Oklahoma governor signs transgender sports ban into law

March 30 (UPI) -- Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Wednesday signed a bill into law that prohibits transgender boys and girls from competing on sports teams consistent with their gender at public schools and colleges in the state.

The law will require that a parent or guardian of a student at a public school, public charter school or public college in the state who competes on a sports team sign an affidavit acknowledging their child's biological gender at birth and requiring them to only play on a sports team associated with that gender.


"Girls should compete against girls, boys should compete against boys," said Stitt, who said he was unaware of any transgender athletes in the state and had not consulted with any transgender people when considering the bill.


He added that he was not concerned with the potential of the NCAA removing events from the state, after suggesting it may if the measure were signed into law.

"Even if the NCAA had a problem with it, we are going to do what is right," Stitt said.

The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association released a statement saying it would comply with the new law.

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"With Gov. Stitt signing the Save Women's Sports Act into law this morning at the State Capitol, the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association will now comply with the new state law," the organization said.

Lawmakers who supported the bill referenced University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, who won the 500-yeard freestyle at the NCAA women's swimming championship race earlier this month, becoming the first known transgender athlete to win a Division I national championship in any sport.

"I knew I must stand up for something I know to be true -- sex is a fact," said Republican state Sen. Julie Daniels, who said the result influenced her decision to support the bill.

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"Five decades of Title IX is going to be very quickly undone if we allow just a few biological males to come in and start taking the medals, taking the ribbons, setting the fastest time and taking the scholarships."


Nicole McAfee, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma a group that advocates for equality for LGBTQ+ people in the state, said the bill would endanger transgender children.

"It tells nonbinary and gender diverse folks that policymakers not only don't understand, them but are going out of their way to make sure they feel unsafe and unwelcome in the state," McAfee said.

Tamya Cox-Toure, executive director of the ACLU Oklahoma, said the organization may seek a legal challenge to the law.

"Transgender people belong everywhere, but with the swipe of a pen and a public display, Gov. Stitt has sent a clear message to Oklahoma's vulnerable transgender youth that they are not welcome or accepted in our state," Cox-Toure said.

More than 150 anti-transgender laws have been proposed throughout the country this year, and on Wednesday Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., and 20 other Republican lawmakers introduced a bill that would honor Emma Weyant, who finished second to Thomas in the NCAA swimming championship.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this month issued an official proclamation declaring Weyant, a Sarasota, Fla., native and University of Virginia swimmer, the "rightful winner" of the race.

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