Transgender rights activists occupied the Oklahoma Capitol building Monday to protest Republican-led proposed legislation that would protect minor children and teens from life-altering hormone drugs and surgeries, the consequences of which they may not fully comprehend until they are adults.
The protesters, many from LGBTQ activist groups Oklahomans for Equality and Freedom Oklahoma, descended upon the Capitol building and into the rotunda, where they proceeded to chant loudly.
#okleg happening now outside of the House floor:
Chants of “trans lives matter” pic.twitter.com/swzdgEKe9d
— Nick Camper (@nickcamper) February 6, 2023
The activists claimed legislation to ban transgender drugs and surgeries for minors amounts to “genocide” because such prohibitions will cause children and teens with gender dysphoria to commit suicide, the Daily Mail reported.
86% of transgender and nonbinary youth say recent debates about state laws restricting the rights of transgender people have negatively impacted their mental health. A majority of those trans youth (55%) said it impacted their mental health “very negatively.” @TrevorProject pic.twitter.com/AcbFSahUuN
— ActionLink: The Center Action Network (@LGBTActionLink) February 1, 2023
Many LGBTQ activists, including Biden U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Rachel (born Richard) Levine, typically cite the activist Trevor Project for statistics on suicide among youth with gender dysphoria.
Levine told NPR last April, as the health official condemned states that restrict gender transition for minors:
Fifty-two percent of all transgender and nonbinary young people in the U.S. seriously contemplated killing themselves in 2020. Think about how many of them thought it was better to die than to put up with any more harassment, scapegoating and intentional abuse.
In addition to HHS’s Rachel Levine, the National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Foundation also cites the LGBTQ activist organization the Trevor Project for its “statistics.”
🚨 New infographic with @TrevorProject! 🚨
LGBTQ youth report increased experiences of trauma-related events. Learn more about #trauma and #suicide risk among #LGBTQ youth here: https://t.co/tnGCVDJgy6 pic.twitter.com/mnOtT6MHOR
— NIHCM (@NIHCMfoundation) July 28, 2022
The Trevor Project’s “research,” however, with its samples that often rely on online self-reports, has warned of an “alarmingly high risk of suicide.”
Such reporting “frequently conflates suicidal thoughts and non-suicidal self-harm with serious suicide attempts and completed suicides,” observed Dr. Stephen Levine and his colleagues in a study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy:
Until recently, little was known about the actual rate of suicide of trans-identified youth. However, a recent analysis of data from the biggest pediatric gender clinic in the world, the UK’s Tavistock, found the rate of completed youth suicides to be 0.03% over a 10-year period, which translates into the annual rate of 13 per 100,000 (Biggs, 2022). While this rate is significantly elevated compared to the general population of teens, it is far from the epidemic of trans suicides portrayed by the media.
(TW:Suicide)"Just by talking about suicide, we can change the culture and remove the stigma. This year can be the year we decide to find a way to talk about suicide safely and start to destigmatize mental health challenges." Read the full blog here: https://t.co/IDnj865Xcq pic.twitter.com/HBpdQk2MnI
— The Trevor Project (@TrevorProject) January 25, 2023
Stephen Levine, of the Department of Psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University, also highlighted that “gender-affirmative care,” i.e., social, medical, and surgical interventions in response to gender dysphoria, is “still based on very low-quality evidence.”
“The many risks of these interventions, including medicalizing a temporary adolescent identity, have come into a clearer focus through an awareness of detransitioners,” he asserted, adding that while the lack of high-quality evidence for the success of these interventions should demand a comprehensive informed consent about their “risks and long-term outcomes,” the process is restricted by “erroneous professional assumptions; poor quality of the initial evaluations; and inaccurate and incomplete information shared with patients and their parents.”
The question of suicide is inappropriately handled,” Stephen Levine et al. continued:
Suicide among trans-identified youth is significantly elevated compared to the general population of youth (Biggs, 2022; de Graaf et al., 2020). However, the “transition or die” narrative, whereby parents are told that their only choice is between a “live trans daughter or a dead son” (or vice-versa), is both factually inaccurate and ethically fraught. Disseminating such alarmist messages hurts the majority of trans-identified youth who are not at risk for suicide. It also hurts the minority who are at risk, and who, as a result of such misinformation, may forgo evidence-based suicide prevention interventions in the false hopes that transition will prevent suicide.
“The ‘transition or die’ narrative regards suicidal risk in trans-identified youth as a different phenomenon than suicidal risk among other youth,” Stephen Levine and his colleagues noted. “Making them an exception falsely promises the parents that immediate transition will remove the risk of suicidal self-harm.”
The future belongs to Oklahoma.
My full State of the State Address here:https://t.co/lIEHKINMUN
— Governor Kevin Stitt (@GovStitt) February 6, 2023
The demonstration in the Oklahoma Capitol building came on the same day Governor Kevin Stitt (R) received a standing ovation during his State of the State address, during which he asserted:
We must protect our most vulnerable – our children.
After all 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.
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!
Stitt added he “will not be intimidated by partisan interest groups or make decisions based on groupthink.”
Some of the bills now proposed include one that would prohibit use of state taxpayer funds to pay for transgender drugs and surgeries for minors and another that would punish doctors who provide such medical interventions to individuals aged 25 or younger, the age at which many scientists say the brain’s prefrontal cortex reaches its fully mature state and can accomplish executive brain functions competently.
In May, Stitt signed a bill requiring students to use school restrooms corresponding to their sex on their birth certificates.
The bill, which passed the state Senate, 38-7, and the state House, 69-14, requires every K-12 public and charter school in the state to designate all restrooms or changing areas, except for single-occupancy, for exclusive use of the male or female sex.
Sex, states the legislation, is “the physical condition of being male or female based on genetics and physiology, as identified on the individual’s original birth certificate.”
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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Protest in Oklahoma Capitol” by Nick Camper.