Anxiety over the non-existent problem of transgender students posing a danger to other children in public school bathrooms and locker rooms has boiled over in Oklahoma.
The Republican-dominated legislature is one-upping North Carolina in considering a new hateful, discriminatory bill that aims to protect “religious” liberty, and that’s not all: another resolution just introduced calls for the impeachment of President Obama, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and others, for exceeding “his or her constitutional authority” in directing schools to accommodate trans students.
According to NewsOK, Senate Concurrent Resolution 43 urges Oklahoma’s two U.S. senators and five representatives in the House — all of them, Republican — to “file articles of impeachment against the President of the United States, the Attorney General of the United States, the Secretary of Education and any other federal official liable to impeachment who has exceeded his or her constitutional authority.”
And they’re just getting warmed up. The report says a companion measure, Senate Bill 1619, would require schools to provide “a religious accommodation based on the student’s sincerely held religious beliefs” if their public school allows transgender students access to the “restrooms, athletic changing facilities or showers that are designated for the exclusive use of that student’s sex.”
The bill doesn’t once use the word “transgender,” rather “the physical condition of being male or female, as identified at birth by that individual’s anatomy,” thereby reducing every student to the gender assigned at birth and disregarding any claim to a different gender identity.
It gets worse: individuals who request a religious accommodation won’t be satisfied with a single-occupancy restroom, changing facility or shower; lawmakers insist they be given exclusive access to the facilities matching their gender assigned at birth. The bill doesn’t spell out any alternatives for gender non-conforming students other than authorizing Oklahoma’s attorney general to file suit against a public school that doesn’t adhere to the proposed restrictive policy.
The language in this hastily introduced bill says it will take effect July 1, “being immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety,” and claiming this is “an emergency.”
In response, a group called Freedom Oklahoma, which lobbies for LGBTQ equal rights, called the bill “horrific.” Troy Stevenson, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma, is pleading with supporters to contact their representatives at the statehouse in Oklahoma City, warning them their state will face dire consequences if the bill becomes law.
“In North Carolina — where lawmakers rushed through nearly identical legislation — the state has lost billions in revenue, major companies like Paypal have left in droves and North Carolina’s reputation has been tarnished beyond repair,” said Stevenson.
But the bill’s author, State Rep. John Bennett, defended the measure as necessary in the wake of the Obama administration’s guidance to schools nationwide, to allow trans students to use bathrooms, showers and play on sports teams matching their gender identity. “This directive is biblically wrong, a violation of our state’s sovereignty and it is a serious public safety issue,” said Bennett. “We are going to do everything we can to protect our women and children,” he said, repeating the debunked myth that transgender individuals pose a danger simply by living their lives and using bathrooms appropriate for their gender expression.