PROMO holds press conference addressing nine anti-LGBTQ+ bills filed in Missouri

People stand on the steps of the Missouri Capitol Building with a PROMO flag.

PROMO members show support for LGBTQ+ Missourians at a past PROMO event. // Courtesy PROMO.

PROMO, Missouri’s LGBTQ+ public policy and advocacy organization, will hold a press conference on Tuesday, Jan. 24, at 3:30 p.m. to lobby against nine anti-LGBTQ+ bills that will be heard in Missouri House and Senate public committee hearings the same day. PROMO will bring speakers and public figures together in the First Floor Rotunda of the Missouri State Capitol building in Jefferson City to address the bills, which PROMO calls in a press release “a direct hate attack on the Missouri LGBTQ+ community.”

Speakers at the press conference include Katy Erker-Lynch, Executive Director of PROMO; Caitlin Ung, Policy & Campaigns Associate of ACLU Missouri; and State Senators and House Representatives in support of the LGBTQ+ community.

One-on-one interviews will be conducted with Erker-Lynch, Ung, State Senators, and Representatives, as well as drag performers Akasha Royale and Shawn Stokes. A group of LGBTQ+ Missourians will testify at the 4:30 p.m. House hearing, and a group of Missouri drag queens, in full drag attire, will appear in peaceful protest against the bills.

The nine anti-LGBTQ+ bills currently on the floor are Senate Bill 42, in which “school districts are prohibited from teaching about The 1619 Project or any successor theory or concept, critical race theory or any successor theory or concept, and any divisive concepts;” House Bill 170, which aims to keep trans kids from participating in school sports by stating “Before the beginning of each school year, a parent of a student who competes 18 on an athletic team of a public school or private school and is seventeen years of age or 19 younger shall sign an affidavit acknowledging the biological sex of such student at birth;” House Bill 183 and House Bill 337, which also concern trans kids participating in school sports; House Bill 419 and House Bill 463, which aim to limit access to gender reassignment surgeries or any form of medical assistance while transitioning; and House Bills 490, 494, and 498, which attempt to limit venues where drag performances would be legal.

Read previous Pitch coverage of House Bill 494, which would ban drag performances in public spaces, in this feature by Amanda Hadlock.

“In PROMO’s 36-year history of LGBTQ+ advocacy, we’ve never seen this many bills directly attacking LGBTQ+ Missourians scheduled for one day,” says Katy Erker-Lynch, Executive Director of PROMO. “With dozens of real, pressing issues, our elected officials, the civil servants we employ to represent every one of us and to make sure we all thrive, are instead targeting an already vulnerable population. These actions show that the state and our elected officials support this type of discrimination and are comfortable using LGBTQ+ youth and adults as political pawns to move their priorities forward.”

Since so much of the current legislation concerns dictating choices for children and/or restricting education or access to school activities, PROMO is especially concerned about how these bills may affect LGBTQ+ youth.

“Normalizing hate and fueling fear has violent and deadly consequences whether that means robbing young people of an inclusive education and educational environment or hindering transgender students’ ability to thrive by excluding them in team sports,” Erker-Lynch says. “As advocates, parents, and Missourians who value personal freedom and inclusion, we’ll continue to speak out against any attempt to erase and diminish marginalized and historically excluded students from the entire educational experience.”

If you would like to submit a personal testimony against any current legislation, you can do so on the PROMO website. You can also subscribe to updates on the bills’ status or make a direct monetary donation to support PROMO’s cause.

Categories: Politics