A Republican legislator in Oklahoma has moved to ban gender transition procedures from being provided to anyone under the age of 21.
The bill seeks to ban medical professionals from providing or referring controversial procedures like puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and sex-change surgeries for those under 21. The legislation would also block such procedures or services on the young from being tied to public funding, and any organization or hospital found in violation would lose such funding.
“It’s irresponsible for anybody in health care to provide or recommend life-altering surgeries that may later be regretted,” said Republican Oklahoma State Rep. Jim Olsen, who introduced HB 1011 on Thursday.
“We know there are some people who undergo the gender transition process and later identify as their biological sex,” he continued. “Performing irreversible procedures on young people can do irreparable harm to them mentally and physically later in life.”
Republican Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill in October banning gender transition procedures for children at an Oklahoma pediatric hospital after the public voiced outrage about the hospital’s practices.
“By signing this bill today we are taking the first step to protect children from permanent gender transition surgeries and therapies,” the governor said in a news release at the time. “It is wildly inappropriate for taxpayer dollars to be used for condoning, promoting, or performing these types of controversial procedures on healthy children.”
Stitt also said the legislation didn’t go far enough, seemingly an invitation for Olsen’s bill.
“I am calling for the Legislature to ban all irreversible gender transition surgeries and hormone therapies on minors when they convene next session in February 2023,” Stitt said. “We cannot turn a blind eye to what’s happening all across our nation, and as governor I will not allow life-altering transition surgeries on minor children in the state of Oklahoma.”
Similar legislation intended to protect young people from such procedures has popped up in other Republican states, like Arkansas, Tennessee, Arizona, and Alabama.
Tennessee Republicans last month introduced Senate Bill 1, the Protecting Children from Gender Mutilation Act, which would prohibit doctors from prescribing puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and performing gender-related surgeries on minors for the purpose of medical transition.
Tennessee’s Republican Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson also introduced a bill aimed at protecting children from sexualized drag queen events, Senate Bill 3. The bill is set to be debated during the next legislative session, which begins on January 10, and is likely to pass since Republicans hold super-majorities in both legislative chambers.
Mairead Elordi contributed to this report