Transgender Advocates Condemn Ohio Governor’s Proposed Restrictions on Gender-Affirming Care

Columbus, Ohio – Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recently introduced proposed regulations that have been met with criticism from transgender advocates. The regulations are seen as potential barriers to accessing gender-affirming care, specifically from independent clinics and general practitioners. The implementation of these proposed rules has raised concerns about the health risks and challenges that thousands of adults in the transgender community may face in obtaining necessary treatment.

Ashton Colby, a transgender man from Columbus, expressed his fears that the clinic where he receives testosterone may no longer offer this essential medication due to the new regulations. The prospect of finding another provider and potential delays in accessing treatment has left Colby feeling stressed and anxious about his transgender experience.

These proposed rules come amidst a series of legislative and executive actions aimed at restricting gender-affirming care in Ohio. The governor signed an executive order prohibiting gender-affirming surgery for minors, reflecting a broader trend in several other states controlled by GOP governments.

The proposed regulations would require specific medical specialists to be involved in creating and overseeing gender-affirming care plans for patients of all ages. Additionally, patients under 21 would be mandated to undergo at least six months of mental health counseling before starting gender-affirming medication or surgery. These rules are viewed as overly burdensome and unnecessary by advocates, who argue that they go beyond established standards of care for transgender individuals.

Moreover, the potential impact of these regulations extends beyond mere inconvenience, as access to gender-affirming care may become significantly limited for lower-income, minority, and rural transgender individuals. The concerns raised by advocates underscore the far-reaching implications of these proposed rules on an already marginalized community.

The potential consequences of these regulations have sparked a wave of opposition, with advocates and healthcare providers speaking out against the restrictions. Mimi Rivard, a nurse practitioner and clinical director, emphasized the detrimental impact these rules could have on patients’ overall well-being, including the increased risk of health complications.

In response to the proposed regulations, LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations and healthcare providers are mobilizing efforts to challenge these rules and ensure that essential gender-affirming care remains accessible to all who need it. The ongoing debate surrounding these regulations highlights the broader struggle for transgender rights and healthcare access in Ohio and beyond.