Oklahoma bans gender-affirming care for kids
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) has officially signed a bill banning gender-affirming health care for children under 18 into law. Senate Bill 613 prohibits "gender transition procedures for children" under threat of "administrative, criminal, and civil enforcement," meaning medical workers who provide said care could potentially face a felony charge.
Oklahoma is one of at least 15 other states, including Tennesee and Montana, to ban gender-affirming health care for minors. After the signing, Stitt said in a news release that he was "thrilled" about this step to "protect our kids." "We cannot turn a blind eye to what's happening across our nation," he added. "I am proud to stand up for what's right and ban life-altering transition surgeries on children in the state of Oklahoma."
Gender-affirming health care has been proven to result in more favorable outcomes for transgender youth. According to the American Psychiatric Association, "psychological attempts to force a transgender person to be cisgender ... are considered unethical and have been linked to adverse mental health outcomes." Such care "may include pubertal suppression for adolescents with gender dysphoria and gender-affirming hormones like estrogen and testosterone for older adolescents and adults."
A number of civil rights groups have condemned Oklahoma's decision, including Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the ACLU of Oklahoma, all of which released a joint statement on the matter: "Transgender youth in Oklahoma deserve the support and care necessary to give them the same chance to thrive as their peers."
"Gender-affirming care is a critical part of helping transgender adolescents succeed, establish healthy relationships with their friends and family, live authentically as themselves, and dream about their futures," the groups added.