PROTESTORS GATHER IN RESPONSE TO SLEW OF BILLS BANNING TRANS CARE

News 9 - February 7, 2023 6:12 am

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While dozens gathered inside the house chamber for the speech, more gathered outside the capitol to protest the Governor’s stance on gender-care.

Those protesters spent the morning on the Capitol steps, some shared stories of their experience as a trans person here in Oklahoma.

Inside the House Chamber during his State of the State, Governor Stitt put out a call to action.

“Send me a bill that bans all gender transition surgeries and hormone therapies on minors in the state of Oklahoma, ” Governor Kevin Stitt said.

Lawmakers answered his call with seventeen bills that target gender care. Some went the extra mile in their bills by extending that ban into adulthood. SB 1011 bans care for people 21-years-old and under, and SB 129 bans the care for anyone 26-years-old and under.

“I have medically transitioned under hormones. This legislations is going to affect me personally,” Ramona Diaz, protest organizer said. “I can purchase a firearm. I can smoke marijuana. I can drink alcohol. I can go to war but I can’t choose what to do with my own body.”

Ramona Diaz, a 23 year old says just the amount of bills targeting the trans community is overwhelming as it is, but the sentiment behind the potential laws is an even harder pill to swallow.

“I really love my community and I love living in Oklahoma, being seen as not just different but as violently different is terrifying,” Ramona said.

The prevention of hormone therapy to minors is now the common denominator in the seventeen pieces of legislation. Preventing transition surgery for minors is also in most of the bills but that is already illegal federally, and legislation that stops ARPA funding to any provider that gives care to minors is in effect statewide.

Where the bills differ, some hold medical practitioners criminally and civilly liable, and take away their license, with the threat of anyone aiding or abetting in some. Others threaten to withhold all public funds from providers and organizations that give care.

Others like HB 2736 and HB 2186 equate drag performances to what happens in strip clubs. HB 2186 states:

“‘Adult cabaret performance’ means a performance in a location, other than an adult cabaret, that features topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers, strippers, drag queens or similar entertainers, who provide entertainment that appeals to the prurient interest, regardless of whether or not the performance is for consideration.”

The language in HB 2736 also has people who aren’t drag performers worried they’ll be in violation of the law, just as themselves.

That bill states:

“‘Drag performance’ means a performance in which a performer exhibits a gender identity that is different from the gender assigned to the performer at birth using clothing, makeup, or other physical markers and sings, lip syncs, dances, or otherwise performs before an audience for entertainment.”

“If Bugs Bunny, if Mrs. Doubtfire, if Some Like It Hot, if To Wong Foo; [if] trans and queer representation we’ve had in family friendly media for decades is ok to show your children on a Saturday morning while they’re eating breakfast, then trans and queer individuals in country are not dangerous for your youth either,” DJ Fortner said.

Bills are expected to begin being heard Tuesday.

 

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