Missouri House passes bill allowing local elections to ban trans athletes

The Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri. Photo from RawPixel

The Missouri House of Representatives last week voted to let local school districts to hold referendums to bar transgender children to participate in sports of their gender.

The Associated Press reported that the House voted 89-40 in favor of adding Republican State Rep. Chuck Bayse’s proposal as an amendment to an elections bill before lawmakers’ mid-May deadline. If passed into law, school boards and administrators could call elections on if trans girls can play on all-girls sports teams.

Supporters of the bill told the newspaper that the legislation was to “protect women’s sports.”

“This is much more than just focusing on what the left says is discriminatory language,” State Rep. Nick Schroer told the AP. “This is not discriminatory whatsoever.”

State law already prohibited trans girls from playing on girls’ teams unless they were undergoing hormone therapy. Hormone therapy is not done until later in a person’s teens.

The bill is one of hundreds proposed across the country just since the start of 2022. Similar bills have been passed or proposed in Iowa, Indiana and Kentucky.

“Some Missouri lawmakers are treading down a dangerous and discriminatory path to harming transgender and gender-expansive children,” said Katy Erker-Lynch, executive director of state LGBTQ rights group PROMO. “We know this is not about athletic competition, this is about whether or not we can treat transgender Missourians fairly across all areas of life or whether transgender Missourians can be unfairly fired, kicked out of a restaurant, denied an apartment, or denied the health care they need, just because of who they are.”

Erker-Lynch said she was grateful for State Rep. Ian Mackey and State Sen. Greg Razer, both out LGBTQ legislators, for speeches on the House floor against the bill.

The bill must past through the House again before going to the Republican-controlled State Senate.