GLAAD, FREEDOM OKLAHOMA RESPOND TO HOUSE COMMITTEE PASSAGE OF LAW BANNING BIRTH CERTIFICATE CHANGES FOR NONBINARY, INTERSEX, AND TWO SPIRIT OKLAHOMANS

The legislature’s latest attack on LGBTQ Oklahomans comes one week after Gov. Kevin Stitt signed an unfair and unnecessary law banning transgender youth from participating in school sports.
April 6, 2022

 

GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is responding to Wednesday’s Oklahoma House Public Health Committee passage of SB 1100, a bill that prohibits Oklahomans from changing the sex marker on their birth certificates from ‘F’ or ‘M’ to the gender-neutral ‘X.’ The bill was proposed after a court ruling allowed a person born in Oklahoma to add the X marker to their birth certificate in October 2021, prompting Gov. Kevin Stitt to issue an executive order last November blocking the state’s health department from issuing any more X marker birth certificates and calling on the legislature to introduce a bill that would ban nonbinary designations.

Wednesday’s committee passage sends the bill to the House floor for a full vote. If it passes, Gov. Kevin Stitt has pledged to sign it into law.

Quote from Mary Emily O’Hara, Rapid Response Manager of GLAAD:

“With the State Department making the X marker available on passports and the TSA taking important steps to ease travel for the millions of Americans who are able to have an X marker on their driver’s licenses and state ID cards, Gov. Stitt’s move to ban nonbinary birth certificates is unnecessary and a step backwards. A law this unnecessary that conflicts this much with federal policy and state court rulings is clearly driven by one thing: anti-LGBTQ bias. The Oklahoma legislature should reject this backward ban and join the rest of the country in adapting to gender-neutral identity documents.”

Quote from Nicole McAfee, Executive Director of Freedom Oklahoma:

“We know that having accurate, consistent documents is critical for a whole host of reasons, and that is no less true for nonbinary, Two Spirit, and gender diverse people who were born in Oklahoma. If enacted, SB 1100 could do real harm to folks across the country as they face an arbitrary barrier with no remedy for birth certificate correction available to them. Nonbinary, Two Spirit, and gender diverse people have always been here. We deserve access to birth certificate corrections. And we deserve to be treated with dignity by our legislature.”

The birth certificate bill advancement comes on the heels of several restrictive Oklahoma laws being passed, including Tuesday’s near-total ban on abortions in the state and last week’s ban on participation in school sports for transgender children and teens. Gov. Stitt signed the school sports ban on March 30, and is expected to sign the abortion ban in the coming days.

Background on gender-neutral X markers on identity documents:

On March 31st, also known as Trans Day of Visibility, The U.S. State Department announced that passports with the gender-neutral ‘X’ marker would become available to all Americans in mid-April. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security announced updated screening to better accommodate transgender, nonbinary, and intersex travelers, including removing gender from the identity verification process and from body scanners at airports, adding the ‘X’ marker option to TSA Pre Check, and working with airlines to ensure smooth adoption and recognition of gender-neutral forms and processes.

21 U.S. states and Washington, DC, offer gender neutral options on official identification including driver’s licenses, as well as at least 15 countries around the world that offer passports with a third gender or gender-neutral option: Argentina, Austria, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, India and Nepal. The first known ‘X’ marker passport was introduced in Australia in 2003. In October 2021, military veteran and intersex advocate Dana Zzyym received the first-ever U.S. passport with a gender neutral ‘X’ marker, after a six year court battle with the Department of State.

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About Freedom Oklahoma: Freedom Oklahoma is the only 2SLGBTQ+ advocacy organization on the ground in Oklahoma. Through organizing, education, and community support, Freedom Oklahoma works in community to build a state where all 2SLGBTQ+ people have the safety to thrive. For more information, visit www.freedomoklahoma.org or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.