Story at a glance
- Student athletes in Oklahoma are now required to complete a “biological sex affidavit” to verify their sex assigned at birth.
- The document will be used by schools to enforce a state law passed in March that prevents transgender athletes from competing on sports teams that match their gender identity.
- Transgender athlete bans in two other states may require a student’s health care provider to sign a similar document verifying the student’s sex assigned at birth.
Student athletes at Oklahoma public schools are now required to complete “biological sex affidavits” to determine whether they are eligible to participate in athletics as school districts begin enforcing a state law passed earlier this year intended to bar transgender women and girls from playing on school sports teams consistent with their gender identity.
In March, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed into law the state’s “Save Women’s Sports Act,” which requires sports teams through college to be designated based on athletes’ “biological sex,” or sex assigned at birth.
“When it comes to sports and athletics, girls should compete against girls. Boys should compete against boys,” Stitt said during a signing ceremony. “And let’s be very clear: That’s all this bill says.”
The passage of the Oklahoma bill was immediately condemned by civil rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which said the law promotes “baseless fears” about transgender athletes and sends a “clear message” to transgender youth in the state that they are not welcome or accepted.
In early July, the CBS-affiliate KOAM-TV in Kansas, which neighbors Oklahoma, reported that some school districts were beginning to distribute “biological sex affidavits” to student athletes to enforce the law.
News of the affidavits made national headlines after a photo of one of the documents was added to the athletic policy of Woodall Public Schools in eastern Oklahoma and shared on Twitter by Erin Matson, executive director Reproaction, an abortion rights group.
“This has nothing to do with encouraging girls to be athletes,” Matson wrote. “This is totalitarianism. It is the white nationalist agenda. The anti-LGBTQ agenda. The anti-abortion agenda. It is all the same agenda.”
According to the measure, first introduced in 2020 as a bill to regulate school finances, a student’s parent or legal guardian is required to sign an affidavit acknowledging their child’s sex assigned at birth prior to the beginning of each school year.
Student athletes age 18 or older are required to sign the affidavit themselves, according to the law, which also states that “any change in the status of the biological sex of the student” should be reported to the school within 30 days.
Two other states — Kentucky and Idaho — have passed transgender athlete bans that may require a student’s health care provider to complete a similar affidavit verifying the student’s sex assigned at birth.
This year alone, 10 states have enacted legislation that would prevent transgender athletes from competing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity. Nineteen states since 2020 have passed similar measures.