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Student led anti-bullying walkout to defend Out high school senior

Lillis, who is openly gay, said he and his friends have been targeted and bullied by another group of students



Lee's Summit High School, Lee's Summit, Missouri (Photo Credit; Lee’s Summit R-7 School District)

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo.  – A fight between students that led to the suspension of a victim of anti-gay bullying and his friend who defended him, led to hundreds of students walking out of classes Monday in solidarity to protest the school administration punishing them and not addressing the behaviour of the bullies.

Danny Lillis, who is openly gay, told multiple media outlets that since the beginning of the school year at Lee’s Summit High School in suburban Kansas City, he and his friends have been targeted and bullied by another group of students.

This year, Lillis started wearing make-up to express himself. 

Malani Hohlbaugh, a friend of the Out senior had enough of her friend being targeted with anti-gay slurs and bullying. Last Wednesday she along with her friend Lillis accosted the group of 3 males who had been the primary cohort. The confrontation escalated into a physical altercation landing her in the emergency room with a broken nose and being suspended along with Lillis and one other friend of theirs.

Lillis told the Kansas City Star newspaper that the group of students had routinely spouted hateful remarks and thrown food at them. He claimed that he went to administrators at least four times to report the incidents, “crying, saying ‘I don’t feel safe’ repeatedly. And nothing changed.”

Danny Lillis speaking with WDAF-TV Fox4 Kansas City (Screenshot via Fox4)

They were just talking about how we’re ugly, how we’re rude,” Carly Vento, another senior, told WDAF-TV Fox4. “How we’re all fat.”

Melanie Davies, the mother of Lillis’ friend Malani Hohlbaugh, told the Kansas City Star; “Every single time that this happened, our kids have gone to student administration and reported it,” Davies said. “There is supposed to be a zero tolerance policy for bullying, but nobody is doing anything about. They haven’t gotten the help that they needed.”

The same group of kids started in on them again, and my daughter just had enough. She ran up the stairs after one of the boys and yelled at him to not talk to them like that, to not say those things,” Davies said.

They turned around and he was walking in front of them. My daughter tried to get around him. But their shoulders hit, and then he shoved her. So she shoved him back, and he punched her right in the face.”

According to Lillis and Hohlbaugh, “No teachers were around. Students broke it up.”

In an interview with Fox4 Monday, Missy Lillis, Danny’s mother told the station that she had even met with the assistant principal to work out a safety plan weeks ago.

We never, ever wanted things to get escalated to this point. Unfortunately, it did, and physical harm was done,” she said.

Lee’s Summit R-7 School District spokeswoman Katy Bergen said in an email to The Star that, “all forms of bullying are prohibited in LSR7. We investigate all complaints of bullying that we receive.”

She declined to provide specifics to the paper regarding the alleged bullying, fight and disciplinary action.

“Everyone in the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District community deserves to feel safe and welcome. Harassment or discrimination in LSR7 is strictly prohibited,” she said. “Although laws protecting students’ privacy prevents us from discussing the specifics of this incident, we can share that school and district administrators are conducting an investigation and taking action to ensure the safety of all students and staff.”

“District administrators will follow Board of Education policies and procedures as we determine next steps. In LSR7, it is a top priority to ensure an inclusive culture where our students, staff members and families are valued and treated with dignity.”

As a result of the fight and suspensions the students were not allowed to attend the high school’s homecoming events this past weekend.

Prior to the walkout, students created a Change dot org petition, that listed the following factors:

Things to know:

1. The harassment had been reported by students prior to the altercation, and administration did not investigate it.

2. Administration’s standard policy is to punish both parties regardless of who started the altercation.

3. A contract of no contact had been reached between the parties privately, which went unenforced by the school and after which verbal harassment continued.

4. An ally to the LGBTQ+ student shoved back a member of the harassing party after having asked them to leave (the student was directing homophobic slurs at the LGBTQ+ student and violating the no contact contract), and the harassing party inflicted visible injuries to the ally as a response.

Our demands of Lee’s Summit High School Administration:

1. Excuse the LGBTQ+ student and their allies from suspension and remove the incident from their permanent records.

2. Investigate reports and justly punish the other party for harassment on the grounds of sexual orientation.

3. Pledge to enforce the school’s Zero Tolerance Policy for bullying and harassment.

4. Issue a school-wide apology for administration’s initial handling of the incident and for inflicting fear in all LSHS LGBTQ+ students in regards to their physical and mental safety at the school.



Drag restrictions debated by Missouri House committee, round 2

For the second year in a row, a House committee debated GOP-backed legislation limiting drag performances as “sexually oriented businesses”



Autumn Equinox, a drag performer, tells Missouri House committee members that gender affirmation through drag has been lifesaving for her. The Special Committee on Public Policy debated restrictions on drag Wednesday afternoon (Annelise Hanshaw/Missouri Independent).

