KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The city is a step closer to officially becoming a safe haven for the transgender community.
Members of a Kansas City Council committee approved an ordinance declaring it a sanctuary for people who are either seeking or giving gender-affirming care.
The resolution says the city will not prosecute or fine any person or organization that provides, seeks, receives, or gives gender-affirming care. That care includes puberty blockers, hormones, surgery, and other care.
The vote happened the same morning the Missouri Legislature approved a bill that would ban the care for transgender minors. Gov. Mike Parson is expected to sign the bill into law.
It also comes after Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey proposed emergency rules requiring anyone to undergo more than a year of therapy and meet other requirements before they are eligible for gender-affirming care.
Councilmember Andrea Bough sponsored Kansas City’s ordinance. She said the resolution lets LGBTQIA in Kansas City know the city has their backs and leaders will stand against harmful legislation.
“I think it’s something that the city needs to send a message, not only to our trans community that we stand in support and that we will be that safe haven, but also to the greater region, the state of Missouri that this is something important to Kansas City,” Bough said.
LGBTQ advocates agree.
“I think it shows that Kansas City is committed to supporting trans and non-binary people and not prosecuting or criminalizing them which historically, especially for trans people of color, we’ve been criminalized,” Merrique Jenson, Founding Executive Director at Transformations, said.
Not everyone agrees.
Councilmember Heather Hall said the topic shouldn’t be discussed by city leaders and topic should be between the person and their doctor.
“I don’t see why the city government is dictating or telling people we care, we don’t care, we like, we don’t like you, whatever,” Councilwoman Heather Hall said. “I don’t understand why we’re talking about this today.”
Bough argued the city is reacting to state leaders.
“I speak as a mother who would do anything possible to give their children the needed medical care that they so deserve,” Bough said.
Others worried the decision could cause backlash from the state Attorney General’s Office. Mayor Quinton Lucas compared the city’s decision to its recent cannabis rule.
“The Jackson County Prosecutor also issued a directive that she would decline to prosecute marijuana offenses at a certain level,” Mayor Quinton Lucas said. “So the question is what negative came upon the city or the prosecutor’s office relaying to that.”
Councilwoman Bough said this decision lets trans people in Kansas City know the city has their back and will stand against harmful legislation.