Media Contact

Cassidy Fallik, ACLU of Oklahoma Communications Director, (913) 748-1278,
Nicole McAfee, Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director, (830) 334-1660,

September 27, 2022

OKLAHOMA CITY — In response to news that the Oklahoma Legislature is attempting to ban best practice medical care for trans youth at OU Health Facilities as a stipulation to receive American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, the ACLU of Oklahoma and Freedom Oklahoma issued the following statements:

The following is attributable to Cindy Nguyen, Policy Director of ACLU of Oklahoma:
“Transgender youth are a part of Oklahoma, and they deserve the same privacy, access to treatment, and evidence-based health care from trained medical professionals as any other Oklahoman. But attacks on the 2SLGBTQ+ community and bodily autonomy are nothing new to Oklahoma politicians.”
“Medical and mental health treatment for transgender individuals is guided by best practice clinical guidelines. This legislation displays a fundamental ignorance about the medical treatment for transgender youth and undermines the prevailing recommendations of every major medical association. Oklahoma’s trans youth should not have to fight so hard to live but denying evidence-based medical care and support can be life threatening.”
“Parents, patients, and medical professionals - not politicians - should decide what medical care is in the best interest of any young person. The ACLU of Oklahoma will continue to fight to protect the needs of all transgender people, and we condemn the intrusive actions of lawmakers who continue to use children as political pawns.”

The following is attributable to Nicole McAfee, Executive Director of Freedom Oklahoma:

“ARPA funds are supposed to be an opportunity for states to invest in the long-term welfare of their people in the face of an ongoing deadly public health crisis, which has claimed the lives of more than 14,000 Oklahomans. Instead, we are disappointed to hear the Oklahoma Legislature will threaten best practice medical care for transgender young people by creating restrictions on ARPA disbursments to OU Health. It proves yet again that politicians in the Oklahoma Legislature are more concerned with their election mailer taglines than they are with the health of Oklahomans. Those same politicians want to intrude further into medical decision making, in direct opposition to best practice guidelines, and ban life-saving care to advance their personal political ambitions." 

“It is a dangerous standard to suggest medical facilities across Oklahoma should base their care on the views of extremists in the legislature rather than best practice or community needs. Oklahoma already struggles to recruit and retain qualified medical care providers. By withholding money meant to respond to a health crisis, the Legislature threatens to run out even more care providers from our state." 

“Transgender young people in Oklahoma are already bearing the burden of so much harm caused by the bullies in the Oklahoma Legislature. It’s frankly unacceptable in the face of ongoing litigation and with the full knowledge of the harm caused by these proposals that Legislative leadership is entertaining this stipulation. To the transgender kids across Oklahoma–we see you. We love you. We celebrate you. You belong here. Access to best practice medical care is your right. You deserve so much better than this.”

Cindy Nguyen: she/hers
Nicole McAfee: they/she

Stories amplifying attacks on 2SLGBTQ+ people have a measurable negative impact on mental health. We ask that stories covering this topic include information to access 2SLGBTQ+ affirming mental health support, such as Trans Lifeline (877-565-8860) and the LGBT Hotline (888-843-4564). Especially because this proposal targets kids, providing information about youth specific 2SLGBTQ+ affirming resources, like the Trevor Project (call 1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678-678), is a necessary act of suicide disruption.