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Oklahoma Governor Issues Executive Order Defining Biological Sex

Posted on Monday, August 7, 2023
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by Outside Contributor
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Oklahoma
Kevin Stitt becomes the first U.S. governor to outline a definition for 'woman'

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt became the first U.S. governor to issue an executive order legally defining what constitutes biological male and female sex in a move to preserve women’s rights on Aug. 1.

“I am taking decisive executive action to ensure the true definition of the word ‘woman,’ meaning a biological woman, is what guides the state as we reaffirm our commitment to ensuring the safety, dignity, and sanctity of women across Oklahoma,” a press release from Mr. Stitt’s office read.

“As long as I am governor, we will continue to protect women and ensure women-only spaces are reserved solely for biological women.”

Representatives of LGBT support groups in Oklahoma decried the move, saying it would harm women’s rights, not protect them.

“We don’t feel that this legislation serves the totality of all Oklahomans,” Dorothy Ballard, executive director of Oklahomans for Equality, told The Epoch Times.

Mr. Stitt’s order contains language from two bills currently stalled in the Legislature.

SB 408, sponsored by state Sen. Jessica Garvin, has passed the Senate and is waiting to be sent to the Oklahoma House of Representatives. HB 1449, sponsored by state Rep. Toni Hasenbeck, has cleared the House.

Neither made it to the full Legislature before the end of the 2023 session.

They will likely be considered during the 2024 legislative session, Ms. Garvin told The Epoch Times. She said the Senate bill has bipartisan support and that she’s optimistic it will be signed into law.

“The [Senate] bill was drafted originally by bipartisan groups working with the Independent Women’s Forum,” Ms. Garvin said.

Mr. Stitt’s office didn’t respond to an email requesting comment.

Mr. Stitt’s order enacts language directly from the bills. The order defines a female as “a natural person … whose biological reproductive system is designed to produce ova.”

A male is defined as “a natural person … whose biological reproductive system is designed to fertilize the ova of a female.”

The order also defines mother, father, man, boy, woman, girl, sex, and natural person. The executive order requires all state agencies, including public schools, to use the listed definitions when determining an individual’s sex.

It also requires them to provide “governmental services in single-sex environments where biology, privacy, and personal dignity are implicated.”

“Prisons and other correctional facilities are directed to provide dedicated facilities for men and women respectively. Likewise, schools are directed to provide dedicated restrooms and locker room facilities for boys and girls, respectively,” the executive order reads.

Order Is Not Permanent

The executive order is in effect only during Mr. Stitt’s time in office. The only way for it to be permanent is to pass bills with the same content through the Legislature.

Ms. Garvin said the bills failed to reach the governor’s desk in time because the Legislature was dealing with education reform and other pressing matters.

“There’s still a need to do something legislatively. We just ran out of time. We are ready to push forward,” Ms. Garvin said.

The bills will likely reemerge when the next legislative session begins on Feb. 5, 2024.

According to Ms. Garvin, the legislation will restore rights that are being stripped from biological women.

“Biological women are being told to sit down, shut up, scoot over, put a smile on our face and just deal with it,” she said.

Riley Gaines, a 12-time All-American swimmer for the University of Kentucky and now a women’s rights activist, was on hand for the signing. She was quoted in Mr. Stitt’s press release lauding the order.

“Establishing common language by way of the Women’s Bill of Rights is a way of saying enough is enough: Oklahoman women deserve equal opportunity,” Ms. Gaines said.

Ms. Gaines took up the cause after being forced to compete against Lia Thomas, who identifies as a woman. Lia Thomas swam for the University of Pennsylvania men’s team as Will Thomas for three years before becoming the first openly transgender-identifying swimmer to win an NCAA women’s swimming title in 2022.

At the 2022 NCAA Women’s Swimming Championship, Ms. Gaines and Mr. Thomas reportedly tied for fifth place.

