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Oklahoma's transgender sports ban poised to become law

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Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced he will sign a ban on transgender student athletes competing in girls and women’s sports Wednesday morning.

The move comes after the state senate resurrected and passed Senate Bill 2 from the previous year, last week.

The so-called Save Women’s Sports Act precludes transgender student athletes from competing in women’s sports.

Stitt said he would host a ceremonial signing event with female lawmakers and student athletes Wednesday morning “to celebrate the protection of women’s sports in Oklahoma.”

Opponents say Senate Bill 2 is unecessarly divisive and will harm LGBTQ students, preventing them from playing with their peers.

During debate, Bartlesville Senator Julie Daniels said it will protect competition among female student athletes.

“Women are women and they have the right to compete against other women, and have the same opportunities as men to advance in the athletic endeavors that they are good at,” she said.

House Republicans signaled they approved of the ideas in their old bill last session, passing another similar measure Wednesday in House Bill 4245.

But Democrats adamantly disagreed. Oklahoma City’s Julia Kirt said the measure would hurt transgender children by preventing them from playing with their peers. She says passing it erases their identity as transgender people.

“Transgender people are people first and foremost and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” Kirt said.

Similar measures have become law across GOP-controlled states this year. However, GOP governors in Utah and Indiana have recently vetoed virtually identical bills. The Republican legislature in Utah, did override the governor’s veto, though.

Robby Korth joined KOSU as its news director in November 2022.
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