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Oklahoma

Lawmaker intros bill to ban LGBTQ+ books & offers bounty if not removed

Prohibits school districts from having or promoting books that address the study of sex, sexual identity or gender identity

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State Sen. Rob Standridge Facebook page

OKLAHOMA CITY – A Republican State Senator introduced legislation that gives parents in the state power to ban books in Oklahoma schools. The law also provides for a pathway for parents to collect up to $10,000 as a bounty for each day a book is not removed.

State Sen. Rob Standridge (R-District 15) announced in mid-December that he had filed two bills for the 2022 legislative session, which begins in February, to address what Standridge characterized as “the indoctrination of children in school classrooms and on college campuses.” The first bill,  Senate Bill 1142, “prohibits public school districts, public charter schools, and public school libraries from having or promoting books that address the study of sex, sexual preferences, sexual activity, sexual perversion, sex-based classifications, sexual identity, gender identity, or books that contain content of a sexual nature that a reasonable parent or legal guardian would want to know about or approve of before their child was exposed to it.” 

The legislation; “allows a student’s parent or legal guardian who believes a book violates this bill to submit a written request to the school district superintendent or charter school administrator to remove it within 30 days. If not removed during that time, the employee tasked with the book’s removal would be dismissed or not reemployed, subject to due process provisions, and he or she could not be employed by a public school district or public charter school for two years. The measure further creates a cause of action for a parent or legal guardian against a public school district or public charter school that violates the bill’s provisions, allowing the individual to seek monetary damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and court costs.” 

The second bill, Senate Bill 1141, “prohibits institutions within The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education from requiring students to enroll in a course that is not a core requirement of their chosen curriculum addressing any form of gender, sexual, or racial diversity, equality, or inclusion curriculum beginning with the 2022-23 academic year.”

The legislation also provides that; “Students could not be financially penalized for choosing not to enroll in such courses. It also prohibits institutions from including or making part of a course that is a core requirement for a degree program certain concepts related to gender, sexual, or racial diversity, equality, or inclusion. The bill clarifies that its provisions do not prohibit concepts related to gender, sexual, or racial diversity, equality, or inclusion that align to a degree program focused on gender, sexual, or racial studies.”

Standridge is a long time opponent of LGBTQ+ rights in Oklahoma. On July 15, 2015, a couple of weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, (576 U.S. 644), he said the U.S. Supreme Court’s position in upholding same-sex marriage was just the latest example of an out-of-control judiciary that has taken aim on traditional American values. He said the ruling has “put more nails in the coffin of the 10th Amendment and states’ rights.”

He also backed Oklahoma House Bill 1775, signed by Republican Governor Kevin Stitt last May.

House Bill 1775 prohibits mandatory diversity training for students in Oklahoma’s public universities regarding gender identity, sexual orientation, race stereotyping and sex stereotyping for students – into law. HB 1775 is the first piece of anti-LGBTQ legislation that has been advanced by the Oklahoma state legislature the last (2021) session.

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Oklahoma

Oklahoma lawmaker introduces ‘Don’t Say Gay’ & prevent gender care bills

“I applaud Florida for enacting this measure, & call on my colleagues to follow their lead & do the right thing to protect our children”

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Oklahoma State Senate Chamber (Photo Credit: State of Oklahoma)

OKLAHOMA CITY – On the heels of Oklahoma Republican Governor Kevin Stitt signing a bill Tuesday that explicitly prohibits the use of nonbinary gender markers on state birth certificates, Republican State Senator Nathan Dahm introduced legislation mirroring Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law as well as a second measure that would prohibit any person under the age of 18 from undergoing gender affirming treatment in the state.

House Bill 1074 is modeled after Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, commonly referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” law. The legislation would prohibit educators or other school personnel from teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity for grades kindergarten through fifth. It also requires that any curriculum taught in grades six through 12 must be age and developmentally appropriate for students, KFOR News Channel 4 reported.

“There is absolutely no reason we should be teaching or talking about sexual orientation or gender identity in elementary school,” Dahm said. “Kids need to be learning their ABCs and how to read and write – not that a man can be a woman if [s]he feels like it, or vice versa. I applaud the State of Florida for enacting this measure, and call on my colleagues in Oklahoma to follow their lead and do the right thing to protect our children.”

The second piece of legislation, HB 1076, would prohibit any person under the age of 18 from undergoing gender affirming treatment in the state.

“If we can’t trust those under 18 to purchase or use tobacco and alcohol, they aren’t mature enough to make a long-term decision like changing their gender,” Dahm told KFOR. “As gender reassignment surgery has become more and more common over the years, we are now hearing stories of transgender adults who are reversing these procedures because they realize they made a grave mistake. And unfortunately, their bodies are mutilated because of it. This legislation would protect these vulnerable individuals from making rash decisions without fully thinking them through.”

In the language of the measure the penalty for violating the proposed statue would be that any physician that performs the treatment would be subject to professional discipline by the State Medical Board and could receive a suspended or revoked license.

