Judge temporarily blocks Ohio ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth

Credit: Avery Kreemer

Credit: Avery Kreemer

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Columbus judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked a controversial bill banning gender-affirming care for transgender youth and prohibiting trans students from participating in athletics on teams that align with their identity.

Republican Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Michael Holbrook has issued a temporary restraining order on House Bill 68, which would have prevented LGBTQ+ minors from accessing care such as hormone blockers, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and some mental health services. It would have also prohibited trans athletes from taking part in middle and high school sports.

Along with requiring schools, state institutions of higher education and private colleges to designate separate single-sex teams and sports for each sex, H.B. 68 provides the opportunity for legal action.

The ACLU of Ohio, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of a transgender child and her family, is celebrating their win.

“We are thrilled and relieved that Ohio’s ban on gender-affirming health care has been halted, and that transgender youth can continue, for the near term at least, to access medically necessary healthcare. Our legal battle will continue until, we hope, this cruel restriction is permanently blocked. Ohio families have a constitutional right to make personal healthcare decisions without government intrusion,” Freda Levenson, their Legal Director, said.

The TRO is for two weeks, but it is renewable. The law was expected to go into effect next week.

“The sun is shining, the court ruled in our favor and trans youth live to be able to access gender-affirming care for another day,” Mallory Golski with Kaleidoscope Youth Center (KYC) said.

KYC aims to provide a community for LGBTQ+ teens by holding educational programming and discussion groups. Many of the individuals who go there are transgender, and have been scared and heartbroken by the thought of not getting their healthcare.

“The fact that that barrier is not in place, at least for the time being, is incredible because it’s going to allow folks to start accessing that care sooner, to start living as their true authentic selves that much sooner,” she added.

She says it is significant that Holbrook is a Republican, yet put forward the block.

“I really think that the fact that this is coming from a Republican judge is just so indicative of how widespread the support is for trans youth — and how so many of the pieces of legislation coming out of the statehouse are a result of that extremist gerrymandered legislature,” the advocate said. “It is not representative of the opinions of the vast majority of Ohioans.”

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