Transgender activists swarmed the Oklahoma State Capitol Monday to protest proposed bills that would prohibit gender reassignment surgeries for minors.
About 150 protesters occupied the interior rotunda of the state Capitol, chanting "Trans lives matter" as state legislators convened for their first joint session of the year, the Daily Mail reported. The protesters rallied against proposed Senate Bills 129 and 252, which prohibit adolescents from undergoing "gender transition procedures."
Oklahoma is one of 11 states prioritizing bills this term that protect minors from gender altering surgeries and hormone treatments. Utah governor Spencer Cox (R.) was the first governor this year to sign such legislation into law. Last Friday, West Virginia's House Judiciary Committee advanced legislation banning puberty blockers and gender reassignment surgeries for minors, despite the almost 80 demonstrators who descended on the hearing to protest.
Last March, Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt (R.) signed a bill into law that prevents biological men from competing in women's sports. In his State of the State address during Monday's session, Stitt voiced his support for these new gender-related bills.
"We must protect our most vulnerable—our children," Stitt said. "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."
SB129 would prohibit gender transition procedures for those under 26, while SB252 caps the law at 18 and younger.
"As governor I will never shy away from calling out right from wrong," Stitt said Monday. "I will not be intimidated by partisan interest groups or make decisions based on groupthink."