By Annelise Hanshaw | JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – For the second year in a row, a Missouri House committee debated GOP-backed legislation that would face the same limits on drag performances as govern “sexually oriented businesses.”

The bill, sponsored by Bethany Republican Rep. Mazzie Christensen, would also create penalties for engaging in an adult cabaret performance in a location where it could be “reasonably expected to be viewed by a person who is not an adult.” The first offense would be a misdemeanor and the second a felony.

The House’s Special Committee on Public Policy debated the topic Wednesday afternoon, with a handful of opponents of the legislation attending the hearing dressed in drag.

“The intent of the bill is to protect minors,” Christensen told committee members. “Exposing children to sexual content before they’re emotionally mature enough to understand is extremely harmful to their brain development.”

Opponents to the legislation argued that not all drag is sexual in nature, and the legislation would further marginalize LGBTQ Missourians.

 Missouri State Rep. Mazzie Christensen, R-Bethany, speaks to the House’s Special Committee on Public Policy Wednesday as it hears her bill that would place restrictions on drag (Annelise Hanshaw/Missouri Independent).

Christensen’s bill matches a version written at the committee level last year combining legislation filed by her and Rep. Ben Baker, a Republican from Neosho. While it cleared committee, it never made it to the House floor.

The bill defines an “adult cabaret performance” as a show that “appeals to a prurient interest” and “features topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers, strippers or male or female impersonators.”

Any business that offers an “adult cabaret” and makes over 30% of its revenue from sexually oriented material would be considered a “sexually oriented business.”

Sexually oriented businesses are restricted from operating between midnight and 6 a.m., selling alcohol or opening “one thousand feet of any preexisting primary or secondary school, house of worship, state-licensed day care facility, public library, public park, residence, or other sexually oriented business.”

Maxi Glamour, a drag performer based in St. Louis, said the zoning restrictions would prevent drag clubs from operating in the city of St. Louis. Glamour said people are moving out of the city as the state legislature enacts policies such as this.

“Jobs and progressive people are not seeing that they can be validated, appreciated and understood based on these draconian policies,” Glamour told the committee.

Lawmakers debated the bill’s language, some saying it was too “broad” and others telling attendees it would only impact sexually explicit performances.

 Maxi Glamour, a drag performer based in St. Louis, tells a Missouri House committee they believe restrictions on drag would have negative economic impacts (Annelise Hanshaw/Missouri Independent).

“This legislation is aimed at folks that are wanting to conduct sexualized performances in the presence of children,” said Rep. Brad Hudson, a Cape Fair Republican.

Rep. Ashley Aune, a Democrat from Kansas City’s northland, said the language identifying “male or female impersonators” was particularly troubling and wondered whether restaurants like Twin Peaks or Hooters would fit the definition of a “sexually oriented business.”

Hudson disagreed. He said businesses must both feature the listed performers and “appeal to a prurient interest” to be restricted.

“If we were to craft this bill where there was no doubt that the only thing we were outlawing would be sexualized entertainment in the presence of young children, would (people) still be in opposition to this bill?” he asked.

Rep. Mark Sharp, a Kansas City Democrat, said at the top of the hearing that the committee “shouldn’t be hearing this bill.” He said he would be fine with his two-year-old seeing someone dressed in drag, but he said he wouldn’t want any prurient performances around his daughter.

“I think it was just to try to cover that one particular thing, I think this would be a lot of different, very different,” he said, referring to sexualized performances. “That’s not what the bill is. It does so much, so much more than that.”

Aune said it felt like an attack.

“If you just want to protect kids, why aren’t we just saying, ‘any performance by anyone that appeals to a prurient interest.’ Full stop,” she said.

The committee did not take action on the bill Wednesday.


Annelise Hanshaw writes about education — a beat she has covered on both the West and East Coast while working for daily newspapers in Santa Barbara, California, and Greenwich, Connecticut. A born-and-raised Missourian, she is proud to be back in her home state.


The preceding article was previously published by the Missouri Independent and is republished with permission.

The Missouri Independent is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization dedicated to relentless investigative journalism and daily reporting that sheds light on state government and its impact on the lives of Missourians. This service is free to readers and other news outlets.

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Missouri teachers using affirming ‘pronouns’ could face felony crime

The proposed law prescribes penalties beyond a felony charge in the form of forcing the person convicted to register as a sexual offender



State Representative Jamie Ray Gragg opens a session of the Missouri House of Representatives in February 2024. (Photo Credit: Missouri House of Representatives)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A new bill introduced in the Missouri legislature would put teachers on the sex offense registry if they “contribute to social transition” of a trans youth- including pronouns, haircuts, information, and more. It would make the actions of the teacher “contributing to social transition” a class E felony.

House Bill 2885 was introduced by Republican State Representative Jamie Ray Gragg (District 140 Christian County), a first term lawmaker who has previously publicly expressed strong anti-LGBTQ+ viewpoints as well as being anti-abortion rights. He sits on four House committees; Children and Families, Elementary and Secondary Education, Healthcare Reform, and Subcommittee on Appropriations- Education.

