Protests at the Capitol highlight transgender state bills

The first reading of SB129 is scheduled for Feb 6. This bill would make it a felony to access or provide transition treatment. It would also ban referrals to another provider for gender-affirmation care, with the possible penalty of a revoked medical license. 

Gender-affirming “treatments can improve psychological well-being and reduce suicidal behavior,” said editors at AP in an official statement.

A rally to “Defend Trans Lives” begins at 7 a.m. at the Capitol, with a protest to follow at 11 a.m. The group plans to “split into two groups and attend the floor meetings,” according to a post on Instagram.  

Attendees can bring food, drinks, tables, chairs, and zines, but “most of all bring yourselves,” the flier read. More information can be found at @sunrisedistro1312 on Instagram.

Early legislative sessions for 2023 address more than 24 anti-transition bills across the country.

While some previous bills across states were aimed at preventing access to hormone therapy or puberty blockers for minors, now these bills are including adults. 

UCO students give their perspectives

“I believe that one reason it could be would have to be insurance, since once you turn 26 you are usually taken off of your parents insurance if they have any,” said Ryder Trayah, a student at UCO. This includes Blue Cross Blue Shield, “which is funded by the government,” he said.

“Also the bill would go against Native American religious freedoms and sovereignty, due to the fact that gender fluidity is a religious belief of several tribal communities,” Trayah said.

Trayah also addressed those who would be affected by the bill if it were to pass.

“There are always going to be people around to support you, as well as resources outside of Oklahoma. Planned Parenthood Great Plains is a wonderful resource because they operate not only in Oklahoma, but Kansas and Arkansas as well. So in the event that the bill gets passed, individuals would still be able to get their needed healthcare out of state,” he said.

Linus Culp, another student at UCO, encouraged starting discussions “about how the bill would affect a person’s body autonomy on the legislative level beyond just the trans healthcare bill.”

“I would discuss a couple different things related to latent functions of the bill such as how the bill would essentially force trans people to find alternative access to care across state lines or face forced detransition. A lot of people do not have the resources to receive care outside the state. The trans community already faces increased risk of mental distress due to discrimination. The bill if passed would contribute to a increase in suicide rates for member of the trans community,” he said.

“Since the bill is in its early stages, there will be redrafts,” Culp said, so the exact wording of the bill is likely to change. 

Gracen Boulware, another student at UCO, emphasized “the fact that this bill includes adults who have been receiving this care for years will force them to either move, pay out of pocket for care out of state, or sadly detransition.”

“The last option is quite frankly a death sentence for so many amazing trans folks in our state, some of which include people who I hold so closely to my heart. Overall this bill is just another example of someone who is too blinded by their own beliefs to actually create change in the state of Oklahoma,” Boulware said, “at least change that will improve the lives of Oklahomans, not harm them.”

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