On Tuesday, America’s first non-binary Muslim lawmaker, Mauree Turner, was censured by the Oklahoma legislature and stripped of their assignments for allegedly harbouring a fugitive friend accused of attacking a state trooper during a transgender rights protest at the state capitol.
The fugitive, Austin Ross, is accused of throwing water at GOP lawmaker Rep. Bob Ed Culver after the passing of a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors.
Turner, who uses they/them pronouns, has been banned from committee assignments unless they issue a formal apology, including to the Highway Patrol officers who were allegedly assaulted by Ross.
However, Turner has refused to apologize, stating that they cannot apologize for loving the people of Oklahoma, especially when Republicans are working to strip away the rights of trans people.
During the protest, another protester, Savannah Mitchell, was arrested and taken into custody. Ross was able to escape the capitol complex due to a lack of manpower. However, he was later arrested in Ponca City, Oklahoma, for attempting to stop officers from arresting Mitchell.
The censure vote against Turner comes as Republicans in Oklahoma and throughout the U.S. continue to push for legislation that advocates for LGBTQ rights say is attempting to erase the legal existence of trans people and restrict the expression of people who are nonbinary, gender-fluid, or who perform in drag.
Recent efforts by the GOP-controlled Legislature in Oklahoma have sought to prohibit gender-affirming medical care for trans children and insurance coverage for gender-affirming care for people of all ages, leading to demonstrations at the capitol.
House Democratic Leader Rep. Cyndi Munson has called the censure vote against Turner “absolutely embarrassing,” and GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis have condemned the Oklahoma House for working to target people, including their own colleague.
However, Speaker of the House Charles McCall has stated that he will not allow members of the House to use their assigned offices and official positions to impede law enforcement from carrying out investigations or making arrests in the state capitol.