(Columbus, OH and New York, NY, December 15, 2023) — GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, and Equality Ohio, which advocates and educates to achieve fair treatment and equal opportunity for all Ohioans regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, issued guidance today for reporters on Sub. HB 68, a bill in Ohio which passed the state legislature on December 13. The bill bans essential health care for transgender youth and prohibits them from participating in school sports.

Gov. Mike DeWine has ten days from receipt of the bill by the Secretary of State to veto the bill, sign it into law, or do nothing and allow the bill to become law automatically.

Fast facts: 

  • According to Equality Ohio, 585 people submitted testimony to lawmakers to reject these efforts since HB 68 was introduced, compared to only approximately 40 supporters of the bill, many of whom were not from Ohio. 
  • After the bill passed, Equality Ohio reported that calls poured into Gov. DeWine’s office, filling two voice mailboxes over two days; and engagement among followers on Equality Ohio’s Instagram increased by 300%. Equality Ohio recommends residents, health care professionals, business owners and all other statewide stakeholders email the Governor to urge him to veto.
  • A recent population analysis shows Ohio has 557,000+ LGBTQ+ residents, 6.2% of the state population, among the top ten states where LGBTQ+ people and families live.
  • Every major medical association and leading world health authority supports health care for transgender people as safe, effective, lifesaving care. 30+ statements here.
  • The International Olympic Committee released guidelines for transgender inclusion in sports, created by experts in athletics, medicine and human rights, to determine that no participant should be presumed to have an advantage based on sex assigned at birth or other characteristics.
  • Research shows states that include transgender students in school sports have more girls participating in sports than states with bans.

Maria Bruno (she’they), Policy Director of Equality Ohio, issued the following statement about the status of the bill:

“Governor DeWine’s veto of HB 68 is crucial to preventing further harm to children and families in Ohio. If HB 68 becomes law, politicians would be overruling parents on their child’s most personal, important medical care. 

“This bill is two bills in one: it would ban and even criminalize lifesaving medical treatment endorsed by every major medical association in the country, and overrule existing, thoughtful OHSAA and NCAA participation policies in order to prevent a handful of kids from playing school sports with their friends, further alienating and villainizing transgender and gender nonconforming youth.

“This isn’t just government overreach, it’s a cruel weaponization of state power against kids.

“Equality Ohio will continue to fight for trans youth, and we are grateful for the thousands of community members, businesses, and lawmakers who have spoken out against this bill. 

“To the transgender youth in Ohio: we see you and we love you. Ohio is your home and we will never stop fighting for you.” 

Sarah Kate Ellis (she/her), GLAAD’s President and CEO, released the following statement in response to the news:

“Ohio legislators have failed their residents by forcing a bill forward that makes it impossible for the entire community of transgender young people to access basic and essential health care, or to be happy and healthy alongside their peers in playing school sports. Transgender youth deserve the same equal opportunities as anyone else growing up in Ohio; and should not be denied fair access to health care and school extracurriculars. Lawmakers are playing a reckless game with transgender lives, perpetuating harm and discrimination and helping no one. Governor DeWine should listen to the families that would be directly impacted by this devastating bill, the overwhelming number of medical experts and evidence in opposition, and the Ohio business leaders who know attacks on LGBTQ people are bad for their industries. Most of all, Governor DeWine should consider the future he wants for all of Ohio’s youth and residents, look into his heart, and send a message of love and acceptance by vetoing HB 68.”

Facts to include in your reporting:

  • Best practice, evidence-based, and lifesaving essential health care for transgender people and youth is supported by virtually every major medical association and leading world health authority. Statements from 30+ organizations here.
  • Federal judges in Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee have all ruled against these states’ respective bans or blocked bans from being enacted, including rulings by three Trump-nominated justices.
    • In addition, governors in Kentucky, Utah, Wisconsin, and Arizona have all vetoed bills similar to the anti-transgender ban pending in Ohio.
  • Judges have reviewed expert evidence and lived experience of plaintiffs to rule that the care is necessary, safe, and essential. They have also tossed testimony from state witnesses for lack of credibility and qualifications. Rulings here. Excerpts from judges’ rulings note the bans as unconstitutional and a violation of due process.
    • In Ohio’s neighbor state, Kentucky, Judge David Hale wrote: “the Court finds that the treatments barred by SB 150 are medically appropriate and necessary for some transgender children under the evidence-based standard of care accepted by all major medical organizations in the United States.” The ACLU of Kentucky, along with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, noted SB 150 singles out transgender kids by blocking access to health care that non-transgender kids can receive. They also say it unjustly limits a parent’s rights to make medical decisions for their children.
  • Public support for nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans continues at high levels among the American public, with polls this past year showing 8 in 10 favoring laws that would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing.

GLAAD best practice guidelines for reporters:

  • Seek quotes and background from transgender people in any story about transgender people or youth.
  • Seek expertise and elevate facts and expertise over opinion.
  • Accurately note and report the widely-held consensus about the safety, efficacy and mainstream medical and scientific acceptance of transgender health care.
  • Avoid elevating singular voices or rare cases and concerns in equal weight to the consensus and preponderance of evidence showing the benefits of health care to transgender people and youth.
  • Challenge negative claims for facts and evidence for claims. Include fact checks of quotes and claims in your reporting.
  • Include the benefits of evidence-based healthcare to the health and wellbeing of trans youth: Research shows access to puberty blockers during a transgender person’s adolescence is associated with a significant decrease in suicidal ideation. Doctors have also used these medications safely for decades for cisgender children who experience precocious puberty. The Journal of Adolescent Health found that gender-affirming hormone therapy resulted in lower rates of depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts among older transgender and nonbinary teens. Using a transgender youth’s authentic name and pronouns improves mental health.
  • Include research on harms to vulnerable youth from efforts to take away their healthcare. 85% of transgender and nonbinary youth — and 66% of all LGBTQ youth — say recent debates about state laws restricting the rights of transgender people have negatively impacted their mental health.


About Equality Ohio: Equality Ohio Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that advocates and educates to achieve fair treatment and equal opportunity for all Ohioans regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.