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Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signs a ban on non-binary birth certificates

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt on Tuesday signed a bill that explicitly bans the use of non-binary gender markers on state birth certificates, saying a banning expert is the first of its kind in the country.

The bill followed a clap last year over the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s agreement in a civil case that allows a non-binary option. The birth certificate in that case was issued to an Oklahoma-born Oregon resident who sued after the agency initially denied the request. People who are non-binary do not identify with traditional male or female gender assignments.

The news of the settlement led to outrage among Republicans, including Stitt, and his nominee to head the agency abruptly withdrew the next day. Stitt then promptly issued an ordinance banning any change of a person’s gender on birth certificates, despite the settlement agreement. A civil rights group has challenged the order in a federal court, but the state has not yet responded.

Many states only offer male or female gender options on birth certificates, but Oklahoma is the first to write the non-binary ban into law, according to Lambda Legal, the civil rights group that is suing Oklahoma.

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

“People are free to believe what they want about their identity, but science has determined that people are either biologically male or female at birth,” the Oklahoma Rep. Sheila Dills, the House’s sponsor of the bill, in a statement. “We want clarity and truth about official state documents. Information should be based on established medical facts and not a constantly changing social dialogue.”

In 2020, Oklahoma residents elected the country’s first openly non-binary legislator in the country, Oklahoma City’s Democratic Rep. Mauree Turner, who said it was painful to have colleagues to point out those who are gender differences.

“I think it’s a very extreme and grotesque use of force in this body to write this law and try to pass it – when literally none of them live like us,” Turner tweeted the day the bill was debated.

Republicans in Oklahoma introduced several bills this year targeting transgender and non-binary individuals. The governor signed a bill earlier this year banning transgender girls from playing on women’s sports teams.

The U.S. State Department recently announced that it had issued its first passport with an “X” gender designation, marking a milestone in the recognition of the rights of people who do not identify as male or female and expect to be able to offer the option more pretty much next year.

Doctors and scientists say that gender and gender are not the same. While sex typically refers to anatomy, gender identity is more an inner feeling of being a man, woman, or somewhere in between, regardless of physical anatomy, according to Dr. Jason Rafferty, a pediatrician and child psychiatrist at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Rhode Island and a lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ transgender policy.

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