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Kansas City students walk out of school to protest anti-LGBTQ bills in Missouri legislature

Several people walking along a sidewalk carry signs supporting LGBTQ and transgender rights.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Students from Crossroads Preparatory Academy and their supporters march toward the Jackson County Courthouse on Wednesday morning.

About 100 students, parents and staff marched out of school to protest bills in the Missouri legislature that they say target LGBTQ children and their families.

About 100 students, parents and staff from Crossroads Preparatory Academy in Kansas City walked out of school Wednesday to protest legislation in Missouri they say targets the LGBTQ community.

“We are here because we need to protest against the bills that are set out to be oppressive towards our LGBTQ sisters, brothers and siblings,” said Syd Black, a senior who organized the walkout.

The 18-year-old outlined a number of bills entered into Missouri’s current legislative session that he said are especially harmful to transgender people of color.

One such bill would ban transgender women from participating in sports teams that match their gender identity, while another would outlaw gender-affirming hormone replacement therapy and surgical proceduresfor minors — and revoke the medical licenses of doctors who provide it.

Other proposals take aim at materials about race and sexuality in schools and libraries — including a "Parents' Bill of Rights"that won initial approval from the Missouri House on Tuesday.

“It just creates an unrepresentative environment for people questioning their sexuality,” Black said. “Sexuality is natural, straight or not. Not everybody has to be sexualized and made out to be malicious.”

Braving high winds and the 38-degree temperature, protesters walked nearly a mile from the school on Broadway Boulevard to the Jackson County Courthouse, chanting and carrying signs and LGBTQ flags.

Closeup of hand holding a sign that reads "protect trans kids."
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
One of about 100 protesters from Crossroads Preparatory Academy carries a message along Oak Street on Wednesday morning

One participant, Christy Moreno (no relation), is the mother of two students: one Crossroads student who also participated in the protest, and a transgender student who attends public school. Moreno said the Missouri legislation is creating barriers to youth who want to express themselves.

“So some of us decided to come here and support our children because parents need to show up for their kids,” she said.

Black said that Crossroads made it difficult for the students to organize the walkout, but school counselor Lara Troutner said the school supported their efforts.

“We want them to be globally aware and they have been doing that, and focus on the issues in Ukraine,” she said. “But we also want them to be locally aware and activists, and learn and spread what they’re learning to other people in the community.”

Black said he was moved by the turnout from the school staff who marched with them, along with the large turnout of students.

“I’m definitely going to try to keep this energy going throughout the school, throughout the state and the city and everywhere else,” he said. “Hopefully in the future, if more action is done we can get more change.”

As KCUR’s general assignment reporter and visual journalist, I bring our audience inside the daily stories that matter most to the people of the Kansas City metro, showing how and why events affect residents. Through my photography, I seek to ensure our diverse community sees itself represented in our coverage. Email me at carlos@kcur.org.
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