In the bill, the language reads:

  1. A person commits the offense of contributing to social transition if
    2 the person is acting in his or her official capacity as a teacher or school counselor and
    3 the person provides support, regardless of whether the support is material, information,
    4 or other resources to a child regarding social transition.
    5 2. The offense of contributing to social transition is a class E felony.
    6 3. As used in this section, the following terms mean:
    7 (1) “Child”, a person under eighteen years of age;
    8 (2) “Social transition”, the process by which an individual adopts the name,
    9 pronouns, and gender expression, such as clothing or haircuts, that match the
    10 individual’s gender identity and not the gender assumed by the individual’s sex at birth;
    11 (3) “Teacher”, as that term is defined in subdivisions (4), (5), and (7) of section
    12 168.104.

The proposed law prescribes penalties beyond a felony charge in the form of forcing the person convicted to register as a Tier I sexual offender with required annual registration.

Missouri legislative political watchers told the Blade late Thursday that the measure probably will die in committee hearings and should it make it to the floor of the House, passage is unlikely.

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Missouri bill would ban companies’ “refusing to deal with” clauses

This recent move comes after recent high-profile cases of companies pulling business with X, formerly Twitter, over rising hate speech



Missouri State Capitol, Jefferson City. (Photo Credit: Missouri state government)

By Erin Reed | JEFFERSON CITY. Mo. – A new bill in Missouri could significantly curtail the ability of companies in the state to pull business with other companies over anti-trans, anti-abortion, or other policies.

The bill, Senate Bill 1061, would ban companies doing business with the state from engaging in “economic boycotts” over a large list of issues, including transgender care and abortion. The boycott ban includes “refusing to deal with” or “terminating business with” other companies over these policies.

This recent move comes after recent high-profile cases of companies pulling business with X, formerly Twitter, over rising hate speech on the platform.

The bill stipulates that companies doing business with the state of Missouri cannot engage in economic boycotts targeted at other companies over issues traditionally supported by conservative politicians. Notably, the ban applies not only to companies doing business with the state of Missouri but also to companies doing business with any political subdivision of the state.

Typically, this includes counties, city governments, public schools, public libraries, and more. This would affect the nearly 700 businesses that have direct contracts with the state, and countless more that have contracts with school boards and local governments.

Under this law, companies that enter into contracts with any of the aforementioned entities would be barred from “refusing to deal with,” “terminating business with,” or otherwise engaging in economic activities designed to penalize a company over that company’s views relating to “not facilitating sex or gender change” or not facilitating “access to abortion.” It also includes other topics, such as boycotts over environmental policies and firearms.

You can see the provisions targeting economic boycotts of other companies, including the abortion and trans provision, here:

Provisions barring economic boycotts over abortion access or gender change policies.

The issue of economic boycotts over anti-LGBTQ+ policies has gained rising attention in recent months. Companies have “terminated business activities with” X, formerly Twitter, over its support for hate speech, which, for some, has included anti-LGBTQ+ hate speech. New policies on X include ending a previous policy that protected transgender people from harassment on the platform, including targeted misgendering.

It is unclear if this policy would bar businesses from terminating business with X – companies boycotting the social media platform over Elon Musk’s declaration that he would lobby to criminalize gender affirming care, for instance, might violate the law if they have contracts with Missouri or any city government, school, or library. For example, IBM pulled advertising on X and currently has an open contract with the state.

This bill is not the only one like it in the United States. Over the last year, several others have been proposed with the same language, although all of them have failed to pass. Bills with similar wording have been proposed in Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Ohio, and Iowa.

This approach could, in part, stem from an earlier law targeting a different boycott target: last year, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a law requiring companies that do business with public entities in Arkansas to not engage in boycotts of Israel could be enforced.

This approach to targeting companies over their commitment to rejecting hate speech is likely to be repeated in several states this year. Increasingly, Republicans are mobilizing state law and enforcement efforts against corporate activism when it does not agree with the Republican platform.

Despite claiming to be in favor of “absolute free speech” and “less regulations,” these supposed values do not clearly apply when companies choose to protect LGBTQ+ people.


Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here:


The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

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Missouri opposes proposed federal rule for LGBTQ foster kids

Missouri’s child welfare agency already offers guidance to foster care providers asking them to use a child’s ‘preferred name and pronouns’



Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey (Screenshot YouTube KSDK NBC 5)

By Clara Bates & Annelise Hanshaw | JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey this week joined with 18 other states to oppose a proposed federal rule that aims to protect LGBTQ youth in foster care and provide them with necessary services.

The attorneys general argue in a letter to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services that the proposed rule — which requires states to provide safe and appropriate placements with providers who are appropriately trained about the child’s sexual orientation or gender identity  — amounts to religion-based discrimination and violates freedom of speech.

“As a foster parent myself,” Bailey said in a news release Tuesday, “I am deeply invested in protecting children and putting their best interests first.”

