Three transgender Oklahomans are suing the state for refusing to allow them to update their birth certificates to accurately reflect their genders.
The federal lawsuit, filed by Lambda Legal, alleges that Oklahoma’s current policy surrounding birth certificates “intentionally discriminates on the basis of transgender status,” according to NBC-affiliate KPVI.
In November, Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) issued an executive order prohibiting Oklahomans from updating the gender on their birth certificates. He did so in response to a nonbinary person’s successful attempt to have their gender identity reflected on their birth certificate in the state.
“I believe that people are created by God to be male or female. Period,” Stitt said. “There is no such thing as non-binary sex and I wholeheartedly condemn the purported OSDH court settlement that was entered into by rogue activists who acted without receiving proper approval or oversight.”
Stitt’s order banned any ability to update one’s gender on their birth certificate and banned the existence of a nonbinary option.
As part of the order, Stitt also called on the state legislature to pass an explicit law banning nonbinary identities from being recognized on birth certificates. SB 1100 is now being considered to do just that.
The current lawsuit was filed by two transgender men and one transgender women who all recently had their requests to update their birth certificates denied by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
“Having a birth certificate that reflects who I am as a human being is crucial and can present a basic issue of safety for me,” said one of the plaintiffs, Rowan Fowler.
“The state’s denial of my existence is discriminatory and puts me in harm’s way. There was no reason for Oklahoma to take away this basic tool that transgender people need to simply go about their everyday lives with dignity, safety, and respect.”
Oklahoma’s LGBTQ community continues to be targeted this year. Earlier this month, the Oklahoma Senate Education Committee passed a bill to ban LGBTQ books (and books on LGBTQ-inclusive sex education).
The bill gives individual parents the power to demand the removal of any book from school shelves that they believe contains LGBTQ content. It would also entitle parents who have requested the removal of a book to seek damages in the amount of a minimum of $10,000 per day for each day the book remains on the shelves.