by HRC Staff •
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — condemned Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt for signing into law Senate Bill 613, which bans gender-affirming care for people under 18. Medical providers who provide age appropriate, best practice gender-affirming care in violation of this bill would face criminal prosecution and imprisonment of up to 10 years, imposition of up to a $100,000 fine, and loss of their medical license. Charges could be brought until a patient is forty-five years old. The bill would also create a private cause of action.
Governor Stitt previously claimed he would veto any legislation until the Oklahoma Senate passes bills on tax cuts and education funding. He made an exception for SB 613.
At the same time Oklahoma is passing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, this past March the Oklahoma House voted 81-19 to censure Rep Mauree Turner and remove them from committee assignments. The censure is still ongoing. Rep Turner is the first and only publicly nonbinary state lawmaker in Oklahoma history. The hypocrisy is clear, as there are currently two sitting members of the Oklahoma House in positions of leadership with active felony charges against them, neither of which faced censorship or had committee assignments revoked.
Rep. Turner’s censure is part of a series of efforts by increasingly aggressive, extremist politicians who want to silence dissenting voices. Just last week, the Montana House of Representatives voted to prohibit Rep. Zooey Zephyr, a transgender lawmaker who has spoken out repeatedly over legislative efforts to erase and marginalize transgender Montanans under state law, from speaking on legislation and to ban her from the House of Representatives for the remainder of the current legislative session. This also came after Tennessee Republicans voted to expel two Black lawmakers for protesting in favor of gun violence prevention.
Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow released the following statement:
“Governor Stitt is so dedicated to his anti-LGBTQ+ agenda that he went back on his own word in order to prevent transgender youth from accessing medically necessary healthcare. SB 613 not only attacks transgenderyouth, it attacks anyone that supports them. It’s discriminatory, stigmatizing, and dangerous. The Governor and his extremist lawmakers know that every credible medical organization supports gender-affirming care, because it is best practice care that is delivered in an age appropriate manner in consultation with parents, doctors, and medical experts. Yet they don’t care, because it’s not politically expedient for them. HRC will continue to fight for transgender kids in Oklahoma, even when their government won’t.”
Gender-affirming care is age-appropriate care that is medically necessary for the well-being of many transgender and non-binary people who experience symptoms of gender dysphoria, or distress that results from having one’s gender identity not match their sex assigned at birth. Gender-affirming care is the integration of medical, mental health, and social services. For transgender children, transition is an entirely social process which may include a new name or pronouns, wearing different clothes or styling one’s hair differently. At puberty, doctors may一in consultation with and having the informed consent of the transgender youth and their parents一prescribe reversible medication known as puberty-blockers, which allow a young person to safely reach an age in which they’re truly able to consent to further treatment.
This law is one of many efforts political extremists and national anti-LGBTQ+ organizations have launched in Oklahoma and across the country against transgender youth and their families. Every credible medical organization – representing over 1.3 million doctors in the United States – calls for age-appropriate gender-affirming care for transgender and non-binary people. Unfortunately, bolstered by disinformation spread by social media and designed to take aim at care for transgender youth, these bans directly place the health, safety and wellbeing of transgender youth in Oklahoma at risk.
The Facts About Gender Affirming Care
Every credible medical organization – representing over 1.3 million doctors in the United States – calls for age-appropriate gender-affirming care for transgender and non-binary people.
“Transition-related” or “gender-affirming” care looks different for every transgender and non-binary person.
Parents, their kids, and doctors make decisions together, and no medical interventions with permanent consequences happen until a transgender person is old enough to give truly informed consent.
Transgender children are not undergoing irreversible medical changes.
This is a fundamental misunderstanding about what transition looks like for kids.
Therapists, parents and health care providers work together to determine which changes to make at a given time are in the best interest of the child.
Some people take medication, and some do not; some adults have surgeries, and others do not. How someone transitions is their choice, to be made with their family and their doctor.
None of this care is irreversible.
Being transgender is not new.
Some say it can feel like being transgender is very new – but that’s because the media has been covering it more in recent months and years.
But transgender people have always existed and will continue to exist regardless of the bills we pass.
And very few transgender people change their mind.
ALL gender-affirming care is:
Supported by all major medical organizations
Made in consultation with medical and mental health professionals AND parents
And in many cases, this care is lifesaving:
A recent study from the Trevor Project provides data supporting this — transgender youth with access to gender-affirming hormone therapy have lower rates of depression and are at a lower risk for suicide.
For more information, please visit https://www.hrc.org/resources/get-the-facts-on-gender-affirming-care
State Lege Snapshot
So far in 2023, HRC is opposing more than 540 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. More than 220 of those bills would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date.
This year, HRC is tracking:
More than 125 bills that would prevent transgender youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; this year, 13 have already become law in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia and North Dakota.
More than 30 bathroom ban bills filed,
More than 100 curriculum censorship bills and 40 anti-drag performance bills.
In a coordinated push led by national anti-LGBTQ+ groups, which deployed vintage discriminatory tropes, politicians in statehouses across the country introduced 315 discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ bills in 2022 and 29 passed into law. Despite this, fewer than 10% of these efforts succeeded. The majority of the discriminatory bills – 149 bills – targeted the transgender and non-binary community, with the majority targeting children receiving the brunt of discriminatory legislation. By the end of the 2022 legislative session, a record 17 bills attacking transgender and non-binary children passed into law.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
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