Mauree Turner Becomes Newest Senate Legislator in Oklahoma
If we want to talk about diversity and representation you can look to America's first non-binary state legislator, Mauree Turner. Mauree, 27, is black, Muslim and who identifies as non-binary is now putting non-binary individuals into the spotlight and showing the country "we exist." (Mauree uses the pronouns they/them and she/her.)
Even more impressive, Mauree was able to unseat republican in the state of Oklahoma after winning 70% of the vote. NBC also notes that she is thought to be the first Muslim lawmaker for Oklahoma.
"While I never wanted to be in politics in this aspect, community organizing is always about answering a call to action, and that's what my community was doing," Turner said.
Mauree Turner will be taking a focus on multiple platforms including prison reform. This will be an especially challenging task as Oklahoma has the largest incarceration rate in the country. Turners' grandfather and father were also imprisoned until her teenage years.
"Right now in Oklahoma, we've got mothers sitting in prison for 30-plus years because they wrote bad checks to be able to provide food for their families...My father and my grandfather were incarcerated up until I was 'round 12 or 13. That was all I knew growing up — going to see my dad or granddad in prison or jail...It was devastating for a lot of reasons for me on a personal level, and I think for Oklahoma's growth as a whole," Turner said.
"Honestly, I don't blame the people in how the vote ended up. What I blame is institutions that benefit from keeping Oklahomans incarcerated."
Of all places, who knew Oklahoma, and its small margin of LGBT representors, would open up to such big changes. We wish Mauree Turner the best of luck as she continues to make diversity the norm!