Missouri lawmaker goes viral for impassioned speech against transgender sports bill

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A Missouri state representative has gone viral on social media for an impassioned speech he made this week against a proposed measure in his state to ban transgender girls from competing on girls’ sports teams.

The speech from Democratic state Rep. Ian Mackey, who is gay, started when he confronted state Rep. Chuck Basye (R) on the Missouri House floor Monday. Mackey asked Basye, who sponsored the proposed amendment, about the moment Basye’s brother came out as gay to his family, to which Basye said his brother initially “thought that we would hold that against him and not let my children be around him.”

“It never would have happened,” Basye said. “I’ll tell you that. My kids at that point in their life adored my brother.”

Mackey challenged Basye’s point, saying that “if I were your brother, I would have been afraid to tell you, too.” The Democratic lawmaker then drew on his own experiences growing up in Hickory County, Missouri, while speaking out against the bill.

“I was afraid of people like you growing up,” Mackey told Basye. “For 18 years, I walked around with nice people like you, who took me to ball games, who told me how smart I was and then went to the ballot to vote for crap like this. I couldn’t wait to get out.”

“I couldn’t wait to move to a part of our state that would reject this stuff in a minute,” Mackey continued. “Thank God I made it, out and I think every day [about] the kids that are still there that haven’t made it out, who haven’t escaped.”

Mackey’s speech has garnered more than 5 million views on Twitter and more than 1.5 million views on TikTok in less than week, according to NBC News.

In an interview with St. Louis outlet KDSK, Mackey said he wasn’t planning on speaking on the House floor Monday but felt obligated to make his voice heard and share his story.

“The impact of these decisions that we make as policymakers, or that we make as voters, the impact that they have on people’s lives is more profound than we can imagine. I want kids who feel that no one’s hearing them, to feel that their experience is so unique that no one else can understand, I hope they catch a glimpse of this,” Mackey said.

Basye dismissed Mackey’s comments to KDSK, calling the lawmaker’s points “irrelevant.”

“When you’re dealing with an immature individual like Mackey, you know that’s what you have to deal with. He was talking about stuff that was irrelevant to the amendment in front of the body,” Basye said. 

The measure was passed by the Missouri House with an 89 to 40 vote and will now go through a fiscal review before heading to the state Senate.

The vote comes amid a legislative push by GOP lawmakers across the country targeting transgender girls playing on sports teams that correspond with their gender identity. A number of states, including Florida, Arkansas, Indiana and Georgia, have passed similar bills.

Tags LGBTQ representation LGBTQ rights Missouri Missouri Transgender rights transgender sports ban

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