Governor Stitt of Oklahoma has recently signed an executive order that aims to refine the terms “female” and “male,” resulting in further restrictions on transgender individuals’ rights within the state. This action aligns with prior legislative efforts in Oklahoma, which have sought to limit transgender rights in areas such as healthcare, bathroom use, and sports teams.
Support from an Organization Opposed to Transgender Rights
During the signing of the executive order, Governor Stitt was accompanied by representatives from Independent Women’s Voice, an advocacy group known for opposing transgender rights. Among the attendees was Riley Gaines, a former swimmer from the University of Kentucky who has expressed opposition to transgender swimmer Lia Thomas competing in women’s championships.
Preserving the Concept of Womanhood
Governor Stitt defended the executive order as a means to counteract what he perceives as an “unchecked gender ideology” that undermines the fundamental fabric of society. He stated that the order intends to safeguard the authentic essence of womanhood and prevent any attempts to redefine the term “woman” that could adversely affect cisgender women.
Establishing Biological Definitions of “Female” and “Male”
The executive order requires state agencies and boards to define “female” as an individual capable of producing eggs (ova) and “male” as an individual capable of fertilizing eggs. Furthermore, the order provides definitions for terms such as “man,” “boy,” “woman,” “girl,” “father,” and “mother.”
Impact on Schools and Vital Statistics
This order also extends to educational institutions, mandating the provision of separate restroom and locker room facilities for boys and girls based on their assigned sex at birth. It further stipulates the use of these definitions when collecting vital statistical data.
Referred to as “The Women’s Bill of Rights”
Advocates in favor of the executive order have labeled it “The Women’s Bill of Rights.” However, critics argue that it is a veiled attack that perpetuates discrimination against transgender women, violating their rights.
Part of a Broader Movement in Conservative States
Oklahoma’s executive order is part of a larger series of measures implemented in conservative states that target transgender rights. Oklahoma previously enacted laws criminalizing healthcare workers who provide gender-affirming care for minors, as well as regulating transgender participation in school sports and bathroom usage.
Legal Disputes in Neighboring States
Kansas is currently involved in legal battles over a comparable law called “The Women’s Bill of Rights,” which similarly limits transgender rights. Both Oklahoma and Kansas have drawn inspiration from anti-trans groups, including Independent Women’s Voice.
Responses from Advocacy Groups and Democrats
Freedom Oklahoma, an advocacy organization, and House Democratic Leader Cyndi Munson have both criticized the executive order as an assault on transgender rights. Munson has accused the governor of engaging in divisive political tactics.
Previous Executive Order Relating to Birth Certificates
Governor Stitt previously issued an executive order that prohibits any alterations to a person’s gender on birth certificates, further impacting transgender individuals’ rights within Oklahoma.