Law & Principles , Culture & the Family
Labor commissioner Osborn touts transgenderism, abortion
Ray Carter | January 12, 2024
A Republican women’s organization is calling on Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Leslie Osborn to switch parties and officially become a Democrat due to Osborn’s participation in a group that touts transgenderism and abortion to youth.
For several years, Osborn has openly opposed the policy goals of Republicans on everything from tax cuts to protecting children, and she has even called on voters to oust Republican lawmakers.
In a recent press release regarding Osborn’s activities, members of the Oklahoma City Republican Women’s Club declared, “We are asking her to change her party affiliation as her current actions and apparent values to the protection of children and families are contrary to the principles of the Republican Party.”
Until recently, Osborn was a member of, and one of six officers on, the board of directors for Honestly, an Oklahoma City organization focused on “youth sexual health.”
The organization’s website declares that a “lot of young people have sex” and that in Oklahoma County “it happens a lot sooner than you’d think.” The group’s website does not appear to include any material that encourages children and teens to delay sexual activity until the age of maturity.
Instead, on a page for youth, Honestly advises kids to “own your sex life.”
“What you want out of your relationships and sex life is your business,” the Honestly website informs local youth.
Members of the Oklahoma City Republican Women’s Club were particularly disturbed by a coloring book released by Honestly, which they say was made available while Osborn was on Honestly’s board of directors.
One page of the “Honestly Youth Sexual Health in Color Coloring Book” asks users to give “five reasons why sexual health should be discussed with young people.”
Another page of the coloring book has images of an individual and the label, “Valid + Nonbinary 100% Me.”
Another page asks users to designate their place on the “Six Spectrums of Sexuality.” The six “spectrums” include
“biological sex,” offering the choice of male, intersex and female;
“gender identity (psychological/internal sense of self),” offering a choice between man-ness, gender-queer, and woman-ness;
“gender expression (communication of gender via mannerisms, hairstyle, clothing, etc.),” offering a choice between masculinity, androgyny, and femininity;
“sexual/affectional orientation: attraction (physical, romantic, emotional),” offering a choice between “to opposite genders only,” “many genders or asexual,” and “to same genders only”;
“sexual/affectional orientation: identity (internal sense of identity),” offering a choice between “heterosexual or straight,” “queer, bi, pan, asexual,” and “gay/lesbian”; and
“behavior (sexual behaviors, dating, relationships, etc.),” offering a choice between “with opposite gender(s) only,” “with many or no gender(s),” and “with same gender(s) only.”
One page of the coloring book includes images of various forms of contraception, including condoms.
“It’s safe to say that the majority of parents, regardless of political affiliation, love their children and would do anything to protect their child and their innocence,” the Oklahoma City Republican Women’s Club press release stated. “Unfortunately, we have some in Oklahoma who feel otherwise. We were shocked to discover Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Leslie Osborn’s involvement in a coloring book, focused on the sexualization and indoctrination of small children.”
The group said a member confronted Osborn about the coloring book at a recent Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women’s Conference.
On Honestly’s website, a page of “LGBTQIA+ resources” directs youth to the Adolescent Medicine Roy G. Biv Program at OU Children’s Hospital and to Planned Parenthood Great Plains (PPGP), an affiliate of the nation’s largest abortion provider.
The Roy G. Biv Program provided puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to underage children, along with some sex-change surgeries and referrals for other sex-change procedures, until lawmakers voted to bar OU Children’s Hospital from receiving government funds if the hospital continued those activities.
During legislative debate, lawmakers noted that officials at OU Children’s Hospital admitted that 40 percent of girls who underwent mastectomies at the hospital to make themselves resemble males expressed regret within a short period of time, and lawmakers noted that research from European countries has found that people who identified as transgender and sought to medically change their sex had high levels of suicide after the procedures.
Osborn has publicly derided lawmakers’ efforts to require that patients be at least 18 before undergoing sex-change procedures.
In a public meeting, a recording of which remains available online, Osborn called for voters to defeat lawmakers who support such restrictions, along with other conservative policy goals.
“Have you pulled up the voting records of your state rep and senator? Are they the ones running anti-trans bills, gay-bashing bills, abortion bills, gun bills? If that’s what you want, great. That’s not what I want out of government,” Osborn said. “Are they the ones always voting for a tax cut? We have to get to the point where we educate ourselves and start putting people in that have the same priorities we do unless we want to stay stagnantly, exactly where we are.”
Osborn has repeatedly objected to efforts to cut Oklahoma’s personal-income tax, even though state savings are at historic highs, schools have record levels of funding, and families are struggling due to the high inflation experienced during the Biden administration.
In a recent column in The Oklahoman, Osborn claimed that cutting taxes would “put our state into economic peril” and declared it is a “false narrative that if we lower taxes everyone will want to move their businesses here.”
Contrary to Osborn’s claim, officials with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce told lawmakers in November that the agency typically has 95 to 100 open projects each month involving companies looking to relocate to or expand in Oklahoma, and recent Census figures showed that Oklahoma ranks in the top 10 states for net domestic migration, meaning more people are moving to Oklahoma from other states than are moving out of Oklahoma.
Osborn has also supported the efforts of a group called Oklahoma United for Progress that is seeking to change state law to allow “open primaries” in which non-Republicans can vote in Republican primaries in Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs reached out to Osborn’s office seeking comment on her participation on Honestly’s board of directors and comment on the coloring book produced by the organization.
As of publication, Osborn had provided no response.
But members of the Oklahoma City Republican Women’s Club say they’ve seen and heard enough.
“It’s time to hold the line and protect our children from this type of indoctrination,” the women’s group stated in its release. “And it’s time to expose those who are sexualizing our kids.”
Director, Center for Independent Journalism
Ray Carter is the director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism. He has two decades of experience in journalism and communications. He previously served as senior Capitol reporter for The Journal Record, media director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and chief editorial writer at The Oklahoman. As a reporter for The Journal Record, Carter received 12 Carl Rogan Awards in four years—including awards for investigative reporting, general news reporting, feature writing, spot news reporting, business reporting, and sports reporting. While at The Oklahoman, he was the recipient of several awards, including first place in the editorial writing category of the Associated Press/Oklahoma News Executives Carl Rogan Memorial News Excellence Competition for an editorial on the history of racism in the Oklahoma legislature.