PROMO MISSOURI LAUNCHES STORY COLLECTION INITIATIVE TO HEAR FROM TRANSGENDER MISSOURIANS IMPACTED BY ANTI-TRANS LAWS
The LGBTQ+ public policy organization is looking for transgender Missourians who are harmed, feel bias, or experience instances of discrimination because of the new laws
ST. LOUIS (August 28, 2023) — PROMO Missouri, the state’s LGBTQ+ public policy and advocacy organization, launched a statewide story collection initiative to hear from transgender Missourians who experience harm, unfair bias, or instances of discrimination after two anti-trans laws went into effect on Monday, August 28. The organization hopes to leverage the voices of trans student athletes, impacted by Senate Bill 39, and trans Missourians, who cannot receive gender-affirming healthcare after Senate Bill 49, to showcase the harm anti-trans legislation has across the state. Those interested in sharing their stories with the group are able to do so through its website beginning Monday, August 28 with no current end date in place.
“The fight is far from over,” said Katy Erker-Lynch (she/her & they/them), Executive Director for PROMO Missouri. “But as we wait to hear from the courts, it is now up to providers, clinicians, and the attorneys at their clinics and hospitals to decide how much risk they are willing to take on to continue providing evidence-based care to their patients. It is also up to teachers and coaches to see their student athletes as the talented individuals they are, and do the right thing. We implore you to be courageous.”
The laws — a ban revoking access to gender-affirming healthcare for some transgender minors and adults (SB49) and a ban forbidding transgender student athletes in kindergarten through college from participating on school-sanctioned sports teams that align with their gender identity (SB39) — were signed into law by Governor Mike Parson on Wednesday, June 7. The ACLU of Missouri, Lambda Legal, and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner filed a lawsuit against the transgender healthcare ban but were denied a preliminary injunction to halt the law from going into effect while the remainder of the case was heard on Friday, August 25.
On Friday, August 25, Board Secretary for PROMO Missouri, Aro Royston (he/him) refuted the court’s arguments to not offer a preliminary injunction saying, “The rationale that the ‘science and medical evidence is conflicting and unclear’ is completely false. Every major medical association in the United States supports gender-affirming healthcare as the standard of care.” He continued noting there is also a concern of how not halting this ban will do harm to transgender youth pointing to a study by The Trevor Project which says gender-affirming healthcare has been shown to reduce suicide attempts in the transgender community. “I, personally, would not be here without gender-affirming healthcare; quite possibly, I may not even be alive today without it.”
Erker-Lynch added the state should feel deep shame pointing to Governor Mike Parson, the Attorney General, and the leaders of the Missouri House and Senate. “Shame on Governor Parson who claims to support parental rights yet unilaterally decides whose parental rights are valid. Shame on the unelected Attorney General who claims to protect ‘Missouri’s children’ yet has found no families in Missouri who have reported harm by their doctors. Instead, he uses out-of-state bad actors, Chloe Cole and Zoe Hawes, to perpetuate lies who have ties to known hate groups, have been manipulated, and have testified in nearly every state trying to limit healthcare access. Shame on the leaders of the Missouri House and Senate who since filing day last year, made harming transgender children their number one priority this session.
The transgender athlete ban is one of the most severe in the country affecting both transgender boys and girls and public, private, and charter schools. The law also applies to schools who participate in competitions against another team who has a transgender athlete competing. Any school who violates the law risks losing 100% of their state public funding. Non-sanctioned school sports teams or clubs, meaning those who are not associated with or not funded by schools, are not impacted. The LGBTQ+ advocacy group states that when anti-trans laws are even debated, transgender youth see an increase in bullying and hostility and violence against transgender adults, especially people of color, increases.
PROMO Missouri created two pages on its website to collect stories from trans individuals impacted by the recent laws — one dedicated to transgender athletes and the other to those receiving gender-affirming healthcare. Transgender Missourians needing support can reach out to local trans-led organizations such as Metro Trans Umbrella Group (MTUG), The Shades Project, or St. Louis Queer+ Support Helpline (SQSH) in St. Louis, Transformations in Kansas City, and Springfield Transgender and Ally Resource Team (START) in Springfield.
If you are thinking about harming yourself, get immediate support. Connect to a crisis counselor 24/7, 365 days a year, from anywhere in the U.S. It is 100% confidential and 100% free. You can reach the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386, you can also chat or text: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/get-help/