Missouri bands together to resist new bill banning transgender sports and medicine
Missouri Republicans are hoping to pass bills banning transition-related medical treatments and requiring students to play sports on teams based on their assigned sex at birth.
“They can go to all the counseling and dress and change their name and whatever they want to do,” says Rep. Suzie Pollock. “I just don’t want them medically treated with drugs. In what other area do we allow children to make those decisions so young?”
Republicans across the country, such as Pollock, are sponsoring many bills that transgender advocates decree as a political attack on a vulnerable minority group that has yet to gain mainstream acceptance. Pollock’s bill would take away doctors’ licenses who prescribe puberty-blocking medications or hormone treatment for minors.
Teenager Samantha DeMichieli told a Missouri House committee the shot of Lupron she gets every three months is worth it even though it is painful. She says the male hormone suppressing treatment is a lifeline for transgender youth.
“Without it, I’d be sitting here and I’d probably have things like facial hair, a deeper voice, and an Adam’s apple,” DeMichieli says. “I really, every day, try to express myself and know who I am.”
She was testifying in the House Children and Families Committee against a bill that would make puberty blockers like Lupron, hormone therapy, and surgeries illegal.
According to the Kansas City Star, Missouri clinics follow standards set by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health which bans gender reassignment surgery on children to treat gender dysphoria. Surgery is usually not the preferred option for prepubescent children, however. Treatments can delay the onset of puberty while the child determines whether they want to pursue longer-term treatments such as hormone therapy.
Medical experts say puberty blockers are reversible and can save the lives of transgender children by hopefully preventing suicide. Children with gender dysphoria have higher rates of suicide than other youth.
Brandon Boulware, a father with a transgender daughter, went viral for his testimony before the Missouri Legislature saying he spent years forcing her to wear male clothes, cut her hair short, and play on boys’ sports teams before he realized it was a mistake.
“My child was miserable,” Boulware says. “I cannot overstate that. She was absolutely miserable. Especially at school. No confidence, no friends, no laughter. I can honestly say this: I had a child who did not smile.”
One day he saw his daughter wearing her sister’s dress. She was forbidden from playing with a neighbor’s kids and asked her father if she could play if she changed into boys’ clothes. That was the day everything changed.
In his heartful testimony, the Christian business lawyer says parents should not teach their children to deny who they are and silence their child’s spirits. Boulware is hoping to block House Joint Resolution 53 which seeks to amend the state constitution to force students to play on sports teams that match the sex assigned at birth.
“This language, if it becomes law, will have real effects on real people,” Boulware says. “It will affect my daughter. It will mean she cannot play on the girl’s volleyball team, or dance squad, or tennis team.”
Many dance teams across the country do not specify only girls can participate. However, no one deserves to feel like they cannot be included in a sport they love.
Boulware’s testimony was shared on social media by The American Civil Liberties Union and has over 3 million views on Twitter.
“I ask you, please don’t take that away from my daughter or the countless others like her who are out there,” Boulware says.