“Biological differences must be respected in the law to ensure female-only spaces have a future. It is sad that such basic truths must be spelled out to ensure equal protection,” Ms. Gaines is quoted as saying in the press release.

Women’s rights groups aren’t opposed to trans-identifying athletes competing in their own category or men’s races.

However, not everyone sees the executive order as a step forward.

Nicole McAfee is the executive director of Freedom Oklahoma. A statement on the Freedom Oklahoma website attributed to Ms. McAfee denounced the order as a policy that will “uphold sex-based discrimination in Oklahoma.”

“It is a thinly-veiled attack on codifying discrimination against transgender women,” the statement reads. “We know that this executive order, like the legislation … is not rooted in what is best for women or even clarity within the law, rather it is a blatant celebration of transmisogyny from the Governor’s office.”

She didn’t return a call seeking comment.

In the online statement, Ms. McAfee vows to stand up for LGBT people.

“While we won’t pretend to be surprised that the governor is engaging in yet another blatant attack on our community, we will continue to act with urgency towards the future where all 2SLGBTW+ people have the safety to thrive,” Ms. McAfee wrote.

Ms. Ballard said the legislation and executive order are based on “outdated” ideas about what women are. She said the proposed law pigeonholes women into categories that disregard those who identify as transgender women.

“I hope that moving forward, our governor and legislature would do better research into the science and impact of such laws on women,” she said.

Ms. Garvin denied that the bills were meant to target anyone. She reiterated that the purpose of the legislation is to protect the rights of biological women and girls.

“This policy was written by a bipartisan group of people who believe in protecting women and women’s rights,” she said. “I’m not going to go after particular groups of women for political purposes.”

Somerlyn Cothran is executive vice president of the Independent Women’s Forum and the Independent Women’s Voice. Her organization pushed for the legislation and the executive order when the bills stalled. She released a statement praising the order as essential to protect the rights of women and girls in Oklahoma.

“In Oklahoma, we protect women. Today, the definition of what a woman is is solidified for women-owned businesses like mine and for women entrepreneurs throughout the state. Without the governor’s order today, that distinction would soon cease to mean anything,” her statement reads.

Reprinted with Permission From The Epoch Times – By Michael Clements

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Lieutenant Beale
Lieutenant Beale
8 months ago

Do we need a goverment official to define what was once common sense knowledge for thousands of years?
To put it in the vernacular, look between your freakin’ legs, that is what you are.
And as an aside, xe, ze, xyse, ad nauseam, are not pronouns. They are nothing more than nonsense syllables.
Quit giving credence to this insanity.

anna hubert
anna hubert
8 months ago

I wonder if any moslem country has such problem or why we do not hear of any such from China This seems very strange that their gender would be intact and our is all over the place

Rik
Rik
8 months ago

It’s ALL just Common Sense but then again, many people still seem to lack having any! . . . Especially Democrats!

GMorgan
GMorgan
8 months ago

Male or Female . Anything else is B.S. and should be treated as such. If you can’t figure out what you are YOU have a problem! Not US, Y-O-U

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
8 months ago

Man. Woman. Period! Anything else is COSPLAY. I thought these ppl believed in “science”? As far as I know, the only animal in nature that can change their sex are certain species frogs and John Hammonds dinosaurs.

Ed J
Ed J
8 months ago

Those objecting to the Governor’s Executive Order are those folks who consistently take a regimen of Stupid pills instead of Vitamins.

SAW
SAW
8 months ago

Once the EO is passed, what will be the punishment for offenders? That is, if the Potty Police can catch them.
Will they also need lots and lots of single toilet facility rooms with deadbolts on the doors?
Cameras in the facilities?
It appears to me this is not much more than a grand gesture that will not stop anyone with bad intent in their mind…

Robin W Boyd
Robin W Boyd
7 months ago

It is a sad state of affairs when we have to have a government mandate to tell US what the difference is between a male and a female. There can be no women’s rights as long as biological males are allowed to legally compete in womens sports and expose themselves in womens showers and bathrooms.

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