Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt on Tuesday signed into law an Executive Order defining “sex” in state law as a person’s sex at birth.
The Order, dubbed the Women’s Bill of Rights, will bar biological males from using women’s restrooms, shelters and locker rooms, as well as prohibits the state from sending male convicts to women’s prisons.
“We are making sure that women’s spaces are safe for women,” Stitt said in a press conference. “No men are going into women’s prisons in the state of Oklahoma. No men in women’s domestic shelters in the state of Oklahoma. No men in women’s locker rooms. No men in women’s bathrooms,” the Republican added.
Stitt is reportedly the first Governor in the country to put such a law in place via Executive Order. Kansas, Montana, and Tennessee have passed similar bills through their state legislatures.
The Independent Women’s Voice helped craft two bills (SB 408 and HB 1449) that were introduced in Oklahoma’s 2023 legislative session, but neither of them made it to the governor’s desk.
“Oklahomans are fed up with attempts to confuse the word woman and turn it into some kind of ambiguous prevented definition that harms our real women,” the governor said.
“Today, we’re taking a stand against this out-of-control gender ideology that is eroding the very foundation of our society,” he declared. “We are going to be safeguarding the very essence of what it means to be a woman.”
Freedom Oklahoma, a non-profit LGBTQ+ advocacy group, slammed the Executive Order as “a thinly veiled attack on codifying discrimination against transgender women.”
“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. We know that this Executive Order, like the legislation we saw from this same organization this session, is not rooted in what is best for women or even clarity within the law, rather it is a blatant celebration of transmisogyny from the Governor’s office.” said Nicole McAfee, Executive Director of Freedom Oklahoma.
Stitt held a ceremonial signing with members from the Independent Women’s Voice, including former competitive swimmer Riley Gaines, now an advisor for the group. After watching “trans” swimmer Lia Thomas dominate her sport after recently competing as a male, and flaunt his male anatomy in the women locker room, Gaines has made the incursion biological males into women’s spaces her signature issue.
Gov. Kevin Stitt (R-OK), surrounded by activists, signs the “Women’s Bill of Rights,” which defines all references to women in the state explicitly as individuals declared female at birth. pic.twitter.com/vdizNRNMmo
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The Women’s Bill of Rights is not the first controversial stance Gov. Stitt has embraced.
In April of 2021, the governor approved of a bill to increase the penalties for blocking roadways and granting immunity to motorists who kill or injure protesters on the road. And last May, he vetoed a bill providing funding for the state’s PBS station, arguing that publicly funded television is “outdated” and shouldn’t be pushing gender ideology on vulnerable children.
Stitt called the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority’s (OETA) programming “really problematic” for its “indoctrination and over sexualization of our children.”