“Biden’s proposed rule does exactly the opposite by enacting policies meant to exclude people with deeply held religious beliefs from being foster parents.”

The rule is part of a package of federal proposals on foster care and is an extension of the Biden administration’s broader push to protect LGBTQ kids in foster care.

“Because of family rejection and abuse,” the Biden administration said in a September press release, LGBTQ children are “overrepresented in foster care where they face poor outcomes, including mistreatment and discrimination because of who they are.”

State agencies would be required under the rule to provide safe and appropriate foster care placements for those who are “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex,” along with children who are “non-binary or have non-conforming gender identity or expression.”

A qualifying foster parent would need to be educated on the needs of the child’s sexuality or gender identity and, if the child wishes, “facilitate the child’s access to age-appropriate resources, services, and activities that support their health and well-being.”

An example of a safe and appropriate placement is one where a provider is “expected to utilize the child’s identified pronouns, chosen name, and allow the child to dress in an age-appropriate manner,” according to the proposal, “that the child believes reflects their self-identified gender identity and expression.”

The attorneys general characterize that as “forcing an individual to use another’s preferred pronouns by government fiat,” in violation of the First Amendment.

Robert Fischer, director of communications for Missouri LGBTQ advocacy organization PROMO, said the freedom of religion “doesn’t give any person the right to impose those beliefs on others, particularly to discriminate.” 

“Any state official who claims to put ‘children’s interests first’ and in the same breath is willing to risk their well-being and opportunity to thrive in the name of religion — I think that speaks for itself,” Fischer told The Independent. 

The rule prohibits retaliation against children who identify as LGBTQ or are perceived as LGBTQ.

Public agencies would need to notify children about the option to request foster homes identified as “safe and appropriate” and tell them how to report concerns about their placement.

Agencies would also have to go through extra steps before placing transgender, intersex and gender non-conforming children in group care settings that are divided by sex.

The “majority” of states, according to the proposed rule, would have to “expand their efforts” to recruit and identify providers who could meet the needs of LGBTQ children.

Missouri guidelines

Laws and policies for protecting LGBTQ youth in foster care — relating to kids’ rights, supports, placement considerations, caregiver qualifications and definitions — currently vary by state. 

According to a federal report published in January, which reviewed states’ laws and policies, Missouri does not have laws or policies explicitly addressing any of those five categories.

Most states — 39 states and Washington, D.C. — have “explicit protections from harassment or discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression,” according to a federal report, as of January. Missouri is not one of them. 

Twenty-two  states and D.C. as of January, require agencies to provide tailored services and supports to LGBTQ youth, and eight states and D.C. offer case management and facilitate access to “gender-affirming medical, mental health and social services.”

Children’s Division, the agency within the Missouri Department of Social Services that oversees foster care, offers guidance on their website for providers and child welfare staff in “supporting LGBTQ youth in foster care,” but still does not appear to have official policy on the issue.

A spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Social Services did not respond to a request for comment. 

Those guidelines include using the child’s “preferred name and pronouns,” along with establishing a supportive environment and providing “physically and emotionally safe and supportive care and resources regardless of one’s personal attitudes and beliefs.”

The Department of Social Services is part of the administration of Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, and the guidelines were in place the entire time Bailey was serving as Parson’s general counsel — the second highest ranking job in the governor’s office.  

Bailey’s spokesperson did not immediately respond when asked whether he raised any objections to the guidelines during his tenure with Parson.

AG arguments

 Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey speaks Jan. 20 (Annelise Hanshaw/Missouri Independent).

The 19 attorneys general contend the federal rule would “remove faith-based providers from the foster care system” because of their “religious beliefs on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

They cite Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, a U.S. Supreme Court case that ruled a public agency couldn’t force private, religious foster agencies to allow same-sex foster parents.

The proposed rule itself also acknowledges the Supreme Court case and alleges that by not requiring religious foster-care providers to welcome LGBTQ children, it is complying with the court’s precedent.

But the attorneys general do not believe this is enough. Their letter argues the proposal violates freedom of religion because those unwilling to support LGBTQ foster children “would be excluded from providing care to as many as one-third of foster children ages 12-21.”

“In addition to discriminating against religion, the proposed rule will harm children by limiting the number of available foster homes, harm families by risking kinship placements, and harm states by increasing costs and decreasing care options,” the letter says.

The rule would “discourage individuals and organizations of faith from joining or continuing in foster care,” the attorneys general argue, and “reduce family setting options.” Without faith-based foster parents, the attorneys general say, children would be more likely to be placed in congregate settings.

They also say the rule could disqualify family members who volunteer as placement, or kinship care, if the family member does not agree to support the child’s sexuality or gender identity with age-appropriate resources, as the rule entails.


Clara Bates

Clara Bates covers social services and poverty. She previously wrote for the Nevada Current, where she reported on labor violations in casinos, hurdles facing applicants for unemployment benefits and lax oversight of the funeral industry. She also wrote about vocational education for Democracy Journal. Bates is a graduate of Harvard College and a member of the Report for America Corps.

