With Dr. Lance Frye, middle, looking on, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt speaks to media about COVID-19 on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. (Tres Savage)

To the editors:

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt recently stood at his bully pulpit to diminish the worth of our nonbinary friends, invoking “Oklahoma values” as well as the name of God.

What caused this sanctimonious and ignorant rhetoric? An action by the Oklahoma State Department of Health whereby the agency reissued a birth certificate to reflect that person’s gender status as nonbinary. Wow. What possible effect could this affirming action have on the governor — or any other person for that matter? To disrespect and harm an already invisible and vulnerable segment of our beloved state is beneath the dignity of any one, especially an elected leader. This needless attack is despicable and can have a long-lasting negative impact on our LGBTQ+ community, especially the youth. Our nonbinary friends are a vital part of Oklahoma’s collage of humanity and do not deserve the governor’s mean and cruel attack.

As a person born and raised in this state, the Oklahoma values that have kept me here include the rich diversity of its people. The state is full of kind, educated people of all sorts who simply want to contribute to the health and well-being of all. I value living in a place where hate and discrimination have no home. The governor’s remarks reflected no Oklahoma values I want to be a part of.

As a person of faith, I have learned the focus of the ministry of Jesus was on minorities — “the least among us.” Nonbinary and transgender persons are among our most vulnerable. The governor’s remarks are totally in opposition to the ministry of Jesus.

As a mom of a person in the LGBTQ+ community and a long-time supporter of the advocacy organization PFLAG National and its Norman chapter, my heart hurts for the harm caused by the governor’s remarks. Perhaps we could arrange a Human Sexuality 101 — or Beyond the Binary — class for the governor. I think PFLAG could help educate him and ensure that Oklahoma becomes a state in which all people are affirmed, accepted and valued.

Now those are real Oklahoma values.

Kay Holladay

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