When I told you the other day about the law that now prevents transgender girls and women from playing sports on a team that matches their gender identity, I didn’t think I’d be talking about Oklahoma and its anti-trans laws again so soon. But here we are. Last Wednesday was another dark day for the transgender community in that state.
Oklahoma became the latest state to pass a so-called “bathroom bill,” which requires students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match the gender on their birth certificate. The law is a direct attack on the LGBTQ community, and it has already sparked protests from civil rights groups.
The “bathroom law” requires kindergarten through 12th-grade students in Oklahoma public and public charter schools to use restrooms and locker rooms that match the gender listed on their birth certificates.
The measure, which was approved by the state legislature and which was signed by Governor Kevin Stitt, goes into effect immediately.
Any transgender student who refuses to comply with the new law will be separated from their peers and forced to use “a single-occupancy restroom or changing room.”
And if school districts are found to violate the law, they could have a portion of their public funding withdrawn or be sued by parents.
ACLU of Oklahoma Executive Director Tamya Cox-Touré
“By singling out transgender students for discrimination and excluding them from restrooms that match their gender identity, SB 615 discriminates based on transgender status and sex in violation of the United States Constitution and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act,” ACLU of Oklahoma Executive Director Tamya Cox-Touré said in a statement.
“These violations put Oklahoma at risk of losing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding and harm transgender youth, all to solve a problem that plainly does not exist.”
This situation in Oklahoma, as you know, is part of an alarming trend across the country.
In a year that has seen conservatives introducing over 100 anti-transgender bills in state legislatures across the country, it is perhaps no surprise that Oklahoma has become the latest state to approve Senate Bill 615, a measure that harms transgender youth.
The recent decision by Oklahoma legislators to rescind protections for transgender students is a devastating blow to the progress that has been made on issues of equality and inclusion. And for transgender youth, who already face discrimination and exclusion, this decision will only serve to further marginalize and isolate them.