The first non-binary state lawmaker in the US, Mauree Turner. (Mauree for House District 88)
Mauree Turner, the first openly non-binary state lawmaker in the US, has responded to a Republican backlash to trans-inclusive birth certificates.
Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt was vowing to fight a ruling that allows non-binary people born in Oklahoma to have their gender accurately reflected on their birth certificate when he said that “people are created by God to be male or female. Period.”
Stitt also said: “There is no such thing as non-binary sex and I wholeheartedly condemn the purported OSDH court settlement that was entered into by rogue activists who acted without receiving proper approval or oversight.”
His comments came after it was revealed that Oklahoma’s health department have issued a non-binary birth certificate this year, to much outrage from Republican lawmakers.
Turner said this stance damages his working relationship with other lawmakers, including them.
“If you have to work with people who adamantly oppose your existence, right, to the point to where we can’t work together, you can’t talk to me, you can’t talk to me like I’m a human being, you don’t see me, that damages anyone’s working relationship,” Turner told KOKH-TV.
They added: “If we are continuously saying like, ‘You’re not real, you have to suppress that part of you,’ what is that going to do to our community?
“What’s that going to do to our kids?”
Turner was backed up by Emily Virgin, the Democrat house minority leader in Oklahoma. “This morning, the governor used his pulpit to attack Oklahomans. Period,” Virgin said in a statement.
“A national study estimated that 52 per cent of transgender and non-binary young people in the United States seriously contemplated suicide last year.
“The governor’s suggestion that non-binary people don’t qualify as Oklahomans is abhorrent and completely unbecoming of a governor.
“Moreover, it is dangerous.”
Mauree Turner is the first out non-binary state lawmaker in the US
Mauree Turner became the first out non-binary person to represent constituents at a state level in the US when they were elected in November 2020. A Democratic community organiser and queer Muslim, Turner won election to district 88 in Oklahoma City, winning out over Republican Kelly Barlean with a projected 71 per cent of the vote.
Oklahoma is one of 15 states to offer a “third gender” option on birth certificates to include non-binary people on official documentation. California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington, and Washington, DC, all allow non-binary people to choose a third gender category on their official birth certificate.
Gender markers on birth certificates are one of the ways that trans and non-binary people can have their genders legally recognised – Belgium recently committed to legally recognising non-binary people. It will be the third European country to do so, following Germany and Iceland.
Malta, most Australian territories, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Uruguay all legally recognise non-binary genders. Countries including Denmark and New Zealand, several US states and Canadian territories all offer ‘X’ gender options on legal documents for non-binary citizens.