Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, shown here during his 2021 State of the State Address, on Wednesday signed into law a bill that prevents transgender girls and women from competing on female sports teams.
A similar bill failed to advance last year in the Legislature. Several supporters of the measure said they were convinced to vote for it after University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, a trans woman, won a title at the national NCAA Women’s Division I championship in early March. (Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch)

Gov. Kevin Stitt on Wednesday signed Senate Bill 2 — legislation that bans transgender athletes from girls’ sports teams. Proponents of the legislation, which mirrors other states’, say it’s necessary to protect fair competition.

“When it comes to sports and athletics, girls should compete against girls. Boys should compete against boys,” Stitt said during a bill signing ceremony.

Stitt told The Oklahoman that he wasn’t aware of any current transgender athletes in the state, and hadn’t spoken with any transgender people while considering the bill. (Here’s the Oklahoman’s story on the bill being signed, and another on the worries of families raising transgender kids.)

Opponents say the legislation is harmful to trans youth. Rep. Mauree Turner, D-Oklahoma City, in a thread on Twitter Wednesday, wrote: “What this series of harmful legislation shows us is that not only can these legislators not take care of communities, the only thing they can do is capitalize on a fabricated fear. We know the hard work, the hard work is learning how to take care of an intersectional community.”

An alarming 40% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered suicide, and more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth seriously considered suicide, according to a national survey in 2020 by The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth.

Utah’s governor vetoed a bill in that state based, in part, on the research regarding suicide among trans kids, though the Legislature overrode his veto. “I don’t understand what they are going through or why they feel the way they do. But I want them to live,” Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said.

Thoughts? Reach out via email or DM.

— Jennifer Palmer

What I’m Reading

  • Records show Ryan Walters, a candidate for state superintendent, failed to report campaign expenditures. [The Frontier]
  • Bills addressing Oklahoma’s teacher shortage and school budgets advance in the Senate. [Southwest Ledger]
  • A significant portion of teachers work a second job to supplement their income. ‘Teacher moonlighting is like some dirty little secret that we all know about…’ [Mother Jones]

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