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Horrific New Bill Would Make Providing Gender-Affirming Care a Felony in Oklahoma

Transgender flags on the step to D.C.

Oklahoma Republican David Bullard has introduced a new anti-trans bill, SB 129, to the Oklahoma State Senate. If passed, the bill would ban gender-affirming care for trans people under the age of 26.

The proposed bill would criminalize helping trans people physically transition, stating that “A physician or other healthcare professional found to have knowingly referred for or provided gender transition procedures to an individual under twenty-six (26) years of age shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a felony.”

There’s a 40 year statute of limitations on the law, meaning that if a doctor provides gender-affirming care today, they could be charged with a felony in 2063.

Alejandra Caraballo, a trans lawyer and writer, has broken down the implications of the bill in a Twitter thread. In addition to the obvious effects—namely, trans people being denied safe, gender-affirming, and often life-saving healthcare—Caraballo points out that, under the conditions of the bill, if a trans person under 25 travels to Oklahoma from out of state and needs to be hospitalized, they’ll be forcibly detransitioned during their hospital stay. She also compares the bill to abortion bans, which have made doctors reluctant to provide any kind of medical care that could possibly be construed as abortion care. In the case of trans care, any hormone-related treatments could be denied, regardless of whether a patient is trans.

Mainly, though, Caraballo states that this bill is part of a larger plan by Republicans to outlaw transitioning altogether. “It won’t stop until they ban transition entirely,” Caraballo writes on Twitter. “They’ll just keep increasing the age. It was never about children.”

Caraballo also points out that she and other trans rights advocates were raising alarms about anti-trans legislation long before SB 129. In March, Caraballo pointed to thought pieces laying the groundwork for this kind of legislation by questioning the “competency” of adults under 25 to make their own medical decisions.

“The mask is coming off the anti-trans movement,” Caraballo writes. “This is about the elimination of trans people.”

(featured image: Ted Eytan/Flickr (CC BY-SA)

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Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and she consumes massive amounts of Marvel media, folk horror, science fiction, fantasy, and nature writing. She lives in Los Angeles, where she reads tarot and makes yarn on her spinning wheel. You can check out more of her writing at https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/, or find her on Twitter at @juliaglassman.