Late last week, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones (d) signed an executive order designed to make transgender people feel more welcome in the city.
The order calls for city agencies to pursue policies that will reduce the impact of restrictive laws affecting gender-affirming care and sports participation. Missouri lawmakers passed a similar measure earlier this month.
Under the order, the St. Louis health department will increase access to information and enforce policy in the following areas:
• Broader access to gender-affirming care,
• Inclusivity training for new and current city employees,
• Barring city-run sports programs from asking participants about their gender identity, and,
• Designating one bathroom in each city building as an all-gender facility.
Additionally, the city’s economic development arm also will be asked to recommend incentives for businesses to support greater gender inclusivity.
Mayor Jones signed the order following a discussion with LGBTQ+ leaders exploring how the new Missouri legislation could affect their communities.
“I’ve heard from trans youth and their families who feel like hateful attacks from Jefferson City Republicans will force them to leave our state,” Jones said in a statement. “This order sends the message that St. Louis will fight to protect our trans community in the face of bigotry.”
Kansas City recently declared itself a sanctuary for LGBTQ+ people seeking gender-affirming care. The city’s police chief said the department will not enforce the law because it does not include criminal sanctions. And if a state law is passed that adds criminal penalties, city employees will make enforcement a low 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.