Government officials in Kansas City, Missouri, are considering several legal avenues to oppose an impending state order that would restrict gender-affirming care for transgender residents.
Last week, the Kansas City LGBTQ Commission sent a letter to the Kansas City city council, urging councilors to make the jurisdiction a “safe haven” for transgender Missourians seeking gender-affirming treatment.
“There are several states, counties, and cities who have passed legislation codifying the right to receive and have access to gender-affirming care into law,” the commission wrote in its letter. “In the City of Kansas City, we must take every action at our disposal to be proactive, reduce harm, and ensure that Kansas Citians have access to life-saving healthcare.”
The council is reportedly considering taking action to address the commission’s request. According to Councilwoman Andrea Bough, she and others are drafting a resolution to protect transgender people in Kansas City from restrictions imposed at the state level.
“We can say to members of our community that we see you, we welcome you, and we will support you in every way that we can,” Bough said recently. “We will not let those who seek to harm you come to our communities and step on our jurisdiction and impose their will on us to the highest extent of our capabilities and our laws.”
City officials are also considering additional actions to protect residents’ access to gender-affirming care. Mayor Quinton Lucas, for instance, recently posted on Twitter that the city is examining ways to aid a legal challenge that was recently filed against the new restrictions.
“Reviewing the lawsuit and seeing how we at the City may be able to join the legal fight,” Lucas wrote.
Rules drafted by state Attorney General Andrew Bailey (R) earlier this month would create huge barriers for transgender people to access gender-affirming care. The rules would require anyone seeking such treatment to first receive 18 months of therapy, and to document three years of gender dysphoria, a condition that not all trans people experience. Experts say that these requirements present an unnecessary burden for trans people seeking treatment and could prevent many people from receiving care altogether.
Bailey’s rules also perpetuate the false and dangerous notion that trans people are simply victims of “social contagion” rather than in genuine need of medical care, requiring providers to screen people for autism or social media addiction before they can be approved for gender-affirming treatment.
In issuing his order, Bailey cited disproven whistleblower claims that doctors at a children’s hospital in Missouri were coercing parents into approving treatments for their children. The former employee behind these allegations was not involved in medical discussions while working at the hospital, and the claims have been disputed by patients and their parents. A recent review of the allegations found that there was no misconduct of any kind at the clinic.
A lawsuit was filed on Monday to block Bailey’s order from going into effect later this week, alleging that Bailey is overstepping his authority in imposing the new restrictions. Plaintiffs in the suit include a medical practice, a therapist, transgender youth in the state and their parents, and a transgender adult. These individuals are being represented by three legal groups: ACLU of Missouri; Lambda Legal; and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner law firm.
“The Attorney General’s action violates Missouri’s constitutionally established separation of powers and is an attempt to legislate behind closed doors through Missouri’s limited emergency rulemaking procedures…without any input from the Missourians the Rule will affect most,” the lawsuit states.
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