“Queer Muslim” Mauree Turner has become the first “non-binary” state lawmaker in U.S. history after winning election to the Oklahoma State House.
Turner, a Democrat, won election to district 88 in Oklahoma City. Ahead of the election, she 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.”
Turner, who uses they/she pronouns, said of her 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.”
Turner’s campaign was centred on criminal justice reform, and she is fighting to repair “an industrial prison complex that’s built on revenge and punishment rather than rehabilitation”.
Ahead of the vote, she said it would be “formative for young Muslim folks to see”.
Although Turner is a legislative newcomer, her civic experience includes serving as a board member for the Council on American-Islamic Relations and a leader in the American Civil Liberties Union’s “Campaign for Smart Justice,” a criminal justice reform effort.
Turner wrote on her campaign website that she would continue to focus on criminal justice reform if elected, and would also prioritise teacher pay rates and education funding, increasing the minimum wage, improving health care access and increasing “inclusivity.”