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Gov. Stitt to consider transgender student bathroom ban

Oklahoma lawmakers advanced a measure barring transgender students from using the restroom corresponding with their gender identity.

Senate Bill 615 would prevent trans students in public schools from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender.

Instead, it would require them to use a single occupancy restroom if they are uncomfortable using the restroom corresponding to the sex they were assigned at birth.

Critics say the measure is exclusionary and harmful to trans students who may already feel isolated at school.

"Oklahoma kids deserve the safety to envision a future for themselves," Nicole McAfee, Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director said in a written statement. "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."

Republicans in both chambers overwhelmingly approved the bill Thursday by supermajority votes: 38-7 in the Senate and 69-14 in the House of Representatives.

The bill now moves to Gov. Kevin Stitt's desk.

Earlier this session Stitt signed a bill that precludes trans students from participating in girls' sports. His Secretary for Education, Ryan Walters, and the Attorney General he appointed, John O'Connor, have also championed banning trans students from using the restrooms corresponding to their gender identity.

Mental health support for LGBTQ+ individuals is available through the Trevor Project. Their hotline is 866-488-7386, and help is also available through thetrevorproject.org

Robby Korth grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma and Fayetteville, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Nebraska with a journalism degree.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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