Missouri lawmakers file 15th anti-LGBTQ bill

PROMO is Missouri’s statewide advocacy organization promoting equal treatment under the law for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBTQ) community.

The largest overtly anti-LGBTQ agenda

This week Missouri lawmakers filed their fifteenth bill targeting LGBTQ Missourians, and specifically rearing an aggressive agenda to restrict the rights and dignity of transgender youth. From banning life-saving medical care, the fair chance to be part of a team, creating defining parameters for gender, and suggesting state funding should be used to discriminate, the Missouri legislature is sending a clear message that they believe transgender youth do not belong.

Transgender youth are some of the most at risk in our community. The 2016 Williams Institute Report estimates that there are 150,000 transgender American youth (ages 13-17), and roughly 25,000 transgender Missourians. Five bills ((HB 1721 (Schnelting), HB 2051 (Pollock), HB 2210 (Moon), SB 842 (Emery), SB 848 (Eigel)) look at criminalizing life-saving medical care for transgender youth by combining professional penalties for medical care providers with penalties for parents or guardians, including a requirement that they should be reported to Child Services. These bills overlook best practices backed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other mainstream medical associations, and penalizes healthcare professionals and parents for providing affirming, life-saving care to some of our most vulnerable young people.

Denying best-practice medical care and support to transgender youth can be life-threatening. Research shows that transgender youth whose families support their gender identity have a 52% decrease in suicidal thoughts, a 48% decrease in suicide attempts, and significant increases in self-esteem and general health.

Shira Berkowitz, PROMO’s Communications Manager, says, “Medical professionals, not politicians, should decide what medical care is in the best interest of a patient. Our leadership should be creating opportunities for Missouri children to succeed, not threatening their health and safety. So we must remember what this is really about: whether LGBTQ people should be treated fairly across all areas of life—or whether they can be unfairly fired, kicked out of a restaurant, denied an apartment, or denied the health care they need, just because of who they are.”

Additionally, two joint resolutions, SJR50 (O’Laughlin R-18) and HJR 82 (Ross R-142) call for the placement of a ballot measure at the November 2020 election to amend the state constitution to require student-athletes to participate in sports according to their sex assigned at birth. Playing sports provides student-athletes with important lessons about leadership, self-discipline, teamwork, success, and failure—as well as the joy and shared excitement of being part of a team. Denying transgender students the opportunity to participate in sports denies them invaluable physical, social, and emotional well-being.

This year, PROMO urges lawmakers to pass MONA, a state law that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to Missouri’s Human Rights Statute, which currently prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations for other protected categories, including race, sex, and national origin. According to the Williams Institute, more than 160,000 LGBTQ adults in Missouri would benefit from an expanded state nondiscrimination law that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

PROMO is Missouri's statewide advocacy organization promoting equal treatment under the law for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBTQ) community. For more information, please visit  www.PROMOonline.org.

The Gayly. 02/12/2020 @ 11:53 p.m. CST.