Annelise Hanshaw

Annelise Hanshaw writes about education — a beat she has covered on both the West and East Coast while working for daily newspapers in Santa Barbara, California, and Greenwich, Connecticut. A born-and-raised Missourian, she is proud to be back in her home state.


The preceding article was previously published by the Missouri Independent and is republished with permission.

The Missouri Independent is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization dedicated to relentless investigative journalism and daily reporting that sheds light on state government and its impact on the lives of Missourians. This service is free to readers and other news outlets.

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Missouri school district hears policy on hoax “litter boxes”

Francis Howell Schools held a hearing on a policy that would ban trans students using bathrooms of their gender identity & litter boxes



Photo Credit: Francis Howell School District in O'Fallon Missouri/Facebook

By Erin Reed | O’FALLON, Mo. –  The Francis Howell School District in suburban St. Louis, Missouri, one of the state’s largest, recently held a hearing regarding a new policy aimed at transgender students and their use of bathrooms.

This policy seeks to prevent transgender youth from using restrooms that match their gender identity, while offering only limited alternative options. Additionally, the policy contains provisions concerning the presence of litter boxes in bathrooms, a baseless rumor circulated by several far-right anti-trans websites that has been proven to be a hoax. The school district is scheduled to vote on this policy in November.

The new policy, Policy 2116, would mandate that transgender students may only utilize restrooms corresponding to the gender marker on their birth certificate. While it advises schools to establish a gender-neutral restroom, the policy only designates one such facility per school and does not require its presence on every floor.

The limited availability of gender-neutral restrooms has previously sparked concerns. Relying solely on them can inadvertently disclose a student’s transgender identity. Additionally, these facilities are often inconveniently located from classrooms and are occupied, leading to potential health complications from youth holding in their pee. Notably, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals determined that “gender-neutral bathrooms” are not a constitutional substitute for allowing transgender individuals to use restrooms matching their gender identity due to these reasons.

The policy dismissively brushes aside these legitimate concerns. It goes so far as to penalize students for “abusing the privilege” of accessing single-use facilities after the imposed ban. If, for example, a student is repeatedly delayed due to the impracticality of such facilities, they risk being barred from using them altogether.

This could result in some schools pushing trans students to use bathrooms corresponding to their sex assigned at birth, simply because the only facility provided is too out of the way for practical use.

See this section of the policy here:

The policy doesn’t stop there. It specifically notes that “Except as necessary due to a physical or kinetic disability, only toilets and urinals shall be used to discharge human waste within restrooms or single-use restrooms.” This seems to allude to the unfounded “litter boxes in classrooms” myth, propagated by Libs of TikTok—a right-wing account notorious for fueling transphobic harassment and violence. The claim is that students “identifying as cats” have demanded litter boxes. To this day, no verified incidents of litter boxes being used in schools exist, except for an isolated case in the late 2010s where kitty litter was stored in classrooms as a precautionary measure during school shootings.

See the section on litter boxes here:

The organization responsible for the election of many of the candidates confirmed this in its published materials. Francis Howell Families, a right-wing organization opposing transgender rights and DEI initiatives, stated that the policy “mandates that only toilets and urinals can be used to dispose of human waste (in other words, no cat litter-boxes for staff to clean up).” The conservative PAC actively campaigns for school board members with anti-trans views and five school board members are backed by this organization.

This is not the first time Francis Howell Families candidates have taken controversial positions and actions. In July, the school board voted to do away with an anti-racism statement. The district is 87% white.

The transgender bathroom policy ignited a tumultuous hearing, drawing numerous people vehemently opposed to enacting it. Amy Easterling, an advocate from Francis Howell Forward, vocally criticized the policy, stating, “The first read of policy 2116 puts our transgender and gender non-conforming students in the crosshairs of a manufactured culture war.” She then chastised the board for succumbing to the litter box myth.

See her testimony:

Though it seems unlikely that this bill will be stopped via vote, it will almost certainly lead to a lawsuit. Becky Hormuth, another voice at the hearing and the parent of a transgender child, stated emphatically, “If this policy passes, my family has no choice but to seek further legal action against the Francis Howell board of education, because inclusivity is not only a moral imperative, it is also a legal one.” Such a policy might come at a steep financial cost for the school board, potentially over a million dollars as seen in other similar lawsuits. In November, the school board will have to weigh whether a policy that discriminates against transgender students is worth such a gamble.


Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here:


The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

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St. Louis judge in trans healthcare case steps aside, with critique

The lawsuit, Noe v. Parson, was filed on behalf of the families of three trans people, medical providers, PFLAG & GLMA



Missouri Independent/Los Angeles Blade graphic

SAINT LOUIS, Mo. – The circuit court judge who denied the petition to block SB 49, which would prevent transgender adolescents in Missouri from accessing evidence-based gender-affirming medical care has agreed to step down from hearing the case.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Steven Ohmer announced at a hearing in the case at the end of last week that he will step aside, but according to the Associated Press Ohmer critiqued the request by the LGBTQ+ plaintiff’s legal representation for a new judge, labeling it “gamesmanship.”

