Members of the trans community take a stand against Missouri Senate bill

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) — For the past decade, March 31 has been celebrated by many in the transgender and LGBTQ+ community as International Transgender Day of Visibility. This year, News 4 spoke with members of that community to hear their stories and how certain laws might affect them in Missouri.

“It’s been my whole life. So, you know, I really knew that. I first came out as gay in 2018, slowly started to present myself as more masculine. I would say I pretty much assumed the presentation I have now at the start of 2019,” said Kase Hohlt.

Hohlt, originally from Metro East, grew up in what they described as a perfect, loving family. Hohlt identifies as non-binary trans-masc and said being able to celebrate Transgender Visibility Day as themselves is a blessing.

“Living it out loud, I mean, that’s how you break down barriers. This is how you make people see you as a human being, by showing you that you are not ashamed, that you are proud, that you are happy and that you are comfortable”, a said Hohlt.

Hohlt began transitioning in 2019 and underwent surgery. Hohlt said they now feel more comfortable in their own skin. However, they and others in the trans community said feeling comfortable is rare.

“The first reality you realize when you have a trans child is that your government is at war with you,” Daniel Bogard said.

Bogard has a transgender son. It was a decision he said his son made when he was 6 years old.

“It’s so clear when you know these kids that they know who they are. It’s not a game, it’s not a simulation or a disguise, it’s an expression of their basic humanity,” Bogard said.

For the past two months, Bogard has fought against Missouri legislation for her son and other members of the trans community. Currently, several bills are being discussed that would ban trans children from participating in sports, bills calling for “protecting only women’s sports” and even bills criminalizing parents who help children to make the transition.

One bill is Senate Bill 740, sponsored by Republican Senator for St. Charles, Bill Eigel. In the last part of the bill, it designates gendered sports in private and public colleges and high schools. Wording that “no athletic team or sport designated for women, women or girls shall be open to male students as assigned at birth. The bill would also prevent schools, institutions or organizations to receive complaints and even investigations.

“He’s targeting kids, and I think that’s really key here because we’re not talking about professional athletics,” Bogard said.

Hohlt echoed that and said kids don’t have to feel comfortable.

“Wanting to take something like that away from a kid and make them feel even more ostracized, like where’s the humanity in that?” said Hohlt.

News 4 made several attempts to schedule an interview with Senator Eigel this week to discuss SB740. We also sent a list of questions. His office responded to the request saying “the senator has nothing further to add.”

If you want to dive deeper into Hohlt’s transition journey, you can check out the “Beyond the Before and After” docuseries featuring Hohlt and others. Click on here to see and learn more.

Norman D. Briggs