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Lafayette High School news. Student-run.

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Bans on trans bodies

SAFE Act restricts gender affirming healthcare
To treat sepsis from his partial top surgery, Class of 2023 graduate, Mateo LaMar receives hyperbaric oxygen therapy. LaMar has been left with permanent scarring from the procedure, but says he does not regret it. Photo courtesy of Mateo LaMar.
What is the SAFE Act?

•It bans certain gender affirming care from being administered to minors

•Gender Affirming Care: surgeries, medications, therapies and other treatments to enhance or hide certain gender traits (i.e. hormone replacement therapies, chest augmentations, hysterectomies, orchiectomies, etc)

•A grandfather clause was put in place to allow minors to continue treatment, but many providers chose to stop care due to legal liabilities

•The American Civil Liberties Union’s attempt to block implementation was overruled by Missouri Circuit Judge Steven Ohmer

After being signed into law June 7, 2023, by Gov. Mike Parson, the Missouri Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act, which restrains minors’ access to gender affirming care, went into effect Aug. 28.

As a result of the SAFE Act both University of Missouri Healthcare and Washington University Transgender Center ceased gender affirming care for anyone under 18, even if they were already being treated.

The bill sponsor, Sen. Mike Moon-R. Ash Grove, said he believes this is an admission of fault.
“I believe, as seems to be indicated by the closure of these centers, they’re admitting there’s potential harm that could be caused [by gender affirming care],” Moon said.

Moon also stressed the need for improved mental health care, although he said nothing is being enforced in Missouri.

Previous policies aimed to ensure that transgender youth received proper counseling prior to treatment, but Moon believes they were not followed.

“I would think if counselors were doing their due diligence and the practices were standard, they would help kids through these situations and give them proper length of time and the proper counseling. [Then] we might not have had the SAFE Act,” Moon said.

While Moon said he has spoken to multiple trans or previously trans-identifying individuals who agree with the SAFE Act, there are a number of trans individuals that do not.

One person who disagrees with the SAFE Act is Class of 2023 graduate Mateo LaMar, who identifies as a transgender man. He socially transitioned his junior year and medically transitioned, with a partial top surgery, his senior year.

LaMar was 17 at the time he got the surgery, something he would no longer be able to do under the SAFE Act.

LaMar’s surgery did not come without complications. While healing, he developed necrosis, the death of cells or tissue in a particular area.

To deal with these complications, LaMar went through 14 rounds of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, had a hole cut into his chest and filled with a temporary suction system, received a skin graft, and missed three weeks of school.

All things considered, LaMar still doesn’t regret the surgery.

“I’ve got a lot of scars on my chest now. [There’s] still kind of weirdly messed up tissue from the necrosis, [but] even with all that, I still feel better about my body,” LaMar said.

During the process, LaMar said his friends were always there to help him.

“It was great to have people that made me feel good about myself and made me feel it was OK,” he said.

Due to his complications, LaMar said most people gave him sympathy, but he said he was always treated well by the Lafayette community even before his surgery.

“Having people that supported me is the main reason why I am where I am today,” LaMar said.

Recently, the increase in LGBTQ+ focused legislation has created worries for LaMar.

“I feel like there’s a lot less people who actually care about the safety of kids and more so care about keeping kids from being trans. There would be a lot more emphasis in supporting them if it was really about the kids,” LaMar said.

Statement from Washington University

“We are disheartened to have to take this step. However, Missouri’s newly enacted law has created a new legal claim for patients who received these medications as minors. This legal claim creates unsustainable liability for healthcare professionals and makes it untenable for us to continue to provide comprehensive transgender care for minor patients.”

Statement from University of Missouri Healthcare

“Health care providers face significant legal liability for prescribing or administering cross-sex hormones or puberty-blocking drugs to existing minor patients under the new cause of action. MU Healthcare providers may continue to provide other types of gender affirming care that is not impacted by the law.”

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Maddy Cox, News Digital Content Editor
Grade: Junior Pronouns: She/Her Years on Staff: 1 Hobbies and Interests: reading, writing, Scooby Doo, and pre-2017 Barbie movies Favorite Quote: “Screw em if they can’t take a joke,” -Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia Favorite Hot Take: The Barbie movie isn’t misandrist we just live in an overly-normalized patriarchal society. Fun Fact: I believe in the Loch Ness monster, I think it is just an undiscovered species of marine life that we don’t know or understand yet.
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