The AP also noted that Missouri Solicitor General Josh Divine argued that the plaintiffs already had been given a new judge — without asking. Plaintiffs’ lawyers said early on that if the case was assigned to Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green, they’d seek a new judge. Green was, indeed, assigned the case, then immediately recused himself.

But Ohmer ruled that Green’s proactive action didn’t prohibit the plaintiffs from exercising their right to a change in judge the AP reported.

“What this case comes down to is much posturing and gamesmanship,” Ohmer said.

Lambda Legal, the ACLU of Missouri, and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP filed the lawsuit in Cole County Circuit Court in July. Ohmer’s denial of a motion for a preliminary injunction at the end of August allowed Missouri’s new restrictions on gender-affirming care for transgender youth to take effect.

The law, which took effect Aug. 28, had provisions that included that physicians who violated the ban were at risk of losing their medical licenses and health care providers could have faced civil lawsuits for prescribing hormones and puberty blockers to minors.

The Kansas City Star noted that the law also would have affected adults, prohibiting Missouri Medicaid dollars from covering gender-affirming care and banning prisons and jails from providing gender-affirming surgeries.

The Associated Press reported that although it allows exceptions for those who were already taking those medications before the law kicked in, the fallout was fast: Both the Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and University of Missouri Health Care in Columbia stopped prescribing puberty blockers and hormones for minors for the purpose of gender transition.

“SB 49 is the latest chapter in Missouri’s relentless attacks on transgender people, and the stories of the families challenging the law demonstrate the immense, devastating harm it is already inflicting on their lives,” said Nora Huppert, Staff Attorney at Lambda Legal. “SB 49 would deny adolescent transgender Missourians access to evidence-based treatment supported by the overwhelming medical consensus. This law is not just harmful and cruel; it is life-threatening.”   

 “On its face, the law enshrines discriminatory practices in our health care system by specifically denying transgender Missourians under the age of eighteen access to evidence-based gender-affirming medical care while stripping parents of their fundamental right to make medical decisions for their children,” said Gillian Wilcox, Deputy Director of Litigation at the ACLU of Missouri. “Extreme politicians in Missouri, like the Attorney General, have made known their desire to ban gender-affirming care throughout the State. This legislation targets very specific, vulnerable populations – young people, those who access health care through Medicaid, and incarcerated individuals – to replace private medical decisions with the will of politicians in Jefferson City.” 

Ohmer was appointed by the Missouri Supreme Court to preside over the lawsuit. 

The lawsuit, Noe v. Parson, was filed on behalf of the families of three transgender people, Southampton Community Healthcare and two of its medical providers, and two organizations representing hundreds of families and health professionals across the state. PFLAG is the nation’s first and largest organization dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and those who love them. GLMA is the oldest and largest association of LGBTQ+ and allied health professionals, including those who treat LGBTQ+ patients.  

Additional reporting by the Associated Press and the Kansas City Star

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Liver damage, caused by COVID drug- not HRT says trans family

Explosive allegations have emerged about allegations against a gender affirming care clinic in Missouri by an employee



EIM/Los Angeles Blade graphic photo montage

By Erin Reed | SAINT LOUIS, Mo. – In February, Jamie Reed, a worker who handled patient intake forms and emails, brought forth a series of explosive allegations against the Washington University School of Medicine’s gender clinic.

Among these allegations were claims that the university was “harming” trans youth by supporting their transition and offering gender-affirming care. Her accusations, first seen in The Free Press, contained several misrepresentations about gender-affirming medical care. In the months that followed, a number of families have come forward, asserting that Reed has lied their care.

On Thursday, investigative reporters from KMOV4’s First Alert 4 team, after speaking with one such family, uncovered a pivotal inaccuracy that could damage Jamie Reed’s credibility: a trans teen’s liver damage was likely caused by a COVID medication, not the hormone blocking medication she was on.

In Jamie Reed’s allegations against the gender clinic, she claimed that one trans girl (who she intentionally misgenders and uses male pronouns for) was sent to another unit of the hospital and immediately taken off the drug after she experienced liver damage:

As with most cancer drugs, bicalutamide has a long list of side effects, and this patient experienced one of them: liver toxicity. [She] was sent to another unit of the hospital for evaluation and immediately taken off the drug. Afterward, [her] mother sent an electronic message to the Transgender Center saying that we were lucky her family was not the type to sue.”

This allegation was one of a handful of claims that the gender affirming care clinic was harming trans youth despite following international protocol for their care. This claim even appeared in Reed’s sworn affidavit to Attorney General Andrew Bailey, who has personally opposed gender affirming care and who led an effort to ban such care for many transgender adults earlier this year, before those efforts were blocked in court.

