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Mauree Turner becomes first non-binary state lawmaker in US history

Nick Duffy November 4, 2020
Mauree Turner, a Black queer Muslim state House candidate in Oklahoma

Mauree Turner, a Black queer Muslim state House candidate in Oklahoma. (Mauree for House District 88)

Mauree Turner has become the first non-binary state lawmaker in US history, after winning election to the Oklahoma state House.

Turner, a Democratic community organiser and queer Muslim, won election to district 88 in Oklahoma City, winning out over Republican Kelly Barlean with a projected 71 percent of the vote.

Mauree Turner becomes first non-binary state lawmaker

Ahead of the election, they told HuffPost: ““I’m Black, Muslim, femme, queer, born and raised in Oklahoma — politics was the last thing in my crosshairs.

“Oklahomans have representation that doesn’t have our shared lived experience — that hasn’t been in a family that had to live off SNAP benefits, [or] a single-parent household because one parent was incarcerated.

“That was my upbringing, and it’s not a unique one.”

Mauree Turner, a Black queer Muslim state House candidate in Oklahoma
Mauree Turner, a Black queer Muslim state House candidate in Oklahoma. (MaureeTurnerOK/ Twitter)

Turner, who uses they/she pronouns, said of their win: “Y’all I can honestly say I 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.”

‘Milestone political moment’ for non-binary people

Annise Parker of LGBTQ Victory Fund said: “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.”.

Turner’s campaign was centred on criminal justice reform, and the candidate is fighting to repair “an industrial prison complex that’s built on revenge and punishment rather than rehabilitation”.

Ahead of the vote, they said it would be “formative for young Muslim folks to see”.

More: Mauree Turner, non-binary

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