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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signs executive order banning gender-affirming surgeries for minors

Ohio Columbus LGBTQ Pride Parade Transgender Kids Support Signs Governor Mike DeWine
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Transgender adults in Ohio will now also be required to undergo psychiatric care before receiving gender-affirming treatment.

Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has signed an executive order banning gender-affirming surgery for minors, and he has announced that state agencies are formulating rules requiring transgender adults and youth alike to undergo intense psychiatric review before they can receive treatment.

DeWine said at a press conference Friday that he "still feel[s] just as firmly" about his decision to veto HB 68, which would have banned all gender-affirming care for minors, while also prohibiting transgender athletes from participating in public school sports. Still, he insisted that "there are things we need to do to further protect children and adults."

"I signed an executive order just a few moments ago enacting emergency rules that ban gender transition surgeries for minors ... at any facility in Ohio. This ban is effective immediately," he said.

DeWine also said that the Ohio Department of Health will provide protections for children and adults receiving care at hospitals, in an effort to deter "fly-by" clinics. The Republican continued to say he is "concerned" even for transgender adults, claiming "there might be these fly-by operations that set themselves up and start dispensing hormones without the lead in psychiatric care."

Under rules drafted by the Health Department and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, both transgender adults and youth will be required to work with a "multidisciplinary team" of multiple health care professionals and undergo "comprehensive and lengthy mental health counseling prior to being considered for any other treatment." The draft rules were filed Friday and will become final after a period of public comment.

The Department of Health will also require health care providers to report "de-identified data" on cases of "gender dysphoria and subsequent treatment."

"The reporting of aggregate data occurs frequently in Ohio, from flu cases to causes of food poisoning," DeWine explained, adding, "We need to have data, we need to have information. We have it on virtually everything else in the medical field."

DeWine did note that gender-affirming surgery is already rarely — virtually never — performed on minors and that he still believes "the parents, not the government, should be making these very crucial medical decisions for the children."

"When I talked to families, not once did they mention 'Gee, we don't have surgery for our minor child' — it's never mentioned. This is just to make sure this does not happen for minors in the state of Ohio," he claimed.

DeWine's veto of HB 68 is likely to be overridden by the state legislature, as it passed both the state House and Senate with a supermajority.

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Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.