YWCA Columbus stands with our partners in support of public health and LGBTQ+ protections for transgender and non-binary youth. As highlighted by Equality Ohio, if passed into law, “HB454 would interfere with healthcare and youth safety by prohibiting: referrals for medicalized treatments for Gender Dysphoria (defined as, ‘clinically significant distress or impairment caused by a discrepancy between a person’s sex assigned at birth and their gender identity’), hormone blockers and cross-sex hormones prior to the age of 18, any requirement for private insurers to cover medicalized treatments for gender dysphoria in adolescents, gender-affirming surgical interventions for minors, and more. The bill further threatens the removal of licenses for physicians who provide this care and threatens them with civil lawsuits, and the withdrawal of public funds from any hospital at which gender affirming care occurs.”
Efforts to restrict and criminalize this life-saving care threaten the mental and emotional wellbeing of trans and non-binary youth who are much more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation than their cisgender peers. The Trevor Project found more than 1 out of every 2 trans and non-binary youth have considered suicide in the last year, with more than 1 in 4 having attempted to end their life. However, research has proven that gender-affirming intervention has the opposite, and often life-saving effect, prompting leading medical organizations like the American Medical Association (AMA) to support gender affirming care for trans youth. In fact, the AMA joined the American Counseling Association, American Public Health Association, Child Welfare League of America, and more to declare that the anti-trans healthcare bills surfacing around the nation are “appalling proposals [that] would compromise the safety and well-being of the young people we all have the duty and obligation to support and protect.”
Moreover, gender-affirming healthcare is a spectrum of care, ranging from socially supporting gender-questioning through clothes, name-changes, or outward gender expression, to medical transition through the use of hormones and surgery. This is an issue of bodily autonomy that is better left to the medical professionals trained and equipped to safely guide youth through the changes of their bodies and minds.
Acting against HB454 is quite literally a matter of life and death for the many trans and non-binary youth across Ohio. At YWCA Columbus, we believe that trans youth deserve to become trans adults, elders, and eventually trans ancestors – but only after long, happy lives of living in their truths. Join us in telling the sponsors of this bill that Ohio is no place for transphobia: call Members of the Families, Aging, and Human Services Committee, as these lawmakers are key votes on whether or not this bill moves forward. You can find the phone numbers and office emails of Committee Members by clicking here.
Until gender justice, just is.