Oklahoma delivered a setback to the nonbinary community this month by prohibiting a third gender option on birth certificates.
This ban is the first of its kind in the nation.
On April 12, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill that prohibits the use of nonbinary gender markers on state birth certificates, according to NBC News.
This law is in response to a lawsuit last year filed by Kit Lorelied against the State Department of Health when they initially refused to grant them a nonbinary option on their birth certificate. The department later allowed them, angering Republicans, including Stitt.
“People are free to believe whatever they want about their identity, but science has determined people are either biologically male or female at birth,” said Oklahoma Rep. Sheila Dills, the House sponsor of the bill, in a statement after the bill passed the House. “We want clarity and truth on official state documents. Information should be based on established medical facts and not an ever-changing social dialogue.”
Stitt issued an executive order prohibiting any changes to a person’s gender on birth certificates despite the settlement agreement, NBC News reported. Lambda Legal, a civil rights group, challenged the order but there’s been no response by the state yet.
Rep. Mauree Turner, the nation’s first non-binary legislator in the U.S., said it was painful to have colleagues attack those who are gender diverse, according to NBC News.
“I find it a very extreme and grotesque use of power 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.
Fifteen states and the District of Columbia allow a nonbinary gender marker, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality. The U.S. state department began allowing an “X” marker on passports in April.
This isn’t the first time Oklahoma’s governor has targeted the LGBT community. He signed a bill earlier this year that bans trans girls from playing on sports teams that align with their gender.