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OKLAHOMA CITY — In response to the Oklahoma House Republicans’ advancement of House Bill 2177, which would effectively end gender-affirming care for youth and adults across the state, Freedom Oklahoma, ACLU of Oklahoma, and Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes called on the legislature to end its attacks on gender-affirming care.

HB 2177 bans access to best practice medical care for trans youth up to 18, targets private insurance coverage of gender-affirming care for all ages, and creates funding restrictions for any healthcare provider or entity who provides gender-affirming care to any trans person in Oklahoma.

The bill passed the Oklahoma House 80-18 along party lines. Lawmakers will next hear the bill in the state Senate.

“HB 2177 is government overreach that forces medical detransition for transgender Oklahoma youth and threatens trans Oklahomans of all ages through dangerous intrusion into private insurance and healthcare funding,” said Nicole McAfee, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma. 

“Gender-affirming care includes a range of approaches, which are thoughtfully considered by trans patients, guardians, and doctors. The way care was portrayed by members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives advancing this policy are factually incorrect and intentionally inflammatory. Trans people have always been in Oklahoma and we will always be. We belong here. But it can be hard to remember that when the Oklahoma Legislature is intent on making us fight for our safety, our health, and our lives.”

Oklahoma Republicans continue anti-transgender legislation

Freedom Oklahoma is the state’s only dedicated 2SLGBTQ+ advocacy organization, and works each day to build a future where all 2SLGBTQ+ people have the safety to thrive. 

State Reps. Kevin West, R-Moore, and Jim Olsen, R-Roland, co-authored the measure. 

“This legislation is about protecting our children from those who would seek to profit from their gender confusion,” West said in a news release, according to KOCO. “As a state, we must not be partner to irreversible health practices that permanently change the bodies of our children before they are of an age where they can fully understand the consequences of their decisions.”

Meanwhile, major medical organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, approves of gender-affirming care, calling it “medically necessary and appropriate.”

The Journal of the American Medical Association gender-affirming care for trans and nonbinary youth ages 13-20 “was associated with 60% lower odds of moderate or severe depression and 73% lower odds of suicidality over a 12-month follow-up.”

Attacks on “life-saving gender-affirming care”

Advocates who describe the roughly 45 bills targeting the 2SLGBTQIA+ community as hateful legislation say the lawmakers who pass them are negatively impacting the mental health of members of the community.

“Trans people of all ages face severe barriers in accessing this care including insurance coverage, costs, and finding a provider they trust. The notion that anyone is being rushed into receiving gender affirming care is completely removed from reality,” said Tamya Cox-Touré, executive director of ACLU of Oklahoma. 

“Generations have been forced to live under shame and secrecy. All people deserve to access the medical care they need and to feel comfortable living as their authentic selves.”

“These continued attacks on essential, life-saving gender-affirming care for trans Oklahomans are straight out of the anti-abortion playbook we saw from lawmakers last year – based on fear, shame, and stigma,” added Emily Wales, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes.

You can learn more about Freedom Oklahoma at seek mental health support, reach out to the Trevor Project by phone at 1-866-488-7386 or by text at 678-678. To reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline call 800-273-8255. To seek a culturally competent mental health professional, call the Black Mental Health Alliance at 410 338-2642.

Deon Osborne was born in Minneapolis, MN and raised in Lawton, OK before moving to Norman where he attended the University of Oklahoma. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Media and has...