US’ only non-binary state lawmaker opens up about death threats as governor attacks trans rights

Oklahoma representative Mauree Turner gave an emotional call for unity after the state’s governor signed a trans sports ban into law.

Republican Kevin Stitt has made law a ban on trans women and girls competing on sports teams that align with their gender identity in public schools and higher education institutions.

It’s been widely condemned, including by ACLU of Oklahoma executive director Tamya Cox-Touré, who called it a violation of the US Constitution that serves only to promote “baseless fears about trans athletes”.

Mauree Turner, a member of the Oklahoma House of representatives and the first non-binary state lawmaker in US history, responded to the signing of the bill with a rousing speech to the community.

Turner explained how they’d heard of a colleague telling a student-led LGBT+ group that “he couldn’t stand against the bill because sometimes he gets death threats taking unpopular stances”.

“What that tells our students is that they do not have an advocate here,” Turner explained, adding that for them, “that’s a Monday morning in the office for me”.

“I wake up and there’s likely a death threat waiting on me,” they explained. “I risk my life every day for the people of House District 88 and Oklahoma because thats how much I care for you, and that’s also how much I see you care.

“I get to show up every day knowing that I have a community that supports me across Oklahoma and wants to see us make it through this together.”

Mauree Turner stressed the importance of community, something they said holds power.

“I cannot stress to you the importance of that and making sure that we stay here in this fight together,” they added.

“Because it’s hard – I know it is – but there is beauty and power and a whole community of people waiting on the other side to get to that.”

There are now 14 US states with laws restricting trans athletes. On the same day that Stitt signed the Oklahoma ban into law, Arizona governor Doug Ducey signed two bills targeting trans athletes and gender-affirming healthcare.