Mauree Turner, 27, is the first non-binary lawmaker in US history after they won an election for the state house in Oklahoma’s 88th District which covers Oklahoma City. Turner, who is also the first Muslim lawmaker in the state, won against Republican candidate, Kelly Barlean, with over 70% of the vote. Their campaign was focused on reformation of the prison system which they argued is “built on revenge and punishment rather than rehabilitation”.
Prior to the election, Turner told HuffPost: “I’m Black, Muslim, femme, queer, born and raised in Oklahoma — politics was the last thing in my crosshairs.” Many are celebrating their win and its implications for LGBTQ+ and non-binary rights. 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. 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 victory comes in a record-breaking year for LGBTQ+ candidates in the US. Sarah McBride, the new senator for Delaware, has made history as the first out trans legislator in federal office and the highest ranking trans politician in the US. Mondaire Jones of New York’s 17th District and Ritchie Torres of the Bronx also became the first out LGBTQ+ people of colour elected to Congress.