And for goodness sake, CHECK IN WITH YOUR LGBTQ+ LOVED ONES, ESPECIALLY WHO ARE CHILDREN. They need to know they are loved, adored, celebrated, and valued in public spaces. That they are incredible, strong, talented, thoughtful, genius. Appreciate them.
Folks, you need to listen up right now. I need everyone to be informed right now and give a damn right now, because in the state of Missouri, Republican representatives are pushing for legislation that is blatantly anti-LGBTQ that is going to harm people, regardless of sex, gender, expression, attraction, identity, practice, or religion.
I need you to give a damn right now because this is empirically discrimination and oppression against a marginalized group of people that have been begging, kicking, and screaming for help from everyone. Everyone.
As of Jan. 12, at least 27 anti-LGBTQ bills have already been introduced by Missouri Republicans, accounting for roughly 21% of legislation introduced nationwide in state legislatures that target the community, according to the ACLU. Texas is second with 15 bills, followed by South Carolina at 12. Only one bill has been filed in Kansas so far.
That is more than double the amount of bills of the state in second place for anti-LGBTQ legislation.
Among these bills are laws that
- restrict gender transitioning healthcare especially to those under the age of 18,
- introduce covenant marriages (which can be harmful to EVERYONE; these are marriage licenses that make it harder to be legally divorced) but only being available to heterosexual couples (odd, but okay,),
- restricting certain kinds of children OR SUSPECTED CHILDREN from participating in school sports teams (explicitly detailing that trans girls or children suspected of being trans girls will not be allowed onto the girls’ team, but girls and trans boys may participate on the boys’ team),
- PROHIBIT EDUCATION OF BIOLOGICAL SEX, GENDER, SEXUAL EDUCATION, SEXUAL ACTIVITY OUTSIDE OF CIS-HETEROSUXUAL ATTRACTION, and SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS.
Some of these bills even go on to forbid “engaging in an adult cabaret performance.” A Cabaret performance is defined as an evening performance, usually aimed for the audience of adults, that may include singing, dancing, acting, comedy, or other forms of talent, that DOES NOT necessarily include explicitly adult or vulgar themes. It was intentionally left ambiguous.
Conservatives are using this bill to advocate legally recognizing drag performances as a form of sexual entertainment that will need to be restricted from children audiences and public view. The reason that conservatives want to restrict drag performance from being observed in public or where children may see it is to censor this kind of performance, describing it as something of inherently sexual nature or sexually disturbing.
There is nothing inherently sexual about dressing up as a dramatization of a feminine character and singing, dancing, performing comedy, or performing other talents.
The notion that dressing up in over-exaggerated makeup, wearing brightly colored dresses, and colorful and wild hair styles and existing in public is “sexual” comes from the conservative ideas that femininity is sexually alluring, because women are sexual creatures to be kept neat, tidy, and quiet under a man, whether the man be her husband or her father.
To conservatives, anything LGBTQ is inherently sexual because it defies their foundational perspective of viewing and navigating life (and legislating that the world around them ought to view and behave in the same manner) in a rigid two-option system without any question, doubt, or further exploration. Anything LGBTQ is inherently sexual because it defies the conservative’s beliefs of only being born as one sex or the other that will determine what role you will serve in life:
if you were born with an observable penis, you will be a man and be able to pursue many directions of life however you life, and if you are born with an observable vulva, you will grow up to be a supportive woman to a man (or several men), take care of the house chores, and be the primary caretaker of all the children you will have.
These bills oppress us, regardless of practice, and will bring harm to both children and adults. It expands the opportunities for others to discriminate, bully, and otherwise harm or put others into danger. This is not a soft kind of danger; this is a big fat red flag with an alarm of danger.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
If you are able to donate just a small amount of funds every now and then, it can be anywhere from once a paycheck to once a month to once every 3 months, DONATE to powerful organizations and loud advocates that fight these bills at the capitol. Such as
- PROMO (Promoting Missouri LGBTQ+)
- GLSEN (Gay and Lesbian Independent School Teachers Network)
- ACLU-MO (American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri)
- Planned Parenthood
- Human Rights Campaign
Email or leave a voice message to your state representatives. It does not have to be a long, emotional, intricately drafted message. Simply email the state representatives who introduce, sponsor, and support these bills that you sincerely oppose and dissent these kinds of legislative measures. (Advice from my personal experience: If you really want to reach a representative emotionally, write a few strong sentences to yourself, practice reading it out loud a couple times, then make a phone call. Whether you hear a person pick up or you hear a voicemail message, express your dissent with great emotion. If a person picks up, do not let them speak until you have finished. After you have finished speaking, you can simply hang up on them. Mic drop.)
If you are able to, PLEASE show up and participate at civil events! We NEED allies. We NEED numbers. We NEED everyone from supportive family and friends, to quietly supportive neighbors, to folks who just think LGBTQ people should not be so discriminately targeted, who think LGTBQ people should be included in all American activities in life without the constant hateful criticism. Even if you feel like you cannot agree with LGBTQ people 100% whatever it may be, it means A LOT when you can show up and be quietly supportive, standing with us.
If you find yourself unable to do any of those things, you can still socially advocate for LGBTQ people in your neighborhood, communities, and state by
- Standing by and sticking around LGBTQ people who may be vulnerable.
- Expressing that you love your LGBTQ neighbors, friends, and family. Especially LGBTQ children who may be facing discrimination or vulnerability. Say good things about queer kids and queer people, like queer kids belong, they are nice, they are loved, and ought to be happy. Especially say and explain these things to children who might know someone in their class who is LGBTQ!
- Calmly expressing disapproval to LGBTQ discrimination in your every day conversations. If someone says something hateful, all you really need to say is, “Well that’s not very nice.” It’s short, sweet, to the point, and unaggressively persuasive. “I know a trans person from work and they are really cool. She’s really into embroidery and even wears some of her embroidery to work.”
- Go and vote. Seriously.
Vote out conservatives (Republicans) and vote in progressives (usually Democrats) that advocate and fight for LGBTQ lives and other marginalized groups. The math does not lie: for each person who votes for progressive representatives increases the count and likelihood for a progressive candidate to get into office and occupy a seat, and each vote negates a vote for conservative candidates. The numbers DO add up when you submit a vote.
- Check on your friends and encourage them to vote for progressives, too. Encourage them to check that their voter’s registration is active. Invite them to go to the polls with you. Make a day out of it and get ice cream afterward.
- CHECK ON YOUR LGBTQ+ LOVED ONES. Genuinely ask them how they are doing, if they need anything, if they need to talk. Offer to hangout to listen to them in person. Accompany them in public if they would feel safer with a friend while running errands.
And for goodness sake, CHECK IN WITH YOUR LGBTQ+ LOVED ONES WHO ARE CHILDREN. They need to know they are loved, adored, celebrated, and valued in public spaces. That they are incredible, strong, talented, thoughtful, genius. Appreciate them.
SB 49, SB 164, SB 236, HB 463, HB 540, HB 916. “Missouri Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act,” “Missouri’s Children Deserve Help Not
HB 498, SB 429