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MU Faculty Council expresses solidarity with those affected by gender-affirming care policy

Six columns stand outside of Jessie Hall at the University of Missouri. It is dark outside so the columns are lit up by lights on the ground.
Austin Anderson
MU Faculty shows support for those affected by recent gender-affirming care decisions.

The MU Faculty Council approved a statement of solidarity with those affected by new state laws and MU Health Care’s halt on gender-affirming care for minors, two weeks after it failed to hold a vote on the issue.

After two revisions, the council voted to approve the statement Thursday, with 22 votes in favor, one vote in opposition and no abstentions.

Previous statements presented to the council asked MU Health Care to “reinstate care for minor transgender patients” who were receiving treatment prior to Aug. 28. The new, approved statement does not make demands and instead focuses more on consoling those affected.

Missouri enacted Senate Bill 49 in September, which prohibits some transgender Missourians from receiving gender-affirming health care. This left individual health care providers to determine their own parameters, the Missourian has reported. After the bill was enacted, MU Health Care stopped providing puberty blockers and hormones to minors currently receiving treatment, which goes beyond what state law allows.

“MU’s Faculty Council expresses our support and concern for our colleagues who are transgender as well as families within our organization affected by recent changes in the law concerning transgender healthcare,” the approved statement read. “We acknowledge the constraints that the law has placed on medical providers and recognize that physicians continue to provide other care to their patients.”

Although the statement acknowledged the legal ramifications of continuing gender-affirming care, it implored MU and MU Health Care to “ensure an inclusive and supportive environment for all members of the university community.”

The statement suggested MU and MU Health Care expand access to mental health services, provide educational resources such as workshops and support groups and expand legal support for affected families.

The nuanced legal aspects of the law and differing views among faculty members were among concerns raised at previous council meetings.

MU Health Care spokesperson Eric Maze said that SB 49’s underlying legal implications meant a possible risk of physicians losing their licenses and facing thousands of dollars in fines for practicing gender-affirming care for minors, the Missourian previously reported.

Some faculty representatives sent out surveys to their constituents to gauge whether they approved the language of the statement prior to Thursday’s meeting.

Carlos Wexler, a representative of the College of Arts and Science, said the poll conducted in his college found 75% of responses voted in favor of the statement, 23% of responses opposed the statement and 2% abstained or had no opinion.

The Columbia Missourian is a community news organization managed by professional editors and staffed by Missouri School of Journalism students who do the reporting, design, copy editing, information graphics, photography and multimedia.
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