Oklahoma legislators were preparing to outlaw child sex-change surgeries. Then hundreds of transgender activists protested inside the state capitol.
The crowd had rallied against several bills that, if passed, would ban child gender transition.
“We are Oklahoma,” it chanted in footage uploaded to Twitter by local reporter Nick Camper. The crowd also chanted, “Trans lives matter” and “Protect trans kids.”
The crowd, numbering about 150, carried pro-transgender signs with statements like “We Are Not A Threat So Stop Making Us a Target. HRT Saves Lives.”
“HRT” means hormone replacement therapy, where women inject testosterone and men inject estrogen to appear more like the opposite gender.
The chants echoed through the capitol’s rotunda while Oklahoma’s state legislature debated.
Sex Change Penalties
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed bills keeping men claiming to be women out of women’s sports and requiring students to use the bathrooms assigned to their sex.
Currently, the Oklahoma Legislature faces decisions on Senate Bill 250, Senate Bill 252, House Bill 1011, and Senate Bill 129.
These bills ban public funding of sex-change surgeries and public funding of sex-change hormones.
Bills 252, 1011, and 129 also ban gender reassignment procedures. But each sets a different age limit. Bill 252 bans the gender reassignment of minors, 1011 bans gender reassignment of anyone under 21, and 129 bans the gender transition for anyone under 26.
Senate Bill 129 is titled the “Millstone Act,” referencing the Bible verse Matthew 18:6.
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea,” the verse reads.
Those who violate the Millstone Act would receive felony charges. Bill 252 violators would face professional medical discipline, and Bill 1011 violators would receive either a $100,000 fine, a prison sentence, or both.
Protesting for Puberty Blockers
Transgender activist group Oklahomans for Equality (OKEQ) played an important role in organizing the protest. Its interim executive director, Dorothy Ballard, told The Epoch Times the only opposition to child sex-change surgeries comes from “bigotry.”
“If you were to ask somebody about making medical decisions for their child around any other issue, such as diabetes or even chronic depression, there would not be a question about allowing parents and caretakers and their children in their care absolutely full spectrum access to medical health,” she said.
Ballard said Oklahoma’s bills against transgender sex-change surgeries would endanger the lives of transgender people in several ways.
People who want gender transition but can’t do it will commit suicide, people who hate transgenderism will kill transgender people, and some people will die of heart conditions caused by a sudden end to cross-sex hormones, Ballard said.
“I’m talking about suicidal ideation. I am talking about self-harm,” she said. “There are real risks to direct and an abrupt interruption to hormone replacement therapy.”
“These kinds of legislations incite violence,” she added.
Ballard said the protest inside the capitol was peaceful, but the state restricted how the protesters could demonstrate.
Although the protesters were willing to sit quietly in the capitol’s debate chamber, capitol authorities kept them out, Ballard said. She added that authorities asked the protesters to stop chanting at some points.
“We were restricted access to certain areas. We were asked to be quiet at certain points during the session. But overall, it was all managed very peacefully. We did get an opportunity to at least have our voices heard,” she said.
After the protest, transgenderism supporters left the building peacefully, Ballard said.
Medical Decisions, Medical Risks
Ballard said she supports the use of sex-change hormones by children and taxpayer funding for these hormones.
When asked about the risks of bone damage, decreased genital function, and infertility resulting from the use of cross-sex hormones and puberty blockers, Ballard said these consequences usually don’t happen and that every medical procedure involves risks.
“There isn’t any sort of medical intervention or therapy that does not have consequences or possible benefits or side effects. So that’s where informed consent comes in,” Ballard said.
She also said child sex-change surgeries don’t happen.
“That’s not something that’s happened. Children aren’t being subjected to surgery, outside of intersex children, which is allowable under all of the current proposals,” she said.
As previously reported, Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University performed breast amputations on minors identifying as transgender.
The decision for children to take puberty-blocking chemicals that could permanently alter their bodies should be between a child, parents, and a doctor, said Ballard. The government shouldn’t have a say, she added.
“What’s going to happen when somebody does come in and wants to represent us, but has very strong worldviews on things like general medical care?” she asked.
Ballard suggested allowing the government to intervene in medical decisions could create a “slippery slope” that threatens individual rights.
According to studies from the CDC, over 1.6 million Americans identify as transgender.
Transgenderism seems more common in younger generations, according to the studies. Half of 1 percent of American adults say they are transgender, but 1.4 percent of children 13 to 17 identify as such.
Preventing ‘Immense Suffering’
According to activist Chris Elston, Oklahoma’s new laws will save children from immense suffering. Elston opposes child-sex changes and spoke before Oklahoma legislators in a bid to ban it in law, as previously reported.
“Almost all of these kids have some mental health issue going on, and we don’t solve mental health issues by altering the body,” he said of children who say they are transgender.
He said his opposition to child sex changes came from science and noted that most children with gender dysphoria grow out of it.
“We’ve been going through puberty as a human species for 200,000 years,” Elston said. “Kids weren’t killing themselves because they went through puberty, which is the No. 1 argument you hear from these activists.”
But hormones are permanent, he said. One expert he cited, sex-change surgeon Dr. Marci Bowers, found that boys who started puberty blockers at 10 years old were universally incapable of orgasm as adults.
In conservative Oklahoma, the bills will pass Oklahoma’s legislature, said Elston. But it’s unclear what will happen when activist groups challenge them in court, he said.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has already promised to fight the bills in court, according to its press release.
“The ACLU of Oklahoma and our partners are determined to fight these baseless laws until they are struck down. Make no mistake, this is a promise of legal action should any of these bills be signed into law,” reads a press release by Megan Lambert, the legal director of the ACLU of Oklahoma.
Elston said any state that bans child gender transition will likely face lawsuits.
“It’s going to end up going to court,” he said. “But that’s just what we got to do.”
Elston added that even if the bill only momentarily stops “irreversible harm” to children, it will be worth it.
“At least in the time being, it’ll put a stop to a lot of this stuff,” he said.
If Oklahoma bans gender transition-related care for children, it will be the second state to do so.
Last week, Utah banned sex-change surgery and puberty blocker use for children, as previously reported.
In 2022, polling from the Pew Research Center suggests 46 percent of adults oppose child gender transition.
The Epoch Times reached out to Stitt’s press office, but it didn’t respond by press time.
From The Epoch Times