Missouri’s Legislature Continues to Prioritize Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills
Just over a week ago, Missouri’s Legislative Session began. This year is the 2nd Regular Session for the 102nd General Assembly, meaning you already know the legislators in both chambers from last year. The session started in chaos, as can be predicted in Missouri, and leadership spent most of this week assigning bills to committees, in which we faced renewed targets on LGBTQ+, Black, and Brown communities. Heading into this week, we have hearings on nine anti-LGBTQ+ bills, specifically targeting trans, nonbinary, and intersex Missourians. Our biggest concern this year is the legislature’s on-going attempt to hinder LGBTQ+ Missourians and their ability to thrive in our state.
TL;DR — Here are the FIVE steps to take action (click links):
- Sign the petition against these nine anti-LGBTQ+ bills.
- Contact House and Senate Committee members in opposition.
- Send in written testimony online for the House committee hearing.
- Donate $15.50 to support those who do travel to Jefferson City with gas cards.
- Follow Missouri Equity Education Partnership for additional updates.
Photo by David A. Lieb/Associated Press
URGENT LEGISLATIVE NEWS
On Wednesday, January 17, seven anti-LGBTQ+ bills will be heard in the House Emerging Issues Committee and two anti-LGBTQ+ bills will be heard in the Senate Education and Workforce Committee. Each of these bills target the equal opportunity, safety, and fairness for trans, nonbinary, and intersex Missourians using particularly malicious language.
Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee (1 p.m.):
Bills like these stigmatize and discriminate against minority students by treating them differently than other students in the classroom. These bills deprive all students of the benefits of an accurate, inclusive education and learning environment.
- SB 728 (Koenig) — aims to create a “Parents’ Bill of Rights” specifying rights parents have over their children’s health, wellbeing, and education, while the child is at school.
- This bill censors historical and inclusive curriculum, forces schools to adopt only certain facts about American history, suggests teachers are groomers and forces them to out students to their parents, and bans students from using pronouns that do not align with their perceived gender as stated on their birth certificate.
- SB 770 (Brattin) — also aims to create a “Parents’ Bill of Rights” censoring historical and inclusive curriculum and forcing schools to adopt only certain facts about American history, while also specifically banning curriculum like the 1916 Project and all perceptions of critical race theory.
- It also includes a bathroom ban forcing transgender and nonbinary students to use school restrooms and locker rooms designated by the sex marker on their birth certificate.
House Emerging Issues Committee (2 p.m.)
- HB 1519 (Hudson) — allows doctors, public hospitals, and private hospitals to refuse gender-affirming health care services based on their moral, ethical, or religious beliefs.
- HB 1520 (Hudson) — removes the sunset and grandfather provisions in the gender-affirming health care ban already in place (SB49 from 2023).
- HB 1674 (Matthiesen) — requires employers to force their employees to use restrooms and locker rooms not in alignment with their gender identity.
- HB 2308 (Schnelting) — aims to amend the Missouri Human Rights Act by defining sex and gender, and mandating that school restrooms and locker rooms can only be used in alignment with the gender markers on student birth certificates.
- HB 2309 (Schnelting) — aims to provide statutory definitions of “sex,” “gender,” “male,” “female,” etc. in the Missouri Human Rights Act following a scientifically incorrect binary based on internal and external reproductive characteristics.
- HB 2355 (Baker) & HB 2357 (Lonsdale) — forces students to use restrooms and locker rooms that align only with the sex marker on their birth certificates even if that is in misalignment with their gender identity.
Our opposition continues to increase the attacks on our community in cruel and bold ways, and, in an election year, we know our opposition is using your human rights as bargaining chips to win power. These bills show us our legislators want to make it impossible for LGBTQ+ youth to be themselves in schools, for school environments to recognize the beautiful, diverse, and complicated reality of our collective histories, for trans and gender expansive people to work and use restrooms safely, and they aim to enshrine legal inequality for LGBTQ+ Missourians.
We need your voices to stand up to lawmakers. We’re asking you to sign the petition below and contact the legislators on each committee to share your outrage at the attacks on our community including our most vulnerable populations of trans, BIPOC trans, and trans women of color, LGBTQ+ students, and families already harmed by last year’s legislation.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Legislative session in 2023 was draining for many within our community and, as an organization, we want to do better encouraging you to protect your energy. Our collective voices, your voice, is powerful and there are many ways to speak out and up — all which are critical to affecting change.
Here are two other ways to support:
- We encourage you to let expert testifiers speak against these bills and share your voice online through submitted written testimony.
- Support fellow community members in their travel to testify.
ADDITIONAL LEGISLATION WATCH
This session is not all bad news. Please know that we have champion lawmakers on our side fighting for LGBTQ+ rights every day. They know the rights our community deserves, and reflect those in policies we need like the following:
House Healthcare Reform Committee (Tuesday, January 16 at 4 p.m.)
This committee will hear HB 2190 (Peters), a bill providing healthcare reimbursement to providers for prescribing or dispensing self-administered hormonal contraceptives. We support this bill and encourage you to submit testimony online
There are also three POSITIVE filed bills that warrant attention:
- SB 787 (Razer) — The Missouri Nondiscrimination Act (MONA), which will add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Missouri Human Rights Statute for protections in employment, housing, and public services.
- SB 1209 (Arthur), HB 2296 (Ingle), HB 2263 (Nurrenbern), HB 2343 (Fogle) – The Youth Mental Health Preservation Act, which will ban the dangerous practice of conversion therapy in Missouri while protecting gender-affirming mental health care access.
- HB 1999 (Mann) — An LGBTQ+ Inclusive Curriculum bill, which will allow school districts to include instruction on LGBTQ+ contributions to society.