restricting both access to care and athletic spaces, this bill tells these young Ohioans that they are not welcome in their own state,” said Dr. Rhea Debussy, Director of External Affairs for Equitas Health.

“All Ohioans deserve a state where they are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve,” added Human Rights Campaign Senior Director of Legal Policy Cathryn Oakley. “The relentless focus on anti-LGBTQ+ policy is shameful and out of touch with the values of the people of Ohio. Lawmakers in the state should be working to ensure that everyone, no matter who they are or who they love, is able to live free of discrimination and violence. Ohio is, and should remain, home for Ohioans of all lived experiences.”

The coalition calls on all elected officials to reject HB 68 and any legislation that fosters discrimination, division, and the forced displacement of Ohioans. Ohio is our home, and we are united in ensuring that every resident, regardless of their background, can enjoy the rights and protections they deserve.

Read the Ohio is Home sign-on letter.

*Original Press Release has been updated to reflect rising number of signatures on the letter.