Oklahoma Elects First Muslim, Nonbinary State Legislator

Oklahoma now has its first nonbinary, and Muslim lawmaker elected to the state’s legislature.

CNN reports, Democrat Mauree Turner, 27, defeated Republican Kelly Barlean,Tuesday night with 71% of the votes, becoming the first “nonbinary” state legislator in US history, according to the Oklahoma State Election Board unofficial results

Turner beat incumbent Rep. Jason Dunnington in the district’s Democratic primary election in June.

The National Center for Transgender Equality defines “non binary” as a gender understood as neither male nor female.

“Turner uses both the they/she as pronouns, according to Turner’s Twitter profile. On Turner’s campaign website, Turner uses she/her,” CNN reports.

“I have a lot of feelings about tonight,” said Turner in a Twitter post on Tuesday night. “But overall, I’m grateful for HD88 granting me this opportunity.” She posted the tweet with an image saying, “The real work begins. The future is now.”

According to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, a national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ people, there are currently four known genderqueer or nonbinary-identified elected officials serving in the US and five public LGBTQ elected officials in Oklahoma. Turner is the first nonbinary person to be named to a state legislature,” according to CNN reporting.

“Mauree is now a trailblazer for non-binary people and their courage to run openly will inspire more non-binary people to pursue careers in elected office,” said the president and CEO for LGBTQ Victory Fund, Annise Parker, in a statement.

Turner was born female, describes herself as an activist, community organizer and native Oklahoman, Turner fights for immigration rights, racial justice and criminal justice, according to her campaign news release.

Turner said, living as a “Black Muslim American Queer Womxn” in the state of Oklahoma, she experienced not being seen or heard by lawmakers. She aims to “drive conversations about what inclusive representation looks like,” according to Turner’s campaign site.

“It has never been a more important time for the next generation to see themselves in our government,” Turner said in a release announcing her campaign in February. “It has never been a more important time for those closest to our state’s problems to be structuring the solutions.”

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About Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith is a newcomer to Washington D.C. She met and married an American journalist and moved to D.C. from the U.K. She graduated with a B.A. in Graphics, Media, and Communications and worked in design and retail in the U.K.

Photo: Getty Images