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Missouri Leads Nation in Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation in 2023, Says ACLU

Missouri Leads Nation in Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation in 2023, Says ACLU

<p>Missouri Leads Nation in Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation in 2023, Says ACLU</p>

Cruelty toward queer and trans people is one of the features employed by GOP lawmakers and not a bug of their legislation.

Missouri Republicans have proposed more anti-LGBTQ+ legislation than any other state in the country, according to data from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Activists warn that the increase in bills targeting LGBTQ+ rights — with a particular focus on trans rights — suggests a continued push to marginalize queer communities and utilize their members as political scapegoats.

About 21 percent of the legislation that targets LGBTQ+ communities nationwide has been submitted by Missouri Republicans, according to the ACLU, the Kansas City Starreports.

The state’s GOP lawmakers have already introduced 27 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in their state legislatures. With 15 bills, Texas is ranked second, followed by South Carolina with 12.

Several bills target gender-affirming care for trans individuals. For example, a state senator from Ash Grove, Mike Moon, is proposing a ban on any “gender transition procedures” under 18 except under certain circumstances. A doctor who violates the restrictions may face professional discipline or a lawsuit.

LGBTQ+ topics and matters surrounding sexual orientation are also subject to legislation blocking or controlling classroom discussion. For example, an amendment filed by state Rep. Ann Kelley establishes a set of restrictions on discussion hedge as “parental rights” that include “No classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties relating to sexual orientation or gender identity shall occur.”

In addition, Republicans have filed many bills to ban transgender student-athletes from competing on teams of the same gender as their identities. Those bills are expected to pass this year, according to Democratic activists.

Republican lawmakers have seized the opportunity to promote legislation prohibiting children from attending drag shows throughout the state after false reports of inappropriate shows for children spread throughout the state.

Republicans claim drag shows are too obscene for children to watch, while Democrats and LGBTQ+ rights groups argue that the efforts to target them are part of a more comprehensive conservative attack on the LGBTQ+ community.

“This is a political mission that doesn’t actually protect youth but further defends the fears and phobias of some adults. If MO really cared about our youth, our state wouldn’t fall short in all other areas that impact them,” Justice Horn, chair of the Kansas City LGBTQ+ Commission, wrote in response on Twitter.

“This is the most dangerous session we’ve seen in Missouri in years,” Shira Berkowitz, senior director of policy and advocacy for PROMO Missouri, an LGBTQ advocacy group, told the Star. “It’s blatantly clear that this is leadership’s priority.”

On Monday, Horn tweeted, If they try and ban drag in Missouri, I’ll organize and fill up that hearing room with drag queens! You know how many queens I have on speed dial ready to read y’all?!?"

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