“This bill is the Save Women’s Sports Act,” Stitt said. “To us in Oklahoma, it is just common sense.”
Oklahoma Governor signs transgender sports ban, hours later similar bills are signed in Arizona
Republican Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law on Wednesday (30 March), one day before International Day of Transgender Visibility, banning trans girls and women from playing on female sports teams.
Just hours later, Arizona governor Doug Ducey signed a similar anti-trans sports bill into law.
The signing of Senate Bill 2 cemented the state of Oklahoma as the 13th nationwide to enact such a measure.
Imitating the same display as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a fellow Republican, just days earlier when he signed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill into Florida law, Stitt hosted a staged ceremony, surrounded by children, female athletes and lawmakers.
“When it comes to sports and athletics: Girls should compete against girls. Boys should compete against boys,” Stitt said. ”Let’s be very clear — that’s all this bill says.”
The ‘Save Women’s Sports Act’ will require parents to sign an affidavit stating the sex assigned at birth to their child as a prerequisite to participating in school sports.
The law also allows the families of cisgender student-athletes to sue school districts if they are forced to compete against all girls instead of just cisgender girls.
Outside Governor Stitt’s office, Oklahoma City resident and trans activist Cara Kleber, 26, held a sign that said “How does it feel bullying kids needing support?”
Klever, who is transgender and identifies as queer, said that bill tells transgender girls they are not welcome in the community, which will lead to higher rates of suicide and death.
“I don’t want to see trans kids suffer any more as I suffered,” she said. “I am here to make sure they know that I am here.”
“They’re not going to keep trans kids from playing sports, having fun or living their lives,” Kleber told the AP.
“What they are going to do with this bill is tell them they’re not invited in spaces and amongst everyone else, that they’re not equal, that they’re not loved, that they’re not cared for.”
The signing comes shortly after it was revealed that the annual number of anti-LGBTQ bills to have been filed in the US catapulted from 41 throughout the whole of 2018 to 238 in less than three months of 2022.
That amounts to more than 3 per day, with approximately over half of them targeting transgender people specifically.
Tamya Cox-Toure, ACLU of Oklahoma executive director, said the signing of the bill sends a message to transgender youths that they are not accepted or unwelcome:
“Ultimately, SB 2 violates the United States Constitution and federal civil rights law, puts Oklahoma at risk of losing federal funding and harms transgender youth, all to solve a problem that does not exist,” Cox said.
This year, prior to Oklahoma, lawmakers in South Dakota, Iowa and Utah enacted trans athlete bills.
The law took effect immediately upon Stitt’s signing.
#BREAKING Governor Stitt joined by student female athletes from Oklahoma, in signing SB 2 or the Save Women’s Sports Act. This bill bans transgender female students from playing on sports teams designated for women. @OKCFOX pic.twitter.com/zMxOjyFN4i
— Katie Arata (@KatieArata) March 30, 2022
Just hours later, on the same day, Arizona governor Doug Ducey signed an anti-trans sports ban into law.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed bills into law on 30 March that banned abortion after 15 weeks, outlawed gender affirmation surgery for anyone under the age of 18 and put limits on sports participation for transgender girls.
Ducey is a vocal abortion opponent who has signed every piece of anti-abortion legislation that has reached his desk since he took office in 2015.
Similarly to Oklahoma’s bill, Arizona’s Senate Bill 1165 bans trans girls and women from playing sports aligning with their gender identity in public K-12 schools and higher education institutions in the state.
A further signing, Senate Bill 1138, prohibits healthcare officials from providing “irreversible” gender-affirming surgeries to any individual who is under the age of 18.
Ducey said following the signing: ‘The reason is simple, and common sense – this is a decision that will dramatically affect the rest of an individual’s life, including the ability of that individual to become a biological parent later in life.’
Arizona therefore becomes the 14th state nationwide to enact such measures.
Ducey also signed legislation that would require all Arizonans to provide proof of citizenship and residency to register to vote, sparking criticism from voting rights advocates who say it will potentially cancel thousands of voter registrations.