Transgender Missourians, their families targeted by new state law

Missouri controversial ban takes effect today.
Published: Aug. 28, 2023 at 5:24 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 28, 2023 at 6:12 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KFVS) - Missouri’s controversial ban on gender-affirming medical care for minors took effect Monday, which also restricts Medicaid reimbursements for any gender-affirming procedure at any age.

It’s the first time since the previous year that the state outlawed a procedure approved by the mainstream medical community because of political opposition.

“I think trans people in our bodies and our lives are right now being used very strategically to win political points,” said Merrique Jenson, founder & executive director of Transformations. “I think we are an easy punching bag.”

Jordan Braxton directs diversity, inclusion and outreach for Pride St. Louis.

“I think what we have here is people who are making laws and legislators who don’t understand what it means to be transgender, it’s not a choice,” Braxton said. “It’s not something you just wake up one morning and go, oh, I want to be trans. It’s something that we felt our entire life.”

Supporters of this the ban who spoke to the bureau, but declined to be named, generally reject the entire concept of gender identity and believe that people should be obligated to act, identify and live as the gender that matches their biological sex.

This law, they say, is a means of preventing families from enabling what they see as a child’s mental illness.

Notably, however, outside of the political arena, the medical community is in pretty clear consensus that affirming one’s gender identity is a valid and safe treatment.

This year, the American Academy of Pediatrics, again, affirmed its clearance of the treatments and even launched a comprehensive review of all it’s medical evidence just to be sure.

The Missouri Chapter of the AAP issued a statement in response to the ban taking effect Monday:

The World Health Organization – representing nearly 200 nations – no longer lists “gender incongruence” as a mental health disorder, but instead, as a sexual health issue.

The organization explained that the change was to combat the widespread misunderstanding and “stigma” about the condition.

There is a lawsuit aiming to overturn Missouri’s new ban on gender affirming care as unconstitutional – the next court hearing in that lawsuit is in September.