Hundreds of “Trans Lives Matter” protesters gathered at the Oklahoma state Capitol Monday to demonstrate against legislation that would restrict gender transition-related medical care.
Videos showed protesters chanting “this is our house,” and “protect trans kids,” and holding signs that read, “Protect trans rights” and “My body, my freedom,” outside the Capitol building and inside the rotunda.
The protest took place during Gov. Kevin Stitt’s State of the State address, in which he called on the legislature to pass a law banning gender transition medical treatment for minors.
“Minors can’t vote, can’t purchase alcohol, can’t purchase cigarettes. We shouldn’t allow a minor to get a permanent gender-altering surgery in Oklahoma,” the Republican governor said on the House floor, prompting a standing ovation from Republican lawmakers.
“That’s why I am calling on the Legislature to send me a bill that bans all gender transition surgeries and hormone therapies on minors in the state,” he said. “As governor, I will never shy away from calling out right from wrong. I will not be intimidated by partisan interest groups or make decisions based on groupthink.”
The demonstrators were protesting against Senate Bill 129, or the Millstone Act, which would prohibit Oklahoma doctors from providing gender transition procedures or referral services relating to such procedures to individuals younger than 26.
Republican state Sen. David Bullard said he chose the age of 26 due to scientific findings that say the brain does not fully develop and mature until the mid- to late 20s, according to a press release.
The trans rights protesters are also opposing Senate Bill 252, which would prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from receiving gender reassignment surgery.
“If those under the age of 18 don’t have the mental capacity to vote, drink, or smoke, they certainly should not be making irreversible decisions to mutilate and destroy their body,” Republican state Sen. Nathan Dahm, who introduced the bill, said in a press release. “In Oklahoma, we are going to protect children from those who would prey on their insecurities for profit.”
Multiple other bills being discussed in the state legislature target drag shows, publicly-funded transition surgeries and other LGBTQ issues.