You can see this allegation here:

The family provided medical records to the investigative team, demonstrating that the liver damage occurred after the intake of a COVID medication known to cause such harm, not from bicalutamide. Moreover, the family pointed out that Jamie Reed omitted a crucial part of their communication with the gender-affirming care clinic concerning the event.

In the lines following the section of their email mentioned in Jamie Reed’s accusations, the family wrote, “we don’t regret any decision and would never have denied our daughter these life-saving treatments.” Jamie Reed’s allegations indeed leave this portion of the email out of her reporting.

This is not the first time Reed’s allegations have come under dispute by families who were treated at the clinic.

An article in the Missouri Independent featured multiple families contesting her assertions. Several parents, for example, noted prolonged waits spanning months and numerous visits to receive care, contradicting Reed’s allegations of patients being rushed into treatment.

Another family highlighted that their trans child was advised to “put surgery out of your mind until you’re 18,” conflicting with Reed’s claim that the center made surgical referrals. Jess Jones, a colleague of Reed, corroborates this, mentioning the clinic never made such referrals. Jones further claims that Reed proposed patients undergo IQ tests to qualify for gender-affirming care, a procedure neither endorsed by any leading medical institution nor backed by scientific validation.

Despite this, Reed’s allegations have been used by those who oppose care for transgender youth. In Missouri, Senate Republicans cited Jamie Reed’s claims to pass a gender affirming care ban for trans youth in the state.

She has submitted sworn testimony in favor of gender affirming care bans for trans youth in other states, such as Indiana.

In Nebraska, a legislator incorrectly referred to Reed as a doctor, and stated that her allegations justify banning gender affirming care for trans youth. Her credibility directly has played a role in these bans.

Jamie Reed’s platform continues to grow among pseudoscience organizations like SEGM and Genspect, which are both holding conferences in the next month. She will be speaking at both of these conferences alongside noted anti-trans activists such as James Lindsey, who played a role in the proliferation of the “groomer” slur for LGBTQ+ people and allies, and Stella O’Malley, who has called transgender children fetishists who deserve “no empathy.”

For her former patients and trans youth worldwide, however, her platform comes at their expense, and her assertions, despite lacking credibility, have helped lead to a loss of their care.


Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here:


The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

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‘Trans is beautiful’ Missouri high school senior says, defies haters

Young told the Kansas City Star newspaper that the hatred would not deter her from living her life authentically



17-year-old Tristan Young described the joy she felt when two weeks ago her peers at suburban Oak Park High School had chosen her for their 2023 homecoming queen. (Screenshot/Kansas City Star video)

NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. – In a recent interview with the Kansas City Star newspaper, 17-year-old Tristan Young described the joy she felt when two weeks ago her peers at suburban Oak Park High School had chosen her for their 2023 homecoming queen.

Tristan Young, center, crowned homecoming queen standing alongside other candidates.
(Photo Credit: Oak Park High School North Kansas City School District/Facebook)

As the Young approached midfield at half-time in the game, along with the four other nominees, she told the Star she heard the roar of her classmates cheering and applauding at the sound of her name. She was chosen queen and for the transgender senior it was ‘the’ moment.

“I was so overwhelmed,” Young told the Star. “I thought I was never going to be in this position. And, in that moment, I had tears welling in my eyes because I just felt so supported. And I just felt like, this school wants me to be who I am, and not who other people want me to be.”

However, the next day Young was caught up in an explosion of transphobic hate speech and threats from across the United States.

The transphobic hate and threats was spread on Facebook, Instagram, and on X, formerly known as Twitter, where the notorious Libs of TikTok, a handle for the far-right anti-LGBTQ+ hate speech social-media accounts operated by Chaya Raichik- a former Brooklyn, New York real estate agent, spread the anti-trans messaging directed at Young.

Libs of TikTok has millions of followers and the account’s vitriol and hate speech has in the past fomented and instigated threats against the LGBTQ+ community and allies.

The Star also reported that with the deluge of hatred directed at the teenager, family members including a sister attending university in Boston became alarmed and called home.

“She was worried about Tristan being safe,” said Chari Young, the senior’s mother told the Star.

Responding to the threats Young told the paper,

“The comment that has stuck with me,” Young said, “was that I should have been dragged off the field by my hair and beaten up.”

While no one is certain how the news spread nationally, although once Raichik posted about young, the inevitable tsunami of hate followed. Ironically the Star reported that Young was in fact the second transwoman crowned homecoming queen at Oak Park High.

Nearly 8 years to the day on September 15, 2015, Landon Patterson, 18, was named homecoming queen.

Landon Patterson in September of 2015 after being named homecoming queen at Oak Park High School. (Screenshot/KMBC ABC 9)

Young told the paper that the hatred would not deter her from living her life authentically.

