Human Rights Campaign: Missouri Attorney General Issues “Direct Attack on the Health and Freedom of Transgender Missourians”

by HRC Staff

Jefferson City, Missouri – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — condemned Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey for issuing a discriminatory gender-affirming care rule. The emergency rule - which becomes effective on April 27 and expires February 6, 2024 - declares that it is “an unfair, deceptive, fraudulent, or otherwise unlawful practice” for “any person or health organization” to provide gender-affirming medical care or refer a client for gender-affirming care unless a series of unnecessary, discriminatory, and offensive conditions are met. These new rules directly contradict the conclusions of every credible medical organization which has repeatedly stated that gender-affirming care is safe and necessary.

Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley released the following statement:

“The regulations issued by the Missouri Attorney General are a direct attack on the health and freedom of transgender Missourians. Denying anyone access to age-appropriate, medically necessary and often lifesaving health care is always harmful; singling out transgender Missourians is cruel and discriminatory. These regulations willfully ignore the broad consensus of medical professionals, who have overwhelmingly agreed that gender-affirming care is safe, necessary, and life-saving. The Attorney General is dangerously politicizing medical decisions that should be left to individuals and their doctors, taking away the right of transgender people of all ages to make decisions about their own health care and surrendering to anti-LGBTQ+ hate groups even if it means endangering the lives of Missourians. The Human Rights Campaign condemns these regulations in the strongest possible terms and calls on the Missouri Attorney General to immediately rescind them.”

Gender-affirming care is age-appropriate care that is medically necessary for the well-being of many transgender and non-binary people who experience symptoms of gender dysphoria, or distress that results from having one’s gender identity not match their sex assigned at birth. Gender-affirming care is the integration of medical, mental health and social services. For transgender children, transition is an entirely social process which may include a new name or pronouns, wearing different clothes or styling one’s hair differently. At puberty, doctors may一in consultation with and having the informed consent of the transgender youth and their parents一prescribe reversible medication known as puberty-blockers, which allow a young person to safely reach an age in which they’re truly able to consent to further treatment.


Every credible medical organization – representing over 1.3 million doctors in the United States – calls for age-appropriate gender-affirming care for transgender and non-binary people.

  • “Transition-related” or “gender-affirming” care looks different for every transgender and non-binary person.

  • Parents, their kids, and doctors make decisions together, and no medical interventions with permanent consequences happen until a transgender person is old enough to give truly informed consent.

Transgender children are not undergoing irreversible medical changes.

  • This is a fundamental misunderstanding about what transition looks like for kids.

  • Therapists, parents and health care providers work together to determine which changes to make at a given time are in the best interest of the child.

  • Some people take medication, and some do not; some adults have surgeries, and others do not. How someone transitions is their choice, to be made with their family and their doctor.

  • In most young children, this care can be entirely social. This means:
    • New name

    • New hairstyle

    • New clothing

    • None of this care is irreversible.

Being transgender is not new.

  • Some say it can feel like being transgender is very new – but that’s because the media has been covering it more in recent months and years.

  • But transgender people have always existed and will continue to exist regardless of the bills we pass.

  • And very few transgender people change their mind.

ALL gender-affirming care is:

  • Age-appropriate

  • Medically necessary

  • Supported by all major medical organizations

  • Made in consultation with medical and mental health professionals AND parents

And in many cases, this care is lifesaving:

  • A recent study from the Trevor Project provides data supporting this — transgender youth with access to gender-affirming hormone therapy have lower rates of depression and are at a lower risk for suicide.

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The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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