Student-athletes competing on Oklahoma public school sports teams must now complete a “biological sex affidavit” to determine whether they are eligible.
The requirement comes after Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the “Save Women’s Sports Act” into law last March, which designates sports teams to be based on athletes’ biological sex assigned at birth. The requirement applies from kindergarten through college.
“When it comes to sports and athletics, girls should compete against girls. Boys should compete against boys,” Stitt said. “And let’s be very clear — that’s all this bill says.”
Erin Mason, executive director at the abortion and reproductive rights organization Reproaction, shared on Thursday an affidavit from Woodall Public School in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, on her social media page, which began making news headlines over the weekend.
“Do you understand what is happening? This has nothing to do with encouraging girls to be athletes,” Woodall said. “This is totalitarianism. It is the white nationalist agenda. The anti-LGBTQ agenda. The anti-abortion agenda. It is all the same agenda.”
“This is real. Shared with permission,” Woodall added.
Ginger Knight, superintendent at Woodall Public Schools, confirmed via email to NBC News that state law requires districts to have students complete the form if they want to participate in athletics.
Do you understand what is happening?
This has nothing to do with encouraging girls to be athletes.
This is totalitarianism. It is the white nationalist agenda. The anti-LGBTQ agenda. The anti-abortion agenda. It is all the same agenda.
This is real. Shared with permission. pic.twitter.com/CGZ1SN5jr2
— Erin Matson (@erintothemax) July 28, 2022
Oklahoma has become the first state to require an affidavit proving the student-athletes biological sex. Those under 18 can have their parent or guardian sign the document. Once the student turns 18 years old, they must sign the affidavit themselves. Student-athletes must sign an affidavit before each school year.
Other Oklahoma public schools have begun creating similar forms for students looking to participate in sports.
“We’re going to have to do this — we’re going to abide by the law,” Pat Dodson, superintendent of Grove Public Schools, told KOAM News Now. “But I do think it’s just a little bit too much, and it’s an overreach on behalf of our legislators.”
Last year the Department of Education issued guidance saying it would interpret Title IX, which protects students in federally funded schools from sex-based discrimination, to include discrimination based on ‘gender identity’ and sexual orientation rather than strictly biological markers of sex.
Nina Short, a co-founder of Four-States Youth For Equality, told KOAM News Now that the bill defies federal law.
“Not only are they not accepted and safe at home, but they go to school, and they’re not safe or accepted there,” Short said. “And that just further shows that they’re not accepted that they are discriminated against.”
“Title IX was put in place, and it does not allow sexual discrimination of any kind,” she added.
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona told ESPN he believes in local and state control.
However, the department has “a responsibility to protect the civil rights of students, and if we feel the civil rights are being violated, we will act.”
Cardona also said girls competing in high school sports have 1.3 million fewer opportunities than boys.
“And we know at the college level — it’s probably similar,” Cardona said.
State Senator Julie Daniels (R-OK) said during the signing of the “Save Women’s Sports Act” earlier this year that five decades of Title IX would quickly become undone if sports teams allow “just a few biological males” to win awards designed for women.
Oklahoma joined 18 other states that have passed legislation banning transgender athletes from competing in sports based.