SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KOLR) — Right now there are some proposed laws in Jefferson City that would punish doctors and parents for allowing anyone under the age of 18 to go through gender reassignment treatment or surgery.
As those bills make their way through the legislative session at the capitol, a Springfield teen is in the process of transitioning.
KOLR10’s Jesse Inman spoke to the parent of that teenager about how they are handling it as a family and what they want lawmakers to understand about situations like theirs.
Brea Brown and her husband have three kids and they worry about the same things a lot of families do. But almost three years ago their oldest child, who was born male, wanted the family to know something.
“When Jacki told us that she was trans, first of all, it wasn’t like, ‘Hey, I’m trans,’ it’s a gradual thing,” Brown said. “It’s getting to know oneself. She just knew that there was something different about her, that her insides didn’t match what the world was seeing.”
Brown says it was an emotional and difficult experience at first, working to find information, and consulting with doctors about options.
“It runs the gamut from just puberty blockers, which is totally reversible, all the way up to surgical measures,” Brown said.
The family is still in the process of exploring the possibilities for their teen, but two bills making their way through the capitol right now are designed to stop gender reassignment actions for minors.
House bill 2051 adds new language to the definition of child abuse to include parents allowing children under 18 to undergo procedures for the purpose of gender reassignment, specifically surgical or hormonal treatment.
House bill 1721 could result in a doctor losing their medical license and parents would be reported to social services.
“It’s very discouraging to be told that with my support of my child, I could be imprisoned or lose custody of my child because people in Jefferson City don’t understand something,” Brown said. “It’s not the only part of her. It’s not the only part of who she is.”
Brown says things at school for Jacki have been pretty good for the most part, with many students accepting her for who she is.
House bills 1721 and 2051 are still in committee, yet to be voted on.