JEFFERSON, Mo. - Amid growing concerns over the coronavirus, public hearings on anti-LGBTQ bills have come to a halt as the Missouri Senate suspended their session this week and the Missouri House expedites it's budget process, ahead of the regularly scheduled spring break.

  

Below is a letter from Samati Niyomchai, PROMO Manager of Public Policy, on what's ahead:

 

This week, without public hearings for our anti-LGBTQ bills, we had a respite from asking community members and allies to join us at the Capitol. We are grateful for the hundreds of Missourians over the past month who have rescheduled their lives to show up with PROMO in extraordinary ways--testifying against 7 harmful bills, sharing stories of sheer bravery, and creating the time to call and meet legislators until every anti-LGBTQ bill is stopped. 

 

We are at the point in the legislative session where new bill filing has ended -- Missouri now has 19 anti-LGBTQ bills and 8 pro-equality bills. Of these, we have defeated one dangerous bill: HB 2173 that threatened all marriages in Missouri! While new bills can no longer be filed, there are still opportunities for legislators to attack our rights, which we saw this week. 

 

During House Floor Debate this past Tuesday, HB 1744 was heard, a bill that would require the Department of Revenue to accept electronic document versions in the application process for a Missouri issued ID. Rep. Justin Hill (R-108) took this opportunity to target transgender Missourians by filing an amendment that would require surgery for anyone seeking a gender marker change to their Missouri ID. 

 

The current process of changing a gender marker on a Missouri ID requires the individual’s signature and the signature of a medical or mental health provider. This process, developed by PROMO years ago, works for Missourians.

 

PROMO understands that having a driver’s license that misrepresents one’s gender can be a complicated and often dangerous situation for transgender individuals in any situation where someone needs to show a license -- in bars or restaurants while filling out forms for employers, or at a simple traffic stop. The most important aspect of transition is living day-to-day in society in accordance with each of our individual gender identities. 

 

In Rep. Hill’s amendment presentation, he not only immensely insulted transgender Missourians, but also the highly trained doctors and therapists that work in our state. We applaud the tremendous courage and continual championing led by Representatives Razer, Quade, Merideth, Sauls, and Clemens who defended the dignity of transgender Missourians and were able to defeat the amendment. 

 

In the next two weeks, both our Missouri House and Senate are taking extra caution with COVID-19 and thus PROMO’s work will continue away from the Capitol. We encourage all of our communities to take this as seriously as our organizations, municipalities, businesses, schools, and communities are. Our bills have a rest and we hope all of you do as well. Wash your hands and be well.

 

While on recess, we assure you PROMO is diligently working to continue to defend against the bills that target members of our community while ensuring we are still on course to reaching equality for all LGBTQ Missourians. The work towards equality has been and will continue to be a marathon this legislative session. Please show your support for PROMO with a gift of $5, $20, or $50 right now. We are going to keep going, together we know we will achieve equality. 

 

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