"SB 613 is Among the Most Egregious Efforts by Extremist Lawmakers in the Country"
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — condemned the Oklahoma Senate for passing Senate Bill 613, which bans gender affirming care for people under 18. In addition to costing medical providers their license, violating this bill by providing age appropriate, best practice care could also result in criminal prosecution and imprisonment of up to 10 years, as well as imposition of up to a $100,000 fine. Charges can be brought until a patient is forty-five years old. The bill would also create a private cause of action.
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.
Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley released the following statement:
“SB 613 is among the most egregious efforts by extremist lawmakers in the country, which continues to demonstrate Oklahoma’s crusade against transgender youth and the people who support them. Every major medical association in the country supports gender affirming care. Gender affirming care is best practice care that is always delivered in an age appropriate manner in consultation with and the consent of parents, pediatricians, and medical experts. The Oklahoma legislature has shown time and time again in recent years that it is not concerned with the well-being of transgender youth - it is committed to isolating, harming, and frightening them. This is one more such unconscionable attack by powerful adults on kids just trying to grow up healthy and well.
“What’s alarming is that we know this is just the beginning of their extremist agenda. Some senators in Oklahoma are already working on legislation to restrict what medical decisions adults can make for themselves. This is not and never has been about protecting young folks - it is now, as it has always been, about trying to make it harder for transgender people to be accepted and thrive. That’s why we urge the Oklahoma House to recognize the danger of this bill and reject it in its entirety.”
Last year alone, politicians in statehouses across the country introduced 315 discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ bills in 2022 and 29 passed into law. The majority of the discriminatory bills – 149 bills – targeted the transgender and non-binary community and youth. Less than two months into 2023, HRC is already tracking 340 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. 150 of those would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date. Of the approximately 90 bills filed this year that would prevent transgender youth from being able to access best practice, medically necessary care, SB 613 is among the most egregious.
Earlier this year, governors in South Dakota and Utah signed bills into law banning the provision of gender affirming care to transgender patients under the age of 18. Arkansas passed a gender-affirming care ban in 2021, and Alabama passed another, with felony punishments, in 2022. Texas and Florida have each made efforts to impose such a ban through administrative action.
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
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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