Missouri governor signs anti-trans sports bill & gender-affirming care ban on the same day

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson
Photo: Office of the Missouri Governor

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed two anti-trans bills targeting kids into law on Wednesday, one banning gender-affirming care for trans youth and one banning trans women and girls from playing on women’s sports teams.

S.B. 49, the “Missouri Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act”, is set to take effect on August 28 and bans all gender-affirming treatments (including reversible puberty blockers) until August 2027. Any healthcare providers who violate the law risk losing their license. Some states that have passed gender-affirming care bans have required trans youth already receiving this care to wean themselves off their medications and detransition, but this law allows those already undergoing care to continue.

“We support everyone’s right to his or her own pursuit of happiness,” Parson tweeted upon signing the bill. “However, we must protect children from making life-altering decisions that they could come to regret in adulthood once they have physically and emotionally matured.”

The American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics have all rejected claims that gender-affirming care is harmful to transgender children or adults.

The anti-trans sports bill, S.B. 39, says both private and public schools all the way through college must require trans youth to play on sports teams according to their sex assigned at birth.

In his tweet about the bill, Parson declared that inclusivity was unjust “nonsense.”

“Women and girls deserve and have fought for an equal opportunity to succeed, and we stand up to the nonsense and stand with them as they take back their sport competitions. In Missouri, we support real fairness, not injustice disguised as social righteousness.”

LGBTQ+ advocates have roundly condemned the legislation.

“These bills represent a two-pronged approach to targeting trans youth and eliminating their stories, their perspectives, and their right to a happy, healthy childhood,” said Human Rights Campaign state legislative director and senior counsel Cathryn Oakley in a statement. “SB 49 tosses aside decades of scientific research and guidance from every major medical and mental health organization, representing over 1.3 million American doctors, in favor of the discriminatory whims of politicians in Jefferson City.”

Shira Berkowitz, senior director of public policy and advocacy for Missouri advocacy group PROMO said Parson has “showed just how little Missouri’s state government values LGBTQ+ lives and, in particular, transgender and gender-expansive youth. Berkowitz added that the laws are part of an “embarrassing history of elected leaders intentionally taking action to harm transgender Missourians.”

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