ST. LOUIS – Two anti-transgender bills are heading to the governor’s desk. One is designed to restrict gender-affirming care for minors. The other would require transgender athletes to play sports teams that only align with the gender listed on their birth certificate.
If both bills are approved, Missouri would join more than a dozen states in restricting or banning gender-affirming care to minors and at least 20 states in banning transgender athletes from playing on teams consistent with their gender identity.
SB 49 would ban access to puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, or gender-affirming surgery. It would also affect Medicaid patients due to the state prohibiting any funds from covering gender-affirming care in Missouri. Also, surgery would no longer be available to inmates and prisoners.
SB 39 would require transgender athletes to compete on sports teams with their sex assigned at birth. The Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) said there are eight trans student athletes who been approved through their policy, four competing at the middle-school level and four at the high-school level.
Gov. Parson is expected to sign both bills later this year. He acknowledged the one about sports participation on Wednesday, stating via Twitter, “We appreciate the General Assembly taking action today to pass protections for minors and women’s sports. We look forward to this legislation arriving to our office soon.”
In the St. Louis region, the Mayor’s Office and Saint Louis County Health Department have both taken a stance against these bills, especially the one pertaining to gender-affirming care.
Jones released this statement after the passage of both bills:
“Transgender Missourians deserve to live their authentic lives. The anti-trans bills passed by the Missouri Legislature are ugly, hateful attacks on our youth that will drive them and their families out of our state in search of a more welcoming place to live.
“In St. Louis, we stand in solidarity with all who are fighting for the right to live freely, regardless of their gender identity or expression. Our LGBTQIA+ community partners have been on the frontlines to protect our transgender residents, and we are ready to continue working with them.”
The Saint Louis County Health Department released this statement, in part, about the legislation:
“The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health stands with transgender members of our families, workplaces, and broader communities and affirms that transgender residents have the right to access clinically appropriate medical care. We denounce efforts to limit access to necessary health care services and interfere in clinical care decisions best left to individuals seeking care and their medical providers.
There is strong consensus among medical professional organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Endocrine Society, that individualized gender-affirming care for transgender people is medically necessary and effective. Prohibiting evidence-based clinical care not only directly harms the health of individual patients, but also reinforces discrimination, stigma, and negative mental health outcomes for the wider transgender community.“
For anyone affected by these bills, county health officials recommend contacting the following agencies:
- Legal Help Desk at Lambda Legal or the ACLU of Missouri for more information on their legal rights.
- Metro Trans Umbrella Group (MTUG) for local services and resources available to transgender folks. MTUG maintains a list of inclusive therapists and medical providers.
- Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 or the St. Louis Queer+ Support Helpline at 314-380-7774 for emotional, identity-affirming support.
- Planned Parenthood of Illinois to check on treatments available to transgender people 16 and older.
The bills advanced Wednesday as the legislative session nears a close, though they passed just one week after a St. Louis County judge blocked Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s emergency rule restricting gender-affirming care for Missourians of all ages from going into effect. Bailey says he supports the gender-affirming care bill.
“I’m extremely pleased with the legislature’s move to halt the mutilation of children in the state of Missouri. As I’ve held all along, there is no scientific evidence supporting these experimental procedures, and I’m proud to have led in the fight to protect Missouri’s children,” said Bailey via Twitter.
If the bills are signed by the governor, the limits would go into effect at the end of August.