Kansas City, Missouri, opted to become a “safe haven” for transgender people seeking medical care this week in defiance of conservative state legislators who passed a ban on gender-affirming treatments for minors on Wednesday.
The health care bill, along with a statewide measure that puts new restrictions on transgender women and girls playing sports, now rests with Gov. Mike Parson (R), who is expected to sign both.
The measures are part of a larger effort by Republican officials nationwide to target LGBTQ people in public and private life.
Kansas City council members agreed by an 11-1 vote to bar city personnel from punishing individuals who seek out gender-affirming care or the organizations that provide gender-affirming care. They also instructed city personnel to make it their “lowest priority” to cooperate with enforcing state law targeting trans health care.
“Kansas City government is committed to ensuring Kansas City is a welcoming, inclusive, and safe place for everyone, including our transgender and LGBTQ+ community,” Mayor Quinton Lucas (D) said in a statement. “After the Missouri state legislature introduced several bills criminalizing access to gender affirming healthcare across Missouri, I am proud City Council took action and approved the ‘safe have’ resolution to take steps, within our legal power, to protect our transgender community and anyone seeking gender-affirming care.”
The state’s gender clinics also happen to be concentrated in Kansas City.
Council members acknowledged in their resolution that gender-affirming health care “has been proven to be evidence-based, medically necessary, and lifesaving” by leading medical groups including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.