Kansas City declares itself a transgender ‘safe haven’ for Missouri. What that means

Kansas City Council approved a resolution designating Kansas City a safe haven for gender-affirming healthcare, a 11-1 vote, with Heather Hall voting no. EMILY CURIEL ecuriel@kcstar.com

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas signs the Safe Haven resolution bill at Kansas City’s City Hall on Thursday, May 11, 2023.

Kansas City Council is aiming to make the city a “safe haven” for those seeking gender-affirming health care. A new resolution passed Thursday by the council on a vote of 11-1, with council member Heather Hall voting no. The resolution, sponsored by Mayor Quinton Lucas and council members Andrea Bough and Eric Bunch, would instruct city personnel not to participate in the enforcement of several laws and an emergency order targeting transgender people in Missouri.

Kansas City has become a battleground of sorts for transgender rights in recent months, with Republican lawmakers on both sides of the state line pushing bills to regulate the lives of transgender and non-binary individuals ranging from school sports to public bathrooms to health care access. “Resolutions are a statement of our intent,” Bough told The Star. “It sets a tone about how we view the trans community… (and) how we address and welcome all people.” Kansas City’s resolution will mostly apply to the actions of city agencies, which play limited roles in enforcing state restrictions and penalizing those who violate them. If Missouri lawmakers decide that providing gender-affirming care is a crime, city employees will be excused from reporting or assisting investigations into providers and patients.

“The efficacy of this is based upon what we end up with in Jefferson City,” Lucas said in the committee hearing on the proposal Wednesday morning. Here’s what the resolution says, and what it could mean for Kansas Citians. WHAT WILL THE TRANSGENDER SAFE HAVEN RESOLUTION CHANGE IN THE CITY? Essentially, the resolution gives city employees permission to look the other way when it comes to state laws targeting transgender people. The language of the resolution instructs city staff to treat the enforcement of laws banning gender-affirming health care as “their lowest priority.” This might look like the city’s health department refusing to share data on trans patients with the state, the parks department allowing trans girls to join a female sports team at summer camp or a city code inspector putting reports of a gender-affirming clinic at the bottom of their agenda. “We are, in essence, giving our (city) employees cover by saying, we don’t expect you to prosecute, to assist, to do certain things that are covered in the resolution,” Bough told The Star.

Read more at: https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article275284071.html#storylink=cpy


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