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Missouri lawmakers again take up transgender issues as legislation impacts Columbia schools


The morning after a Columbia Board of Education member left a meeting citing ongoing stress from the Missouri legislature's continued focus on LGBTQ+ issues, lawmakers were set to meet Tuesday to discuss transgender children.

Senators on the Emerging Issues Committee are meeting Tuesday morning to go over three similar bills called the Missouri Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act. The bills, introduced by three Republican senators, would prevent minors from undergoing gender transition treatment.

The two-hour hearing got unruly during public testimony when the first witness, a transgender man who regrets surgery, was removed from the hearing for yelling at a Democratic senator.

"I underwent close to one million dollars in hormones and surgeries to change from Kelly to Scott, a trans man. I get reoccurring infections six times a year and it will end up killing me," said Scott Nugent, who is in support of the bill.

The second witness, a doctor who was against the bill, got into an argument with a Republican senator and the chair threatened to have him removed as well.

The Senate Education Committee passed last week Sen. Mike Moon's (R-Ash Grove) bill banning public school employees from talking about gender identity or sexual orientation with students without parent permission. The bill can now be debated in the full Senate chamber.

"The media is not telling the truth here. They're reporting this as the 'Don't Say Gay' bill, which that's not what this is about. This is protecting vulnerable children," Moon said at last week's hearing.

Katherine Sasser left Monday night's meeting of the Columbia Board of Education, saying a recent string of bills is making it difficult for educators to do their jobs.

"Right now in Missouri, 28 bills attacking transgender youth and LGBTQ individuals are being considered in our legislation," Sasser said. "At least half of these bills specifically target schools. These and other attempts like these were created to weaken public schools and distract us from the urgent work we must do to make sure all of our students can succeed."

Sasser has a transgender daughter and has been an outspoken critic of legislation that would ban transgender athletes from participating in women's sports.

This makes the fourth week in a row a hearing will be held on LGBTQ+ issues. Each week, the hearings attracted crowds nearing 100 people. Last week, PROMO Missouri held a rally on the Capitol steps against the bills Republican lawmakers are pushing forward.

Article Topic Follows: Missouri Politics

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Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.


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