Press Release: LGBTQ+ Organizations Rally Care for Ohio’s Youth This Pride Season:

[Columbus, Ohio] – As Ohioans gear up to celebrate Pride Month, The Ohio Legislature has decided to hold another hearing on House Bill 68, a contentious piece of legislation, replicating conservative trends to create wedge issues and challenge freedoms nationwide. HB 68 seeks to ban affirming care for gender expansive minors and their families and punishes anyone who supports the young people who benefit from such services. 

The bill’s next hearing will be Wednesday, June 14. Resolute transgender & nonbinary advocates, well-versed in navigating challenging and adversarial landscapes, will fearlessly confront those in power with unwavering truth during the hearing. We emphatically reject any notion of subjecting transgender youth, their providers and their families to serve as public targets for the amusement of callous and unsympathetic politicians.

“By shedding light on the truth, these fearless advocates reshape the narrative surrounding transgender rights and create a more compassionate and equitable Ohio reflective of our values,” said Alana Jochum, Executive Director for Equality Ohio. “To trans youth, we affirm our unwavering love for you. We say: you deserve to be embraced, respected, and celebrated for the unique individuals you are, whether at Pride, within the walls of your schools, or amidst the halls of the Statehouse.”

“Trans and nonbinary youth in Ohio, along with their parents and families, continue to make difficult personal choices every day, including those that involve their health care,” said James Knapp, Chair of TransOhio, Ohio’s only statewide transgender equality organization. “These decisions should be left with families and their medical support team, not politicians.”

To our trans and nonbinary young people, you are radiant and extraordinary; you have people who love and support you,” said Erin Upchurch, MSSA, LISW-S, Executive Director of Kaleidoscope Youth Center. “We stand with and for you, and will continue to be a safer place where all LGBTQIA+ young people will be affirmed and loved in community. We must continue to work together to build an Ohio where everyone knows they belong.”

“HB 68 is an unconstitutional attempt to remove existing gender affirming care options from transgender, non-binary, and gender expansive youth across Ohio, and Equitas Health—alongside our colleagues, partners, and community—will continue to fight this discriminatory legislation,” said Dr. Rhea Debussy (she/her), who is the Director of External Affairs at Equitas Health. Debussy further noted that, “This bill is particularly dangerous, as it would also protect providers who perform medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex newborns and children.”

Research shows that 97% of people who transition globally do not regret it. In the U.S. the top cause for ‘detransitioning’ is, unfortunately, pressure. As Ohio grapples with the implications on freedom that HB 68 and bills like it taking up space at the Statehouse have, it is crucial to promote understanding, respect, and equality for all Ohioans. 

During this PRIDE month, we HIGHLY ENCOURAGE supporters of LGBTQ+  move past vague statements of support and stand strong against harmful proposals. We urge lawmakers and the public to consider the right to privacy for families, and the well-being of our precious youth in order to create an Ohio where everyone can thrive. Ways to support transgender youth:

  1. Educate yourself and others about transgender issues and the importance of gender affirming care. 
  2. Contact your local representatives and urge them to oppose HB 68 and support legislation that protects transgender youth.
  3. Donate to LGBTQ+ organizations that provide resources and support for transgender individuals.
  4. Attend local Pride Month events and show your solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.
  5. Be an ally and speak out against discrimination and harmful legislation.


About Equality Ohio Equality Ohio is a statewide organization advancing the rights and protecting the wellbeing of LGBTQ+ Ohioans. Equality Ohio identifies and transforms systems and institutions so LGBTQ+ Ohioans can fully access legal and lived equality in pursuit of an Ohio where people are welcome, affirmed and flourishing. Learn more: www.equalityohio.org.

About TransOhio TransOhio serves the Ohio transgender and ally communities by providing services, education, support, and advocacy, which promotes and improves the health, safety and life experience of the Ohio transgender individual and community. TransOhio is Ohio’s first and largest statewide transgender equality organization.

About Kaleidoscope Youth Center Kaleidoscope Youth Center [KYC] is the largest and longest standing organization in Ohio to serve and support LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults; ages 12-24. Since 1994, KYC has been a leader and expert in cultivating environments of affirmation and belonging through several programs which include the drop in center; community education and training; advocacy and civic engagement; mental health and wellness; and low barrier housing opportunities. www.kycohio.org

About Equitas Health Equitas Health’s mission is to be the gateway to good health for those at risk of or affected by HIV; for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) community; and for those seeking a welcoming healthcare home. https://equitashealth.com/about-us/

*Note that a previous version, published on 6/1/23 at 11 am ET has been updated on 6/1/23 at 1:45 pm ET to include a quote from and information about Equitas Health.