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St. Louis’ LGBTQ+ community braces for ‘Debate of hate’ as Missouri Legislative session kicks off Wednesday

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (First Alert 4) – Some members of the LGTBQ+ community in St. Louis said round two of the debate over hate kicks off Wednesday with the start of the new legislative session in Jefferson City.

There are 31 items between the state house and senate addressing issues state advocacy group PROMO Missouri categorizes as anti-LGBTQ. They take aim at marriage rights, healthcare, and specific language regarding transitioning and identity in public schools.

“Our biggest concern is the Missouri Legislature’s on-going attempt to hinder LGBTQ+ Missourians and their ability to thrive in our state,” said Shira Berkowitz (they/them), Sr. Director of Public Policy for PROMO. “Our government is aiming to turn the most critically safe environments our youth have — their schools — into unsafe and outright dangerous places from kindergarten to university classrooms.”

Among these pre-filed bills is one by State Sen. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, that calls for the creation of the “Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act.” It would prohibit the discussion of certain topics by school personnel.

“It doesn’t mean the conversations can’t take place, but the parents need to be made aware of it, and they need to approve those conversations,” Moon said.

Moon gave First Alert 4 the example that if a student came to a teacher or staff person with thoughts of transitioning, they would be required to alert parents immediately.

“I just think the parents should be made aware of any of those conversations in the school. They should be notified,” Moon shared. “They might approve of it, and if they do, that’s great, but it shouldn’t be hidden from the parents.”

Members of the LGBTQ+ community tell First Alert 4 they are disappointed by the dozens of proposed bills, but it was expected.

“We are using our legislative session, which is really short in the state of Missouri, to focus on the wrong issues,” City of St. Louis resident Shawn Stokes explained. “People want to have a job, a house, and be able to buy the basic necessities. They don’t really care about these fringe issues that really only focus on a small percentage of the population.”

The legislative session runs for four and a half months. Critics of the bills said it’s ignorant to pay attention to the issues once they pass.

“Paying attention to the issues after they are passed is too late,” Stokes shared. “We are paying for these people. We should know what they are doing. I always say my mom knew what I was doing with my money. Now I know what these lawmakers are doing with my money, so I really want to make sure I’m getting the best out of my investment.

“LGBTQ rights are human rights,” Vice President of St. Louis Black Pride Jordan Braxton explained. “We are all human beings. That’s what people forget. LGBTQIA people are human beings. When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he said life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and in quotes, he didn’t put all except queer people.”

Sen. Moon said he stands by his multiple bills as “Pro-Child.”

“I don’t want to cause any harm to anyone. I don’t know why a bill protecting children would cause harm,” Moon explained. “It’s protecting the child and the parent’s interest in their child’s upbringing and education.”

Anyone can read each of these pre-filed pieces of legislation by visiting PROMO Missouri’s Missouri Legislative Session tracker.


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