© 2024 KGOU
Photo of Lake Murray State Park showing Tucker Tower and the marina in the background
News and Music for Oklahoma
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Oklahoma Executive Order enacts 'Women's Bill of Rights,' critics call it 'transmisogyny'

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (left) and former college swimmer Riley Gaines are seated for an interview with Fox News on the same day Stitt signed a "Women's Bill of Rights" Executive Order.
Office of Governor Kevin Stitt
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (left) and former college swimmer Riley Gaines are seated for an interview with Fox News on the same day Stitt signed a "Women's Bill of Rights" Executive Order.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt is the first governor in the country to issue an executive order defining people by their biological sex at birth as either “male” or “female.”

In a ceremonial signing on Tuesday, Stitt signed an executive order to adopt a so-called “Women’s Bill of Rights” that was based on model legislation developed byIndependent Women’s Voice, a conservative advocacy group. Two bills containing similar language were introduced during the legislative session, but neither passed.

Theorder defines people by their biological sex at birth — male or female — and defines biological sex as being equal to one’s reproductive system. Stitt says it also seeks to ensure women’s spaces are only accessible to biological females.

“No men are going to go into women’s prisons in the state of Oklahoma,” Stitt said. “No men in women’s domestic shelters. No men in women’s locker rooms. No men in women’s bathrooms. No men in women’s sports.”

In a press release,Freedom Oklahoma, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group, said the order will not protect women but instead create civil rights violations and subject both cisgender and transgender women to increased scrutiny and harassment.

“This Executive Order is neither about rights, nor is it about protecting women,” said Nicole McAfee, Executive Director of Freedom Oklahoma. “It is a thinly veiled attack on codifying discrimination against transgender women.”

McAfee characterized the order signing ceremony as “a blatant celebration of transmisogyny from the Governor’s office.”

The ceremony featured a number of women who threw their support behind it, including former college swimmer Riley Gaines.

A former All-American, Gaines competed against trans swimmer Lia Thomas and has become an outspoken opponent of transgender women and girls competing in women’s sports – makingfrequent appearances on Fox News.

Stitt said his office is prepared to defend the order from potential litigation.

“You'll always have some crazy groups that come in and try to sue on common sense legislation or executive orders,” Stitt said. “So we'll be prepared for it.”

KGOU is a community-supported news organization and relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online, or by contacting our Membership department.

Hannah France started her work in public radio at KBIA while studying journalism at the University of Missouri. While there, she helped develop and produce a weekly community call-in show, for which she and her colleagues won a Gracie Award. Hannah takes interest in a wide variety of news topics, which serves her well as a reporter and producer for KGOU.
Robby grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma and Fayetteville, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Nebraska with a Journalism degree. Robby has reported for several newspapers, including The Roanoke Times in southwest Virginia. He reported for StateImpact Oklahoma from 2019 through 2022, focusing on education.
Oklahoma Public Media Exchange
More News
Support nonprofit, public service journalism you trust. Give now.