“We’re not going to beat these bills by rehashing the same far-left rhetoric and playing victim,” she said. “We’re going to defeat these bills by finding common ground with Republicans in the Legislature and helping them to see this isn’t necessarily the winning issue they think it is.”
Republican lawmakers filed numerous bills this year to block children and some adults from receiving gender-affirming care that includes puberty blockers, cross-sex hormone therapies and gender-reassignment surgeries.
There are also several bills targeting drag performances, including one that says drag performers or drag show organizers could face up to two years in prison and $20,000 in fines if the event occurs on public property or in a place where it could be viewed by children.
Transgender Oklahomans just want to be left alone, Novotny said.
“Unfortunately, in the last year or so, the attacks by the Legislature on trans issues started coming fast,” she said. “We went from being a group of people that no one thought twice about to being the target of extremist legislation.”
Securing Liberty began fundraising on Monday. The group will be required to file a public notice with the state Ethics Commission within 10 days of raising $1,000.
Novotny said her top priority is to commission polling on transgender issues in key GOP legislative districts because she expects that the subject is not top of mind for most voters. The PAC may also send out mailers in some districts to inform voters that their legislators are targeting transgender Oklahomans, she said.
Novotny also hopes to encourage more transgender Oklahomans to meet with their legislators.
Political consultant Kris Masterman said he and Novotny have discussed for months the idea of creating a PAC devoted to transgender issues.
Masterman said he has several transgender friends and that he’s concerned about the rise in anti-transgender legislation that is becoming a trend in red states across the country.
“I’m close to this issue, and I think it’s important for Republicans to speak out,” he said. A registered Republican, Masterman used to be a leader in the Oklahoma Democratic Party but said he switched his political affiliations after he felt alienated by the party.