Senate bill would prohibit gender confirmation surgery before 21

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Legislators are slated to be back at the State Capitol in less than a week, and one bill that has been filed for this session is turning the heads of parents and doctors associated with the LGBTQ community.

It’s a bill that involves the process of gender confirmation. One state senator wants to put age requirements on certain procedures and therapies. If parents and doctors go against it, they could wind up in jail.

“It’s just an extreme attack on Transgender Oklahomans.” Said Allie Shinn.

The head of LGBTQ rights organization Freedom Oklahoma is referring to Senate Bill 676, authored by State Sen. Warren Hamilton of McCurtain.. The legislation states that it would be “unlawful for a person under the age of twenty one (21) years to undergo gender reassignment medical treatment in this state.”

The bill basically makes it illegal for doctors or patients to do any medical procedure to change “appearance or physical body.”

Hamilton declined our request for an on camera interview, but issued a statement saying in part, “if you’re not mature enough to make the choice to responsibly use alcohol or tobacco before age twenty one, then you’re not mature enough to make a permanent irrevocable decision regarding your endocrine system or body.”

Oklahoma State Capitol building
Oklahoma State Capitol

“Twenty-one is only the legal drinking age. It has nothing to do with medical care or age of majority in our country. Transgender patients deserve top of the line care just like any other patient, and this is what is recommended by multiple societies who are experts in this,” said Dr. Shauna Lawlis.

The Oklahoma City pediatrician works with transgender youths. She says another troubling part of the bill is that it would prevent hormone therapy for anyone under 18 to delay the onset of puberty, even with parental consent. Lawlis says puberty blockers are a good option.

“It gives everybody time to figure out what is going on and make the best decision for that patient and their family,” said Lawlis

The bill does include punishment for adults and medical professionals breaking this proposed law, three years to life in prison and a $20,000 fine.

“For legislators with no background in medical health and no grounding for what’s best for children to attack, that is really disheartening and really scary,” said Shinn.

Hamilton fired back in his statement, saying, “We have an obligation to protect children and young people. I have consulted with medical professionals, science is on our side, and I don’t need twelve years of medical school to know that a child does not need to undergo an irreversible ELECTIVE procedure.”

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