“I’m just not one of those people,” Young said. “I like to stay strong. I don’t really buckle unless something is really wrong. Right now, what’s happening is people are trying to turn a joyous thing into something that I should regret. But it’s going to stay a joyous thing.” She added that ‘Trans is beautiful.”

Local advocacy groups and others including former trans homecoming queen Patterson have rallied to the teen’s side.

Justice Horn, the chair of the Kansas City LGBTQ Commission, posted on X: “I uplift this against the transphobic comments against this young person.”

“I told her stay strong. You’re gorgeous. You’re beautiful. And no matter what these people say, they can’t take away this crown. They can’t take away this moment from you,” Patterson told The Star, adding, “Everything is amplified as a kid. Choosing yourself over everyone else’s opinion takes a lot of courage and bravery. … All these things that they said about her, that they said about me, what they say about trans people, it’s truly just ignorance. They probably don’t even know a trans person. They’re just saying things to be hateful. “Being trans is a reality. This is our life. It’s not going away.”

Additional reporting by the Kansas City Star and wire service reports.


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ACLU sues school district for denying trans access to bathroom

The student “lives as a female and was living as a female when she was denied the use of the girls’ restroom at her school”



Platte County High School in Missouri (Screenshot/YouTube KCTV5)

PLATTE CITY, Mo. — The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri filed a lawsuit against Platte County School District for allegedly denying a transgender former student access to bathrooms matching her gender identity, the group announced on Tuesday.

The complaint argues the district’s policies and practices violated provisions of the Missouri Human Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the state’s constitution.

“Forcing transgender students to use the bathroom or locker room that matches their sex designated at birth is not only discrimination but dangerous and causes serious harm to Missouri’s youth,” said Gillian Wilcox, deputy director of litigation at the ACLU of Missouri, in a press release announcing the move.

The student “lives as a female and was living as a female when she was denied the use of the girls’ restroom at her school,” and received “a series of escalating punishments ranging from verbal warnings to out-of-school suspension” for noncompliance with the policy, according to the press release.

When she began using the boys’ restroom after serving a suspension, the student was harassed and threatened with rape, the ACLU of Missouri said. Suffering anxiety and depression, she was unable to return to school and finished her freshman year virtually.

The Movement Advancement Projects tracks laws across the country restricting trans people’s access to restrooms and facilities consistent with their gender identities. These range from statutes defining “sex” in ways that may impact access to Florida’s law that criminalizes the use of “bathrooms and facilities consistent with their gender identity in all schools, colleges and government-owned buildings and spaces.”

The ACLU of Missouri is challenging efforts to ban gender affirming care for minors through implementation of Senate Bill 49 and the state attorney general’s attempt to use consumer protection laws for this purpose, joined in litigation by Lambda Legal and the law firm Bryan Cave.

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Missouri Governor Parson signs anti-trans legislation

Parson told capital reporters that he signed the measures without a ceremony and in private because “the issue is divisive to some” 



Missouri Republican Governor Mike Parson (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

JEFFERSON CITY – Senate Bill 39, a law that bans transgender athletes, kindergarten through college, from participating in school-sanctioned team sports, and Senate Bill 49, a bill revoking access to gender-affirming healthcare for transgender minors and some adults, were signed by Republican Governor Mike Parson on Wednesday, June 7; Both measures will go into effect on August 28. 

According to the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, Parson told capital reporters that he signed the measures without a ceremony and in private because “the issue is divisive to some.” 

Addressing SB49, Parson noted: “We support everyone’s right to his or her own pursuit of happiness; however, we must protect children from making life-altering decisions that they could come to regret in adulthood once they have physically and emotionally matured.”

PROMO, Missouri’s LGBTQ+ public policy and advocacy organization, said in a statement:

“The final signature of the governor comes during the month-long Pride celebration across the country for the LGBTQ+ community, which recognizes the progress made in our community’s quest for equality, respect, and safety and the battles yet to come. These laws are not what Missourians want, and cities across our state have shown up to double down on protecting transgender youth and adults.”

The ACLU of Missouri issued the following statement:

“The anti-trans legislation Governor Parson penned into law will be devastating for trans people of all ages. While the government pushed this deceitful bill behind the guise of protecting children, buried within the law is a ban on health care for adults based on the amount of money they earn or whether they are incarcerated. 

“As was true with the Attorney General’s failed attempt to limit care for all trans Missourians with his emergency rule, Senate Bill 49 ignores the evidence-based clinical recommendations of every major medical association. This law strips patients and parents of their rights and requires that decisions related to medical treatment that should be based on consent informed by medical professionals be dictated by the uninformed opinions of politicians.

“In alarming fashion, legislators took extraordinary efforts to target and prevent eight students statewide from playing sports in SB 39, while choosing to not solve issues that would benefit all Missouri students such as Missouri’s teacher shortage.

“These bills do nothing but harm transgender Missourians and their families while adding inequities to a system already ripe with discriminatory laws and practices. The ACLU of Missouri will continue to explore all options to fight these bans and to expand the rights of trans Missourians.”

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