Oklahoma Bill Would Ban Gender-Affirming Care for People Under 26, Could Force Some to Detransition
As politicians in red states across the country pass one anti-trans bill after the next, they frequently claim that they’re doing so for the children. In Arkansas, Tennessee, Arizona, Alabama, and Florida, for example, where various bans on gender-affirming care for minors have been passed, lawmakers have insisted that people under the age of 18 are simply too young to make decisions about their own bodies, arguing that laws and rules preventing them from doing so are in their own best interest. Such arguments allow elected officials to suggest that they are not anti-trans, that they believe trans adults should be free to live however they like, and that, again, this is about looking out for kids who don’t yet have the maturity to make major life decisions. Unfortunately, that argument is extremely difficult to believe for a multitude of reasons, including the fact that a number of states are trying to restrict gender-affirming care for adults; for instance, Oklahoma, which took a fresh stab at it last night.
Late Wednesday, Oklahoma state senator David Bullard filed a bill whose passage would prevent anyone under the age of 26—a full eight years beyond the widely accepted threshold for adulthood—from accessing gender-affirming medical care. OK SB129, a.k.a. the Millstone Act of 2023, would make it a felony for health care providers to administer—or even just recommend—such care. It also dangles the threat of medical license revocation over “unprofessional conduct.” In addition to surgery, the list of prohibited treatments includes puberty blockers and hormones. The bill also blocks public funds from being used “directly or indirectly” for gender-affirming care and bars Medicaid from covering gender transition procedures. As activist Erin Reed notes, the way the bill is written suggests that people under the age of 26 who are currently receiving gender-affirming care would no longer be able to do so, and thus would potentially be forced to “medically detransition.”
A separate Oklahoma bill filed in December would ban health care professionals from providing “gender transition procedures” to anyone under 21, with a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. It’s unsurprising that Bullard was also the author of an Oklahoma law prohibiting transgender children from using school bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity (that law is currently being challenged by the ACLU).
As The Hill reported last month, “no fewer than 20 bills targeting transgender medical care have been prefiled in at least nine states” to be taken up this year. In November, Florida’s Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathic Medicine voted to prohibit trans minors from receiving gender-affirming medical care, while the Florida Department of Health—in official state guidance—said last April that children who identify as trans should not be allowed to wear clothes or use pronouns or names that align with their gender identity. In case you were wondering about the depths of the evil here.