MISSOURI LAWMAKERS RENEW ATTACKS ON BLACK, BROWN, AND LGBTQ+ MISSOURIANS SCHEDULING EIGHT ANTI-LGBTQ+ BILLS FOR PUBLIC HEARING
Two of the bills in the House Emerging Issues Committee would erase transgender, nonbinary, and intersex people from Missouri law by defining the term “sex” and other related terms
Image Courtesy of Be Lovely Photography: A Trans Lives Matters poster is held at a protest on the lawn of the Missouri Capitol held on March 29, 2023
ST. LOUIS (Jan. 16, 2024) — Eight anti-LGBTQ+ bills are scheduled for a public hearing across House and Senate committees on Wednesday, January 17. One will be heard in the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee at 1 p.m. and seven in the House Emerging Issues Committee. The bill in the Senate committee (SB 728) focuses on creating a “Parents’ Bill of Rights” dictating the rights parents have over their child’s health, wellbeing, and education while simultaneously requiring teachers to forcibly out transgender and nonbinary students. The House bills give doctors a license to discriminate (HB 1519), remove sunset and grandfather clauses in the state’s current gender-affirming healthcare ban (HB 1520), force students and employees to use restrooms and locker rooms not in alignment with their gender identity (HB 1674, 2355, 2357), and inaccurately defines the term “sex” in the Missouri Human Rights Act completely writing transgender, nonbinary, and intersex Missourians out of law (HB 2308, 2309).
PROMO, Missouri’s LGBTQ+ public policy and advocacy organization, released the following statement:
“Transgender, nonbinary, and intersex Missourians have existed throughout history and always will,” said Katy Erker-Lynch (she/they), Executive Director of PROMO. “The legislature’s continued effort to erase gender diverse Missourians demonstrates the complete disregard these lawmakers have for human dignity. That they would weaponize our state’s Human Rights Act, the very tool created to provide protections from discrimination for all Missourians, speaks to their lack of shame in using bodies as political pawns. By framing these bills as a protection from discrimination for institutions, businesses, and health care providers, they mask the fact that these bills are simply authorizing discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming patients. We started last year’s legislative session hearing nine anti-LGBTQ+ bills with a House hearing that lasted over nine hours — we’ll do that again today if necessary to make them listen to their constituents.”
PROMO is currently tracking over 40 bills, which impact the lives of LGBTQ+ Missourians both positively and negatively. One unique aspect of Missouri’s Legislature is the same bill can be filed multiple times allowing lawmakers to push hard on legislation they deem as a priority. This tactic drives up the total number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills filed in the state, but it also signals to the rest of the country what coordinated, nationwide attacks might focus on next as other states begin their sessions later this year.
Organizations to reach out to about community reactions include Trans Women of Color Collective and Transformations (Kansas City), Springfield Trans and Ally Resource Team and The GLO Center (Springfield), Metro Trans Umbrella Group and St. Louis Queer+ Support Helpline (St. Louis), and The Center Project (Columbia).