St. Louis mayor signs executive order to support transgender community

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones on Thursday 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 transgender laws restricting gender-affirming care and sports participation passed earlier this month by Missouri lawmakers.

Under the order, the city's health department will increase access to information about gender-affirming care; inclusivity training will be incorporated for new and current city employees; city-run sports programs will not ask participants about their gender identity; and one bathroom in each city building will be designated as an all-gender facility, KSDK-TV reported.

The city’s economic development arm also will be asked to recommend incentives for businesses to support gender inclusivity.

Jones, a Democrat, signed the order after a discussion with LGBTQ+ leaders about how the new Missouri legislation will affect their community.

The legislation would ban gender-affirming care for minors and prohibits transgender girls and women from participating on girls sports teams, from kindergarten through college. Gov. Mike Parson has not signed the laws, but he is expected to do so.

“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.