Oklahoma legislators propose bill to block child sex changes

Bill 1011 seeks to prevent doctors providing puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and so-called gender-affirming surgeries such as mastectomies and genital surgeries to gender-confused youth still in a stage of identity development.

Mia Ashton Montreal QC

Oklahoma Republican Rep. Jim Olsen has filed a bill aiming to ban gender-affirming healthcare providers from attempting to perform sex changes on anyone under 21 years of age.

House Bill 1011 seeks to prevent doctors from providing experimental puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and so-called gender-affirming surgeries such as bilateral mastectomies, hysterectomies, and genital surgeries to gender-confused young people who are still in a stage of identity development.

"It’s irresponsible for anybody in health care to provide or recommend life-altering surgeries that may later be regretted," Olsen said in a press release. "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."

Should the law be enacted, any health care professional who performs or attempts to perform "gender transition procedures" on any individual under 21 years of age would face a felony charge punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 and up to 10 years in prison. 

Providing such procedures would also be considered "unprofessional conduct" and would result in the "immediate revocation" of the license to practice medicine.

The bill also states that patients have until their 45th birthday to bring criminal and civil charges against the healthcare professionals who inappropriately transitioned them when they were too young to make such a life-changing decision.

The bill will be considered when the legislative session begins on February 6, 2023.

Oklahoma now joins the ranks of several US states attempting to ban pediatric medical transition, as well as the nations of Sweden, Finland, and England which have also hit the brakes on this experimental approach to treating young, gender-confused people.

Republicans in Michigan tabled a similar bill in October, and the Florida board of medicine voted to ban gender-affirming care for minors after hearing the testimonies of detransitioners who were allowed to transition as children and later came to regret the procedures they underwent.

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