Families say they’re leaving Missouri after legislation targeting trans youth passes

Families say they have no choice but leave Missouri after recent laws that were passed there.
Published: May. 30, 2023 at 11:33 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ST. LOUIS (KMOV/Gray News) - Two families, both with a trans child, told KMOV they plan to leave the state of Missouri after the legislature passed two trans-related bills.

Sara Holuf is soon heading to Maryland with her husband and three kids after the bills passed in Jefferson City this past session.

“Our kids are devastated. They want to stay, but they understand that they can’t,” said Holuf.

They’re leaving because future state law would affect their oldest child, an 11-year-old, who came out as trans three years ago.

“And she’s just a regular kid. She loves playing sports and being with her friends and going to school and fighting with her siblings,” said Holuf.

Two bills that passed this month guided the decision.

One requires student-athletes to play on teams with their gender assigned at birth. The other bill largely bans trans healthcare for kids, with a grandfather clause for kids already getting gender-affirming care.

“I can’t live with myself and tell my child ‘Sorry, you can’t play sports. We’d rather choose to live in Missouri instead of letting you live your fullest life as a kid,’” said Holuf.

The Holuf family is not alone.

“Very few things passed at all through the legislature this year, and two of the things on their agenda were to target my kid,” said Jennifer Harris Dault.

Harris Dault has two kids, including an 8-year-old trans daughter. They have plans to move to New York. She’s still looking for permanent housing and a job, but she started a GoFundMe on Monday to raise funds for a move.

“And we don’t want to have to live day-to-day, wondering if she’ll have the healthcare she needs, or what right will be taken away next. We want her to be able to live a happy, healthy, beautiful life,” said Harris Dault.

Harris Dault said she at first considered staying and sending her kid to doctors appointments out-of-state, but that just doesn’t work for her family.

“So for those who are staying it’s hard. For those that are leaving and really don’t want to, it’s hard,” said Harris Dault.

Still, she said she’s gutted that she feels forced to get out of the state.

“It’s just really tragic it’s coming to this,” said Harris Dault.

For Holuf, she has no family in Missouri, and she chose to live here since college.

“It almost makes it a little more upsetting. That is the place that we chose to make a family and we bought our forever house, and it got taken away from us,” said Holuf.

Gov. Mike Parson has until mid-July to sign bills into law.

So far he’s only signed three bills passed this session. Dozens of bills sit on his desk, including two trans-related bills.