Mauree Turner Becomes First Non-Binary State Lawmaker In US History
Mauree Turner has become the first non-binary state lawmaker in the history of the US, having now been elected to the Oklahoma state House.
27-year-old Turner – who goes by the pronouns They/She – won the state House election in Oklahoma’s 88th district. They are also the first Muslim person to be elected to the state’s legislature.
The Democratic community organiser won against Republican candidate Kelly Barlean with a projected 71% of the vote, with a campaign focused on issues such as justice reform, public education, wages and integrated healthcare.
Speaking with The Huffington Post prior to their victory, Turner said:
I’m Black, Muslim, femme, queer, born and raised in Oklahoma — politics was the last thing in my crosshairs.
Turner explained that they were running for office as they felt Oklahoma residents with their ‘shared lived experience’ were not being represented.
Turner reportedly grew up in a single parent household due to their father being incarcerated for years, and ‘had to live off SNAP benefits’ during their childhood. Their mother worked up to three jobs, and the family had struggled to keep afloat.
Before pursuing their political campaign, Turner worked as a field director for the Campaign for Smart Justice, a criminal justice reform project ran by the American Civil Liberties Union.
As per Pink News, Turner said they had ‘never expected this when we started out’:
Before this election, I only cried when I talked about my family and how much they mean to me. Now I cry when I talk about the Little family, the Jovanna’s, the Community food-based systems, the Activist, the Organizers.
I can’t help but cry when I talk about House District 88 all that it holds and all that we are getting ready to do. And it’s really easy to talk about all that we’re getting ready to do because we’ve been doing it.
I have a lot of feelings about tonight. But overall, I’m grateful for HD88 granting me this opportunity.
Annise Parker, President and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, released the following statement about Turner’s victory:
Of all the states to achieve a milestone political moment for non-binary people, few would have thought it would be Oklahoma, where there are so few LGBTQ elected officials.
But Mauree ran a tireless campaign focused on the issues that matter to their district while also being authentic and open about who they are. Mauree is now a trailblazer for non-binary people and their courage to run openly will inspire more non-binary people to pursue careers in elected office.
As per the Victory Fund’s Out on the Trail report, 2020 saw a historic number of genderqueer and non-binary individuals running for political office in 2020, with 17 running campaigns this year compared with just four back in 2018. This shows a huge increase of 325%.
Many congratulations to Mauree Turner on their historic win!
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open 8pm–midnight Mondays and Fridays and is run by trans volunteers.