All major medical associations support best-practice medical care that affirms transgender youth. Affirming health care is proven to save kids’ lives. Care includes a range of approaches, which are thoughtfully considered by youth, guardians, and doctors. The way care is portrayed by the Senator carrying this language is factually incorrect and intentionally inflammatory. Banning best-practice medical care is dangerous government intrusion. This is one of the most extreme political attacks on transgender people in recent memory. To try to sneak this effort into the end of the legislative session is egregious.

To partner it with an effort to further censor classrooms and chill speech in schools is life-threatening for too many LGBTQ+ kids in Oklahoma. Just last month the CDC published new data that in the first half of 2020, 1 in every 4 LGBTQ+ teens acted on suicidality. We’re being literal when we say the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of our communities are at stake.

We’re incensed that LGBTQ+ kids and their families yet again have to face the fear and uncertainty of if and how elected officials will use their platforms to advance what are clearly harmful attacks.  In every state where this language is copied and pasted into efforts, we’ve seen that the impact is harm, potentially irreparable harm, to LGBTQ+ kids and kids of LGBTQ+ parents.”

FREEDOM OKLAHOMA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NICOLE MCAFEE

In reaction to the Governor’s signing of the Gender Marker bill, Oklahoma Republican Representative Sheila Dills, the House sponsor of the bill, said;

“People are free to believe whatever they want about their identity, but science has determined people are either biologically male or female at birth. We want clarity and truth on official state documents. Information should be based on established medical fact and not an ever-changing social dialogue.”

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National LGBTQ Task Force, 15 states and the District of Columbia specifically allow a gender marker designation outside of male or female currently however, that number will increase on July 1 when Vermont’s new statute goes into effect.

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Oklahoma

Oklahoma Governor signs anti-Trans youth sports bill

“Legislators have decided that harming Oklahoma’s most vulnerable children and their families is worthwhile if it’s politically helpful”

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Former President Trump & Governor Kevin Stitt, White House conference June 18, 2020 (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

OKLAHOMA CITY– Oklahoma Republican Governor Kevin Stitt signed into law Senate Bill 2, a bill which would restrict transgender girls from playing on school sports teams that match their gender identity. The measure passed the Oklahoma House last year and on 37 to 7 vote passed the state Senate last week.

In addition to S.B. 2, the state legislature is also moving forward two additional bills that target the LGBTQ+ community: S.B. 9, a bill that would expand definition of obscene materials to target the LGBTQ+ community, and S.B. 1100, a bill that would eliminate inclusive gender markers from official documents.

Data shows that 75% of Oklahomans support expanding LGBTQ+ rights including protections from discrimination, contradictory to the Governor’s actions.

“Last year, Oklahoma Senate President Greg Treat rightly called S.B. 2 a solution in search of a problem. Nothing has changed, yet Governor Stitt and Oklahoma legislators have sadly decided that harming Oklahoma’s most vulnerable children and their families is worthwhile if it’s politically helpful with the extreme elements of their base. It’s only March, and 2022 is on track to be the worst year on record for introduction and enactment of anti-transgender legislation,” said Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley.

“Other Republican governors have chosen to follow the facts to their logical conclusion – just last week Republican governors in Indiana and Utah vetoed legislation similar to S.B. 2, citing the wellbeing and mental health of transgender kids, the lack of any problem with transgender youth participation in sports, and potential litigation. Instead, Governor Stitt has chosen discrimination over the well-being of everyday Oklahomans. The Human Rights Campaign strongly condemns his actions,” Oakley added.

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Oklahoma

Multiple Anti-LGBTQ+ bills passed by Oklahoma state senate

SB 2 now heads to the Governor’s desk where, if signed, it would become the third anti-transgender sports ban enacted into law this year

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Oklahoma State Senate (Photo Credit: State of Oklahoma)

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Republican-held majority Oklahoma State Senate enacted passage of multiple anti-LGBTQ+ bills this week including a 37 to 7 vote on S B2, which would restrict transgender girls from playing on school sports teams that match their gender identity.

SB 2 now heads to Republican Governor John Stitt’s desk where, if signed, it would become the third anti-transgender sports ban enacted into law this year.

In addition to S B2, the Senate also passed two additional anti-LGBTQ+ bills, SB 9 and SB 1100 that continue to advance through the state legislature. If enacted, these bills would ban materials about LGBTQ people and topics in the classroom and restrict access to gender-affirming documents for nonbinary youth in the state.

“Today, the Oklahoma Senate voted to advance three anti-LGBTQ+ bills regulating school sports, identity documents, and curriculum. While their subjects were different, their target was the same: transgender and nonbinary youth. Lawmakers added these attacks to the agenda behind closed doors in the early hours of the morning, part of a coordinated strategy to use trans youth as political pawns,” said Sam Ames, Director for Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project. “This legislation offers solutions to problems that simply do not exist in Oklahoma, but the harm it can cause LGBTQ+ youth is very real. We urge the governor to follow the actions of governors in Utah and Indiana and veto the anti-trans sports ban that now heads to his desk. We also urge the Oklahoma House to reject SB 9 and SB 1100 in support of their trans and nonbinary constituents.”

According to a recent poll conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of The Trevor Project, 85% of transgender and nonbinary youth — and two-thirds of all LGBTQ+ youth (66%) — say recent debates about state laws restricting the rights of transgender people have negatively impacted their mental health.

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