A Republican legislator in Oklahoma has introduced legislation that would prohibit gender transition operations from being administered to anyone under the age of 21.
The measure would prohibit health professionals from offering or referring controversial treatments such as puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and sex-change operations to those under the age of 21. The act would also prohibit any treatments or services on children from being linked to public financing, and any agency or hospital discovered to be in violation will lose such funds.
“Anyone in health care who provides or recommends life-altering operations which may later be regretted is irresponsible,” said Republican Oklahoma State Rep. Jim Olsen, who proposed HB 1011 on Thursday.
“We know that some people go through the gender transition procedure and afterwards identify as their birth gender,” he added. “Performing irreversible surgeries on young individuals may result in irreparable mental and bodily harm later in life.”
After the public expressed concern about the hospital’s treatments, Republican Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed legislation in Oct. prohibiting gender transition surgeries for minors at an Oklahoma pediatric hospital.
“By enacting this bill today, we are taking the initial step toward protecting children against irreversible gender transition operations and therapies,” the governor stated at the time in a news release. “It is completely unacceptable to use government funds to condone, promote, or conduct these types of controversial treatments on healthy youngsters.”
Stitt also stated that the measure did not go far enough, which appears to be an invitation for Olsen’s measure.
“When the Legislature reconvenes in February 2023, I am calling on them to prohibit all irreversible gender change procedures and hormone therapy on children,” Stitt stated. “We cannot turn a blind eye to what is happening across our country, and as gov., I will not permit life-altering transition procedures on underage children in Oklahoma.”
Similar laws to protect children from such operations has been introduced in other Red states, including Arkansas, Tennessee, Arizona, and Alabama.
Tennessee Republicans presented Senate Bill 1, the Safeguarding Children from Gender Mutilation Bill, last month, which would prevent doctors from dispensing puberty blockers, and cross-sex hormones, and from conducting gender-related procedures on kids for medical transition purposes.
Tennessee GOP Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson also presented Senate Bill 3, which seeks to protect minors from sexualized drag queen performances. The law will be addressed in the forthcoming legislative session, which starts on January 10, and is expected to succeed because Republicans control both legislative chambers.