Lawmakers in Oklahoma considered bills Wednesday that would prohibit gender affirming treatments, like the use of puberty-blocking drugs and hormones, despite the endorsement of such treatments by major medical associations.
“We’re going to do what we can to help children and families, allow the child to reach a certain level of maturity, where they then, on their own or in consultation with their parents, will make these decisions,” said state Sen. Julie Daniels, a Republican who wrote Oklahoma’s bill and said she would personally prefer to ban such care for anyone under age 21.
The Oklahoma bill carries hefty penalties for medical professionals who violate the ban, including potential felony charges that carry up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine, as well as civil liability and a loss of a doctor’s medical license. Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt urged lawmakers to send him such a bill during his State of the State address on Monday, receiving a standing ovation from GOP lawmakers when he did so, as more than 100 trans-rights activists packed the rotunda chanting “trans lives matter.”
“I think Oklahoma is currently positioning itself to be the most dangerous state for trans people in the country,” said Nicole McAfee, director of the LGBTQ rights organization Freedom Oklahoma. “What we just saw … is essentially a de facto ban on best-practice medical care for transgender people of all ages.”
Oklahoma’s Senate Rules Committee also passed a “companion bill” that would prevent the use of any public funds to entities or organizations that provide such care, even to adults.
Transgender people, especially those who are school-aged, have increasingly been targeted by lawmakers in GOP states with laws that prohibit them from playing on sports teams or using bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.