Meet Mauree Turner, an Okla. Muslim Person Who Is First Non-Binary Legislator in U.S. History

Virginia Chamlee
·2 min read

Qazi Islam/Mauree Turner For HD88 via AP

Oklahoma has elected its first Muslim lawmaker in history. Mauree Turner won her race for state House on Tuesday, making history both in the state and in the country, as she became the first nonbinary state legislator in U.S. history.

The 27-year-old Democrat defeated Republican Kelly Barlean with more than 71 percent of votes, according to results from the Oklahoma State Election Board. She will represent Oklahoma's 88th Congressional District when they enter the state House in January.

Turner, who identifies as nonbinary and uses both they/she as pronouns, received a slew of high-profile endorsements, including one from progressive lawmaker Ilhan Omar.

Omar is one of the first two Muslim women — along with Rashida Tlaib — to serve in Congress.

Former Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg also endorsed Turner's campaign.

On Tuesday night, Turner told her supporters she was grateful on Twitter, posting an image that read: "The real work begins now."

In an interview with The Advocate, Turner thanked her local community, and discussed the risk that comes with running a political campaign as a non-binary person.

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“A lot of people don’t know how much you risk putting your name on the ballot if you are not a white cis het man, and it was a lot of work to get here," she told The Advocate. "I had to put faith in my community to catch me when I jumped, and they did."

Turner, who is Black and identifies as queer, previously worked as a community organizer and for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Campaign for Smart Justice, according to a campaign website.

According to comments made to HuffPost, she was raised in "a single parent household because one parent was incarcerated" and "had to live off SNAP benefits."

Her campaign hinged on criminal justice reform, investing in public education and a higher minimum wage.

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Turner is one of many barrier-breaking people to make history on Nov. 3.

Delaware's Sarah McBride became the first openly transgender state Senator, while Missouri's Cori Bush was elected as the state's first Black congresswoman. In New York, Democrats Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones were the first openly gay Black men to be elected to Congress.