State Watch

Oklahoma governor signs transgender sports bill

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) participates in a White House roundtable with then-President Trump in 2020
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Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed a bill on Wednesday that would require youth sports teams to base eligibility on “biological sex” rather than the gender.

Under the bill, dubbed the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” transgender girls and women will not be allowed to join high school and college sports teams that correspond with their gender identity. It passed through the state House and Senate mainly along party lines and will take effect immediately.

Oklahoma is now the fourth state to enact such a policy this year, following South DakotaIowa and Utah.

Stitt, during the bill’s signing ceremony, called the legislation “common sense.” Female athletes appeared alongside him.

“When it comes to sports and athletics, girls should compete against girls. Boys should compete against boys. And let’s be very clear: That’s all this bill says,” he added.

Critics of the bill quickly condemned the signing of the legislation. Tamya Cox-Touré, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma, said Stitt’s signing of the bill “sent a clear message to Oklahoma’s vulnerable transgender youth that they are not welcome or accepted in our State.”

“SB2 is just one of many bills we have seen attacking our Two Spirit, transgender, and nonbinary communities this session, while overlooking the real issues with gender equality in sports when it comes to funding, resources, pay equity, and more,” she wrote in a statement.

“Promoting baseless fears about trans athletes does nothing to address those real problems,” she added.

Cox-Touré claimed that the bill is unconstitutional and said it violates federal civil rights law.

“Transgender students already live and go to school in our State, they play sports and enjoy time with their friends, and they deserve the chance to succeed and thrive like any other student,” she added.

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