Drag queens speak out against Missouri bills for transgender children

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Dozens of advocates, including drag queens in full makeup, gathered at the Missouri State Capitol on Tuesday against bills banning transgender athletes from participating in girls’ sports teams, gender-affirming treatment of transgender children and public drag shows.

Jordan Braxton, who leads the advocacy group TransParent and cross-dresses as Dieta Pepsi, told a group of about 100 advocates that the legislation under discussion “harms our trans kids.”

“As a trans woman, I will not be erased,” she said. “As a drag queen, I won’t let myself be erased. As a human being, I will not be erased.”

Doctors, along with many parents and educators, say legislation targeting LGBTQ people, and youth in particular, helps foster a climate of homophobia and transphobia.

Bills considered at a House committee hearing included restrictions on which teams transgender athletes — particularly girls — play from K-12 to college. Transgender girls could only play on boys’ teams under various proposals.

Republican bill sponsors argued that the legislation is necessary because boys have an unfair advantage, though both Republican and Democratic committee members questioned whether boys are intrinsically better than girls at all sports.

Current Missouri public high school sports rules already prohibit transgender girls from competing on girls’ teams unless they have undergone at least a year of hormone therapy and continue to take medications to maintain their hormone levels.

The Missouri State High School Activities Association requires transgender athletes to apply for and submit documentation of medical care in order to compete as the gender they identify with.

A spokesperson for the association said 13 students have been approved since the organization adopted the rules in 2012, including only four transgender girls.

Branson Republican Rep. Brian Seitz said he has not read the association’s rules about transgender athletes and “has no idea what intersex is.”

“The science is clear,” Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft told lawmakers. “I’m not saying that men are superior to women, but genetically, men have better bone mass. They generally have a stronger muscle mass. They are generally faster. They are generally stronger.”

Ashcroft’s comments, which deviated from his typical testimony on election issues, led Democrats to question whether he will run for Governor of Missouri in 2024, when Republican Governor Mike Parson will be given a limited term to campaign for reelection.

The proposals from Seitz and other legislators would require parents to sign affidavits about their children’s sex each year. Schools that violate the bills could lose all government funding or be sued by other student-athletes.

Other bills would ban doctors in Missouri from offering gender-affirming treatments for minors and prevent insurance from covering treatments for minors.

The medical treatment of transgender people for children and teens is increasingly under attack in many states, labeled as child abuse and criminalized. But it has been available in the United States for more than a decade and is endorsed by major medical associations.

Another bill would make performing in drag in public or where a minor may witness a crime punishable by up to one year in prison and a $2,000 fine.

Drag queens speak out against Missouri bills for transgender children

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