My testimony at this week’s hearing in the Missouri Legislature on eight proposed anti-LGBTQ+ laws. Big thanks to PROMO for the hard work of organizing 300+ people to give testimony for over 8 hours to try and stop this attack.
Good evening. My name is the Rev Mike Angell. I am a husband, father, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and the priest and pastor at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion in University City Missouri. I am here to voice my opposition to all eight bills attacking the LGBTQ+ community, but specifically these laws which defund schools for allowing trans kids to play…in the spirit of civility, I want to say I liked that the image of the “altar of inclusivity” which representative Seitz used, I might borrow that. In the spirit of civility, I’m not going to doubt your intentions. I’m going to trust that some of you are trying to do good. But there is a gap between intention and impact. After all these hours of testimony, you have to hear the horrific impact your bills will have on this community.
Doubtless today we will hear about the book of Genesis. We will likely hear that God created humanity male and female, from chapter 1, verse 27. That reading makes it sounds like the gender binary is the point of the teaching. It isn’t. There’s a repetition in the verse: God created humanity in Gods own image. Human beings have the capacity to do such good. Why would we spend our time, like this, trying to limit people from flourishing?
Last night, my husband and I were explaining to my four year old why I needed to get up before five in the morning to be in Jefferson City, why I wouldn’t be back in time to put him to bed. I knew he wouldn’t understand the medical treatment question, but he understands play. I told him, “Some lawmakers want to make a law to keep your friends from playing sports.” Now, our son is about the most gender normative kid you could imagine. He loves trucks, and dinosaurs, and he loves sports. My son said to me, “that’s mean! Dada, tell them not to be mean.” Please stop being mean. Let the doctors and parents and educators and coaches work together to decide what is best for our kids. Don’t put big government in the middle of medical, family, and school questions.
The last thing I want to say is this, to every trans leader who is here, especially the kids who are out of school to fight back. You are made in the image of God, just as you are. Your courage inspires me. Whatever awful questions you face today. However scared you are, know, know that these proposed laws will not have the last word. Cruelty will not have the last word. You are loved, valued, seen, and infinitely worthy. And we will show up again and again to tell these legislators not to be mean.