Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, left, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters, right.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation today (Saturday, Feb. 24) released the following information regarding the anti-LGBTQ actions, laws and policies by Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters:

“In the months and years leading to the bullying and assault on Nex Benedict, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed into law legislation that bans best-practice, life-saving medical care for transgender youth, bans trans youth from using the school bathroom aligned with their gender, and bans trans youth from playing sports at school with their friends.

“Gov. Stitt’s record of anti-LGBTQ legislation, policy and rhetoric is documented here.

“Gov. Stitt appointed, then removed, Ryan Walters as his education secretary. Walters remains state superintendent of public instruction, where he has repeatedly used his position to target LGBTQ youth, spread fear and disinformation about them, ban inclusive books, and use taxpayer funds to support his appearances on extremist media.

“Gov. Stitt’s actions include:

  • Signed law restricting access to public-school bathrooms aligned with gender identity

  • Signed law banning health care for transgender people under 18. Every major medical association and leading world health authority supports health care for transgender youth.

  • Signed a law that bans transgender girls and women from school sports. Oklahoma public schools also now require all students from kindergarten to college to complete “biological sex affidavits” to be eligible, an invasive, unnecessary, and costly barrier to every female student.

  • Signed a bill that would prohibit Oklahomans from obtaining nonbinary gender markers on official documents

“Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters’ anti-LGBTQ record is documented here.

“Superintendent Walters’ record includes:

  • Released inaccurate and inflammatory video falsely describing transgender students as a threat in school bathrooms. Transgender students are three times more likely to miss school than other students, are more likely to report feeling unsafe at school and being bullied, and face a higher risk of sexual assault in locker rooms and bathrooms that don’t match gender identity

  • Led the Oklahoma State Board of Education in approving a permanent rule change that prohibits school districts and local schools from altering sex or gender designations in student records without the board’s authorization and regardless of the will of the student or the consent of the student’s guardians. A lawsuit is pending in federal court.

  • Advocates for book bans, including at this week’s board hearing, falsely describing LGBTQ-inclusive books as “pornographic” and that they “push transgenderism,” a term frequently weaponized to diminish or eliminate transgender identity and the existence of transgender people throughout history.

  • Appointed Chaya Raichik, the founder of anti-LGBTQ social media account Libs of TikTok, to a Library Media Advisory Committee at the Oklahoma State Department of Education. The account posts disinformation about LGBTQ people and allies, and some posts have reportedly preceded dozens of bomb threats to schools in Oklahoma as well as libraries and children’s hospitals nationwide. Raichick is not an educator, is not an Oklahoma resident, and does not have children in Oklahoma schools.

  • Had Oklahoma taxpayers fund travel expenses for speaking engagements and media appearances with anti-LGBTQ groups Moms for Liberty and Heritage Foundation, as well as a premiere for an anti-abortion horror movie, meetings with bookers from Fox News in Washington, DC, and for media appearances on talk shows affiliated with the conspiracy-fueled Epoch Times. State law prohibits expensing out of state travel.

“Additional background

  • ACLU is tracking 54 anti-LGBTQ bills in Oklahoma, leading the nation for proposals targeting LGBTQ people this legislative session

  • The FBI reported that from 2018 to 2022, the number of hate crimes in schools nearly doubled. Research from GLAAD and the Center on Extremism counted 700+ anti-LGBTQ incidents of extremism including violence, assaults, murders, or vandalism last year.”