OKLAHOMA CITY - For the second year in a row, on the day of a committee deadline, politicians pushed through a bill attacking transgender youth in sports.
HB4245, authored by Representative Toni Hasenbeck, is just one of many attempts to push trans youth out of public life this session here and across the country. Originally filed as the Oklahoma Schools Act, a committee amendment was filed at the last minute to strike the entire bill language and replace it with the same language of last year’s SB2, also known as the “Save Women's Sports Act”. The ACLU of Oklahoma and Freedom Oklahoma issued the following statements:
The following statement is attributable to Cindy Nguyen, Policy Director of the ACLU of Oklahoma:
“Trans people belong everywhere, including sports. They participate in sports for the same reasons other young people do: to challenge themselves, improve fitness, and be part of a team. Excluding trans youth from participation deprives them of opportunities available to their peers and sends the message they are not worthy of a full life. By imposing a ban on youth who are transgender from participating in athletics consistent with their gender identity, HB 4245 discriminates based on transgender status and sex in violation of the United States Constitution and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act. If the legislature really wants to protect women’s sports, they should start by addressing the real issues such as funding, resources, pay equity, and more. Promoting baseless fears about trans athletes does nothing to address those real problems.”
The following statement is attributable to Nicole McAfee, Executive Director of Freedom Oklahoma:
“The pervasive trend of attacking transgender people without ever naming them does not change the fact that at its core this bill harms transgender and Two Spirit kids in Oklahoma. HB 4245 is political grandstanding at the expense of the mental health and physical well-being of some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. Transgender kids join sports teams for the same reasons we all do–community, belonging, a chance to gain leadership skills and confidence. To rob them of that is nothing short of cruel. Taking opportunities away from transgender kids will do nothing to protect other kids in Oklahoma, but it will do irreparable harm to kids who only want to be treated with fairness and respect. Transgender and Two Spirit kids have always been here. They belong. In Oklahoma. In sports. And that means the legislature must urgently rebuke this bill.”
Cindy Nguyen: she/her
Nicole McAfee: they/she
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