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LAWMAKERS TO CONSIDER DANGEROUS BILL TO RESTRICT HEALTH CARE FOR TRANSGENDER YOUTH IN OKLAHOMA
- Last updated: May 24, 2023
Lawmakers likely to take up vote on HB 1007, which would make Oklahoma the latest in a number of states passing measures to ban transgender youth from accessing best-practice health care
(Wednesday, September 28, 2022) – Tomorrow, September 29, Oklahoma lawmakers are expected to consider HB 1007, a bill that would ban best practice health care for transgender youth from the largest provider in Oklahoma in order to receive ARPA (American Rescute Plan Act) funding. The legislation was filed late this past Monday and, if passed, providers believe they’ll be unable to provide best practice medical care for transgender youth at OU Health and other university medical care systems.
This past year, Oklahoma legislators have already passed a number of dangerous bills targeting transgender youth, including a ban on transgender students from participating in school sports; a ban on access to school restrooms that match who they are; and a ban on allowing nonbinary people to accurately update their birth certificates.
“HB 1007 would strip Oklahoman families from accessing potentially lifesaving health care and would have an immediate, devastating effect. All parents want the same thing for their children – to be healthy and happy. Parents deserve to be able to support their children in consultation with their trusted doctors and medical experts, without intrusion from the government. This bill goes too far and would create substantial harm to real families and children in our state. Our lawmakers must keep in mind: being pro-family means supporting all families and giving all youth the opportunity to thrive, including young people who may be transgender.” – Nicole McAfee, Executive Director, Freedom Oklahoma (they/she)
“This last-minute, disgraceful action by the Oklahoma Legislature comes at the end of a year where we saw an increasing number of bills nationwide that directly target transgender youth and their access to gender-affirming care. HB 1007 goes against the recommendations of doctors, medical associations, and the families of transgender youth when it comes to accessing life-saving care. These important decisions should be left to young people, their families, and their medical providers – not the government. This is just the latest iteration of anti-LGBTQ+ opponent’s coordinated national attacks on our community and we won’t stand for it.” – Vivian Topping, Director of Advocacy & Civic Engagement, Equality Federation (she/her)
“Every young person in Oklahoma deserves love, compassion, support, and the freedom to be themselves. The cruel attacks taking place here and in state legislatures across the country are complete violations of parental rights and doctor-patient relationships. Private medical conversations should be between parents, children, and their medical providers – without intrusion from the government. Oklahoma residents should watch closely if their lawmakers play politics with LGBTQ youth or if they are truly committed to creating the best possible future for all youth in the state.” – Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO, GLAAD (she/her)
Should HB 1007 move forward, it would include Oklahoma on a list of a number of states that have adopted similar measures:
- In April, Alabama legislators passed one of the worst anti-transgender bills in the nation, making it a felony for transgender youth up to age 19 to access health care. The ban includes a penalty of up to 10 years in prison for parents or doctors who attempt to provide such care.
- The Alabama ban follows a similar total ban on best practice medical care for transgender youth in Arkansas, which passed last year and criminalizes doctors who attempt to provide such care. (Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson vetoed the legislation, but the veto was overridden by the legislature.)
- Earlier this year, the Texas Attorney General issued an opinion that the Department of Family and Protective Services investigate the families of transgender young people and consider best-practice medical care for transgender youth as “child abuse.” The Texas governor issued a subsequent directive ordering the agency to oblige.
- Last month, Florida became the 11th state to ban health care coverage for transgender people under Medicaid.
- Narrower bans on health care for transgender youth have also been passed in Arizona and Tennessee.
Best practice medical care for transgender youth is endorsed by every leading medical association, including the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychiatric Association, Endocrine Society, and American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Research shows that the anti-LGBTQ onslaught at the state level takes a heartbreaking toll on the mental health of transgender youth:
- 85% of transgender and nonbinary youth — and two-thirds of all LGBTQ youth (66%) — say recent debates about state laws restricting the rights of transgender people have negatively impacted their mental health.
- More than half (52%) of transgender and nonbinary youth seriously considered suicide in the past year, and 1 in 5 attempted suicide.
About Freedom Oklahoma
Freedom Oklahoma is the only statewide 2SLGBTQ+ advocacy (about 2S) organization on the ground in Oklahoma, working in community to fight an increasing volume of attacks in an especially difficult political environment, while organizing power to build the future where all 2SLGBTQ+ Oklahomans have the safety to thrive.
About Equality Federation
Equality Federation is an advocacy accelerator rooted in social justice, building power in our network of state-based lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) advocacy organizations. For more information, please visit https://www.equalityfederation.org/.
About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.
Nex Benedict (they/them), a 16-year-old student at a public high school in Owasso, Oklahoma, died…