Kansas City declares itself an LGBTQ+ sanctuary, defying state on care for trans youth

Missouri Atty. Gen. Andrew Bailey
Missouri Atty. Gen. Andrew Bailey has put forth an emergency rule requiring adults and children to undergo more than a year of therapy before receiving gender-affirming treatment.
(David A. Lieb / Associated Press)

Officials in Missouri’s largest city have approved a resolution to declare it a sanctuary for people seeking or providing gender-affirming care, defying state lawmakers who voted a day earlier to ban such care for minors and restrict it for some adults.

Democratic Mayor Quinton Lucas praised the City Council’s 12-1 vote Thursday, saying Kansas City is committed to being a “welcoming, inclusive and safe place for everyone, including our transgender and LGBTQ+ community.”

Kansas City’s new sanctuary status sets it apart as a Democratic-leaning city in a state with a Republican governor and GOP-controlled Legislature. Similar actions have been taken in cities that oppose state actions to restrict rights for transgender people, such as in Austin, Texas.


Gov. Mike Parson is expected to sign into law the ban on gender-affirming care, joining at least 16 other states that have enacted laws restricting or banning such care for minors.

The resolution also comes as a judge considers a proposed emergency rule from Republican state Atty. Gen. Andrew Bailey that would require adults and children to undergo more than a year of therapy and fulfill other requirements before they could receive gender-affirming treatment.

A committee signed off Wednesday on the resolution, which says the city will not prosecute or fine any person or organization that seeks, provides, receives or helps someone to receive gender-affirming care such as puberty blockers, hormones or surgery.

Republican legislators in Kansas have enacted possibly the most sweeping transgender bathroom law in the U.S. The GOP-controlled Legislature on Thursday overrode Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of the measure.

April 27, 2023

It also says that if the state passes a law or resolution that imposes criminal or civil punishments, fines or professional sanctions in such cases, personnel in Missouri’s largest city will make enforcing those requirements “their lowest priority.”

Republican state lawmakers across the U.S. who have attacked gender-affirming care as part of a larger effort to curtail LGBTQ+ rights have argued that they’re protecting children from decisions they may later regret. But gender-affirming care for minors has been available in the U.S. for more than a decade and is endorsed by major medical associations.

“This is an important first step in Kansas City’s commitment to trans and nonbinary people,” Merrique Jenson, founder of Transformations KC, said in a statement after the vote. “I look forward to trans leaders and Kansas City working together to address the health disparities in our communities and ways we can have sustainable funding & programming reaching all trans people.”