Mauree Turner to be 1st non-binary lawmaker in US, 1st Muslim legislator in Oklahoma

Mauree Turner beat out Republican Kelly Barlean

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As the world waits for the results from the 2020 Presidential election, in Oklahoma, Mauree Turner has already made history as the first Muslim person elected to the state’s legislature.

The 27-year-old political newcomer, who won her election for state House in Oklahoma’s 88th district, also has the distinction of becoming the first non-binary lawmaker in the country and goes by the pronouns she/her. What makes this feat even more impressive is that she beat out Republican Kelly Barlean for the seat in a heavily Republican state.

Mauree Turner
(Credit: Mauree Turner)

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“I have a lot of feelings about tonight,” she tweeted to her followers Tuesday evening. “But overall, I’m grateful for HD88 granting me this opportunity. I hate SQ805 & so many other things slipped through our fingers… But I’m ready to fight hard as hell so they never do again. Nothing About Us Without Us Let’s go get ’em 88”

Last month during an interview with Huff Post, Turner explained she was running because the people of Oklahoma related with her “shared lived experience” as someone who was raised in “a single-parent household because one parent was incarcerated” and ”had to live off SNAP benefits” needed to be represented.

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“That was my upbringing, and it’s not a unique one,” said the Black and queer community organizer.

Turner, who wears a hijab, grew up in a multi-faith household with a mother who is Baptist and an Islamic faith who converted in prison. Previously, she was a field director for the American Civil Liberties Union’s criminal justice reform project, Campaign for Smart Justice.   

She announced her candidacy in February, saying “it has never been a more important time for those closest to our state’s problems to be structuring the solutions.” 

As the state’s first Muslim lawmaker, Turner says she believes that it would be “formative for young Muslim folks to see” her elected. 

“We are no longer fighting for a seat at the table,” she declared. “We’re creating a whole new table where everybody eats.”

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