New Bill Aims To Stop Gender-Affirming Care For Oklahomans 21 And Younger

Thursday, December 1st 2022, 11:00 pm

A new bill aims to put more restrictions on transgender individuals.  

Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a law in October that bans gender-affirming care for people under 18 and threatened to withhold $39.4 million ARPA funds from OU Children's if the organization performed the care.

Lindsey Whitworth, a parent of a son who is transgender that falls in that age gap between 18 to 20, said to many in the transgender community, their 18th birthday means more than becoming a legal adult.

"Just not any place where it is safe for them to come out so a lot of them are waiting for that moment where they're 18 years old, and now I can make those decisions," Lindsey said.

Newly introduced bill HB 1011, if passed, will make best practice medical care for transgender people illegal for adults up to 21 years old.

"This is a terribly bad thing to do to somebody, and in Oklahoma we want you to stop completely, " HB 1011 author, Rep. Jim Olsen said. He continued, "basically to protect children from things that will in the long run be very very harmful to them. One could make a very strong case that it should be prohibited to anybody because they're so harmful."

The bill criminalizes procedures any doctor performs or even refers a patient to receive any gender-affirming procedures. Both violations could carry a felony charge.  

The doctor can also be fined up to $100,000 and face up to ten years behind bars.  

"By introducing something like this knows that even if it doesn't pass there's already that fear factor for medical providers," Freedom Oklahoma's Executive Director Nicole McAfee explains.    

"It's baffling to me that you can tell parents, I know better than you and your doctor what to do with your child and telling full grown adults you can't have a plastic surgery procedure, or you can't take hormones," Lindsey added.

Procedures that are under fire are what's commonly known as bottom surgery, which isn't legal to perform to anyone under the age of 16.

"Making these things illegal isn't going to stop people from coming out. It's not. You are not going to stop people from being trans, from being non-binary. You're not going to stop that, you're just going to make their lives less safe," Lindsey said.

Also in the bill, public funds will be withheld from any organization that provides the gender-affirming care to people 21 and under: "Public funds shall not be directly or indirectly used, granted, paid, or distributed to any entity, organization, or individual that provides gender transition procedures to an individual under twenty-one (21) years of age. Any violation shall result in the loss of such funding."

To view the bill, click here.


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