Oklahoma governor signs executive order strictly defining ‘male’ and ‘female’, other terms News
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Oklahoma governor signs executive order strictly defining ‘male’ and ‘female’, other terms

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed an executive order on Tuesday amending the definitions of the words “male” and “female”, along with other related words, in the state’s administrative rules and decisions. LGBTQ+ individuals and organizations condemned the move as a targeted attack on transgender people’s rights within the state.

Specifically, the order defines “male” as a person “whose biological reproductive system is designed to fertilize the ova of a female,” while a “female” is a person “whose biological reproductive system is designed to produce ova.” Additionally, the definitions of “man”, “boy”, “woman” and “girl” now must correspond with the definitions of “male” and “female”, respectively. The order also defines a “mother” as the female parent and a “father” as the male parent of a child.

The order also states any state agency which collects statistics, including public schools, much identify each individual as either male or female following its definitions. Finally, the executive order suggests there to be separate-sex facilities, ordering prisons to have separate male and female sections and public schools to have separate boy and girl bathrooms and locker rooms.

Stitt’s Tuesday executive order mirrors a bill that advanced in the Alabama legislature in May, which outlined identical definitions for words like male, female, man and woman.

In a press release, the governor’s office described the executive order as the “first to boldly stand with women… protecting women-only spaces.” However, LGBTQ+ advocacy group Freedom Oklahoma described the order as a “thinly veiled attack on codifying discrimination against transgender women.” Executive Director of Freedom Oklahoma Nicole McAfee stated, “This bill does not protect women, but instead opens the door for further civil rights violations that open all women to being harassed and targeted as they have their femininity assessed and judged by a public who feels increased permission to police gender.”

Showcasing a continued attack on transgender rights in the US, a federal court in July upheld a ban on gender-affirming care for minors in Tennessee. On the other hand, some states like Illinois recently strengthened their LGBTQ+ protections.