OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma legislator has filed a bill to prohibit health care professionals from providing gender transition services to people under the age of 21.
Rep. Jim Olsen, R-Roland, says House Bill 1011 prohibits health care professionals from providing, attempting to provide or providing a referral for puberty blockers, hormones and gender affirming surgeries for Oklahomans under the age of 21.
Rep. Olsen says the bill includes exceptions to address medically-diagnosed genetic anomalies, mutations or sexual development disorders.
“It’s irresponsible for anybody in health care to provide or recommend life-altering surgeries that may later be regretted,” Olsen said. “We know there are some people who undergo the gender transition process and later identify as their biological sex. Performing irreversible procedures on young people can do irreparable harm to them mentally and physically later in life.”
In a 2015 survey of nearly 28,000 people conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality, 8% of respondents reported detransitioning – and 62% of those people said they detransitioned temporarily.
The most common reason for detransitioning, according to the survey, was pressure from a parent, while 0.4% of respondents said they detransitioned after realizing transitioning wasn’t right for them.
Health care professionals found in violation of the law would face a felony charge with a fine of up to $100,000, a 10-year sentence, or both, as well as license revocation by the appropriate licensing board.
Additionally, the bill provides grounds for potential civil action brought by any person. The bill states that civil liability and criminal charges may be initiated until the victim turns 45.
HB1011 also prohibits public funds from going toward any organization providing gender transition procedures to someone under 21.
However, according to the Diversity Center of Oklahoma’s executive director, Kelley Blair, the state does not even perform gender reassignment surgeries the bill would forbid.
“In the state of Oklahoma there, those surgeries are not performed for even adults over 21. And so that’s another misgiving,” said Blair. “Even if that were the case, we’re taking away trans rights from the people that are able to make decisions for their self.”
News 4 spoke with Rep. Olsen by phone while he was traveling Thursday night, to ask him if surgeries were performed across the state.
“My understanding is that they perform certain kinds of surgeries within the state, but nobody’s affirming that it’s not anywhere else,” said Olsen.
When specifically asking if the surgeries were gender reassignment surgeries, Olsen responded by saying, “If you cut off a woman’s breast, is that gender reassignment? Yeah, that was the purpose of it.”
When KFOR asked Olsen if House Bill 1011 would violate a trans person’s Constitutional rights, he said no because the Constitution does not specifically address such things, unlike the right to bear arms.
“These gender reassignment procedures are, for the most part, there’s no going back. Usually there’s permanent harm that most of the time cannot be undone,” said Olsen. “It’s such a big decision that a later age is definitely appropriate.”
The legislative session begins Feb. 6, 2023.