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A bill targeting trans youth that passed the Oklahoma Legislature on Thursday, May 19 now sits on Governor Stitt’s desk. If signed, the bill would require students to use the bathroom based on their assigned sex.
The bill removes the ability for local school districts to create their own policies around the issue.
Nicole McAfee, who serves as the executive director of Freedom Oklahoma, condemned the bill. According to KOCO 5 News in Oklahoma City, McAfee called the bill “a blatant attack on 2SLGBTQ+ students.”
McAfee said the bill especially targeted “our trans, Two-Spirit, and gender-nonconforming youth who deserve safety, security, and the opportunity to thrive.”
Ryan Walters, appointed by Kevin Stitt as state Secretary of Education, lauded the discriminatory bill.
In a tweet on Thursday, Walters said “I could not be more pleased that our legislators are committed to making sure our girls are kept safe by passing SB 615. It’s a common sense bill and a huge victory against the radical left.”
As some push anti-trans legislation for political gain, the personal harm is real
While Walters and others leverage the lives of trans youth as a political issue, others express concern about the human harm bills like this will cause.
Jacob Rosecrants, a State Representative from Norman and father of a trans child, spoke against the bill. Rosecrants wrote on Twitter that “the very idea” of the bill itself “is an attack on transgender kids”.
“I told the story of my trans child (w/ his permission) and how bills like this hurt him,” he wrote. “I respect his journey and I’m here to love and support him, exactly as he is.”
Despite claims from the bill’s proponents that this will “protect” students, data tells a starkly different story.
According to Oklahoma Policy Institute, two-in-five transgender adults in the state have attempted suicide in their lifetime.
Data from the Trevor Project, the world’s largest LGBTQ+ mental health advocacy organization, also backs up that concern. The organization concludes that one-in-five transgender youth have attempted suicide in the past year.
According to the group, “85% of transgender and non-binary youth “say efforts to pass bills like Oklahoma’s anti-trans bathroom bill “have negatively impacted their mental health.”
Editor’s note: The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24. To contact the Trevor Project, call (866) 488-7386.
Correction: a previous version of this article stated that two-in-five transgender Oklahoma adults have attempted suicide in the past year. The article has been updated to indicate that two-in-five transgender adults have attempted suicide within their lifetime.