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Oklahoma lawmakers pass school 'bathroom bill'

Court Rules That Transgender Students Can Use The School Bathroom That Matches Their Gender Identity
Posted at 6:06 PM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 19:06:01-04

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma lawmakers passed a bill Thursday that essentially requires students to use the bathroom that aligns with their biological sex assigned at birth.

The "bathroom bill" passed 38-7 in the state Senate and 69-14 in the House.

The House initially passed the bill in late April after Democrats walked out of the chamber when lawmakers weren't allowed to debate an abortion bill.

The bill now heads to Gov. Kevin Stitt's desk to be signed into law.

Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director issued the following statement after the passage of Senate Bill 615:

“Oklahoma kids deserve the safety to envision a future for themselves. They deserve to know the adults in their lives will act with their best interests at heart, especially those charged with the power of policymaking. Instead, Oklahoma students, especially trans, Two Spirit, and gender diverse students, are yet again being bullied by our lawmakers. Trans identities are minimized to extremist talking points to move policy for the sake of cruelty. If this bill becomes law, there will be consequences measured in very real harm to the students whose safety this bill puts at risk. And we won’t forget those who allowed this harm to pass.

Today we heard repeatedly that this bill is intended to “protect” trans students. Let us be clear, not only does this policy make trans students unsafe, it creates a hostile, unsafe environment for all students. This policy requires trans students to be regularly outed at school, to possibly unsafe contacts, targeting their ability to continue using the bathroom as needed, relegating them to either separate facilities or creating scenarios where trans girls may be forced to use a bathroom with boys and trans boys forced to use a bathroom with girls. This bill creates possible scenarios where trans students are regularly outed in their communities, any time a parent or guardian in a district questions *if* a student is using the bathroom assigned to them by law, or alleges complaints of noncompliance with a school board or the State Board of Education.

There is no question this bill is unconstitutional. It is absolutely a violation of Title IX. We know it could very well create Title II violations at districts across the state. Ultimately, it will cost the state hundreds of millions in business dollars, unimaginable costs in litigation and attorney fees, further brain drain as educators, school administrators, and school counselors refuse to be complicit in this harm, and very likely the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in our state whose ability to imagine a future for themselves is erased by political grandstanding that furthers misinformation, fear, and hate about who they are.

Trans students cannot be targeted for their gender. They have every right to use the bathroom that is consistent with who they are. This bill would demand schools act in opposition to legal standards and best practices to keep students safe, all for policy that a cabinet member is moving to shift political pressure away from questioning his personal ethics.

To the trans, Two Spirit, and gender diverse kids who woke up or ended their day to find their legislature again attacking their identities: you deserve better than this. You deserve safety and celebration. You deserve to go to school and use the bathroom and learn and live here without incident, and without bullying by grown adults who are supposed to represent you. 2SLGBTQ+ people have always been here. We have used the bathrooms that correspond with our gender in schools, at the Capitol, and everywhere else, without causing harm and without incident. We deserve the dignity to do just that. We deserve the safety to thrive here in Oklahoma. This fight isn’t over, and we won’t stop until all 2SLGBTQ+ kids are safe."

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