Senator introduces ‘worst anti-trans bill’ banning gender-affirming surgery for under 26s

David Bullard, posing for his official US office photo, smiles in front of a set of flags.

A new Oklahoma bill, which, if passed would ban gender-affirming care for anyone under 26 years old, was introduced this week.

Oklahoma bill SB129 was proposed on Wednesday (4 January) by Republican senator David Bullard and aims to prevent healthcare professionals from providing “gender transition procedures” to those within the age bracket.

Additionally, physicians who refer patients under 26 to professionals administering gender-affirming care would be convicted of a felony.

This would effectively bar a considerable portion of the Oklahoma transgender community from accessing gender-affirming treatments.

Various trans activists condemned the bill’s introduction as “dangerous” for a community which has routinely shown improvement in mental health when able to access gender-affirming care.

Journalist and activist Alejandra Caraballo said that the bill is just the latest for anti-trans lawmakers pushing the envelope on age-based restrictions.

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“It won’t stop until they ban transition entirely,” she said. “They will just keep increasing the age.

“We have been warning everyone that the inevitable goal of the anti-trans movement was to ban all gender-affirming care and effectively criminalise trans people from existing.”

Meanwhile, activist Erin Reed called it the “worst anti-trans bill” she had ever seen filed in a state.

“This has been a long time in the making,” she added.

The proposed legislation is one of many attempts at anti-LGBTQ+ bills by Oklahoma lawmakers over the past few years.

Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt has signed many anti-trans bills in 2022, including one in March, Senate Bill 2 (SB 2), banning trans girls from competing in women’s sports teams.

Just hours after the bill was signed, governor Doug Ducey signed a similar anti-trans sports ban into law, as well as legislation attacking gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth.

Activists in the state said the bills promote “baseless fears” about trans people and do “nothing to address those problems”.

Oklahoma ACLU executive director Tamya Cox-Touré said: “SB 2 is just one of many bills we have seen attacking our Two-spirit, transgender, and non-binary communities this session while overlooking the real issues with gender equality.”

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