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Oklahoma lawmaker faces backlash for saying transgender people are mentally ill

Oklahoma lawmaker faces backlash for saying transgender people are mentally ill
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An Oklahoma lawmaker is facing backlash after he made remarks arguing that transgender people are mentally ill.

State Rep. JJ Humphrey (R) made his comments amid debate over a state bill that seeks to ban transgender girls from participating in all-girls sports, according to a local ABC affiliate station.

In a heated email exchange, Humphrey, who is the chair on the committee mulling the bill, was called a bigot by a person who was attempting to convince him to vote "no" on the bill, the outlet noted.

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"I understand transgender people have mental illness," Humphrey said in response to the email before adding "your insanity certainly is scary."

In an interview with ABC's KOCO 5 station on Thursday, Humphrey reiterated his stance, saying that he wanted the audience to understand that there "is no transgender."

"There is male and there is female. And transgender would be a mental health issue,” Humphrey told the news outlet. “So those people that say I'm bigoted, I will say you're insane and you're doing the people wrong by doing that."

Freedom Oklahoma Director Allie Shinn condemned Humphrey's comments.

"Being transgender is not a result of being mentally ill. Being gay or lesbian or bisexual is not a result of being mentally ill. And the science is clear on this and has been clear on this in decades," Shinn said, according to KOCO 5.

“This is not a level of representation that transgender Oklahomans deserve, that any Oklahomans deserve. Rep. Humphrey has made it routinely clear that he is there to serve himself and his own ego," Shinn continued.

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The bill still needs to go to state Senate and get approval from the governor before it can become law.

Legislation seeking to ban participation for transgender athletes has sprung up in a number of states across the country. Florida's state House on Wednesday passed a bill that would ban transgender female athletes from joining women’s public school and college sports teams.