Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt recently signed a bill prohibiting nonbinary identification on government-issued documents, just months after ordering the state’s health department to stop issuing birth certificates with a nonbinary option, making his state the first in the country to do so explicitly. The restriction has raised concerns about conflicts between state and federal paperwork due to the federal government beginning to permit citizens to identify as nonbinary on passport applications.
The legislation states that “the biological sex designation on a certificate of birth issued under this section shall be either male or female and shall not be nonbinary or any symbol representing a nonbinary designation.”
While several states currently limit gender designations to male or female, Oklahoma is the first to pass legislation overtly prohibiting nonbinary birth certificates. In October 2021, the state issued its first nonbinary birth certificate, setting up a battle with Republican lawmakers. Since then, the Republican governor has stated that he will take “whatever steps is necessary” to discontinue the practice of providing gender-neutral identification documents.
Stitt said, “I believe that people are created by God to be male or female. Period. There is no such thing as nonbinary sex, and I wholeheartedly condemn the purported [Oklahoma State Department of Health] court settlement that was entered into by rogue activists who acted without receiving proper approval or oversight.”
According to the Movement Advancement Project, sixteen states, plus Washington, D.C., now allow residents to identify as male, female, or the gender-neutral “X” on birth certificates. Advocates claim that Gender-neutral identification is vital for LGBTQ people to avoid harassment and discrimination.