The bill would apply to students in pre-K through 12th grade at public and public charter schools in the state. Transgender students who decline to use the restroom required under the measure would have to use “a single-occupancy restroom or changing room” provided by the school.
School districts that fail to comply would have a portion of their state funding cut and could be sued by school parents.
The bill’s passage comes as conservative state lawmakers around the country have pushed more than 100 anti-trans bills this year, with a particular focus on transgender students. Oklahoma has been front-and-center in this effort, with Stitt having signed at least two bills restricting transgender rights this year alone.
Advocates have for years worked to combat bathroom bills like the one passed Thursday, blasting them as an unnecessary and harmful attack on a transgender student’s humanity.
“All this bill does is target transgender people for discrimination,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma wrote in a tweet. “All of us, including transgender people, care about safety and privacy in restrooms and locker rooms.”
Young transgender Americans make up a tiny fraction of kids in the US — the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated less than 2% of high school students identify as transgender. Health care professionals have said the types of bills Republicans are pushing are likely to further ostracize transgender kids, a group that already struggles with higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide.