By Alisha Ebrahimji, Kyung Lah and Anna-Maja Rappard, CNN
Kharri has moved from state to state, fleeing politics and family, to get the gender-affirming medical care she needs to be her most authentic self without anyone’s intervention.
Kharri, 19, is ready to move again, out of Missouri to neighboring Kansas, after the Missouri attorney general introduced an emergency rule that would limit transgender care for minors and adults.
Gender affirming care is Evidence-based, medically necessary care that uses a multidisciplinary approach to help a person transition from their assigned gender, the one assigned at birth, to their affirmed gender, the gender by which one wants to be known.
The rule is expected to go into effect Thursday and expire on February 6, 2024, according to a statement from Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s office.
Established patients could continue care once the order goes into effect, but new patients could face a series of requirements that would vastly limit access, the rule says.
advocacy groups Bailey has been sued about the new rule, which claims that people often take “life-altering interventions,” such as puberty suppression or gender transition surgery, “without any talk therapy,” and that the action of emergency is “necessary because of a compelling governmental interest and a need to protect the public health, safety, and welfare” of Missourians.
A state judge blocked the rules from taking effect Wednesday night. St. Louis County Circuit Judge Ellen Ribaudo said she would issue a decision on the plaintiff’s motion for a temporary restraining order by Monday, saying she wanted more time to review the briefs filed by Bailey.
Stocks in Missouri follow North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signs a bill this week banning gender-affirming care for most minors with the possibility of a felony for the healthcare professionals who provide it. Indiana and Idaho enacted their own bans on gender-affirming care for minors this month, and several other states have signed into law restrictions on gender-affirming care for minors in recent years.
At a Planned Parenthood pop-up clinic in neighboring Kansas, Missourians have been consulting medical professionals to set up care ahead of a looming deadline.
Ashley Miller, a nurse practitioner with Planned Parenthood, said she has tried to answer patients’ questions about their futures in their home state, where their care may not be legal.
“It’s hard not to feel like your local politician is in the room with you,” he said.
“You want to believe people when they tell you who they are or what they want for their life and you don’t want to say, ‘Well, you know, I believe you’re transgender, but maybe we should call your local. politician to see if they agree,” added Miller.
live behind a mask
Like Kharri, Andi, 20, crossed state lines to go to Planned Parenthood’s clinic in Kansas to set up gender-affirming care for himself, moving up a May appointment to get over the impending order.
CNN only uses Kharri and Andi’s first names to protect their privacy, at their request.
Andi, who was assigned female at birth, said he has been weighing the decision to transition for six years and having access to the right care means a lot to him.
“I just feel like (the transition) will be a lot more self-love, confidence and happiness in my life,” she said.
At this point, Andi said: “It’s a constant disconnection from my own body, from my own being, I look in the mirror, I feel like an impostor, an outsider.”
Without family support, and now given the state’s actions, Andi said it’s up to his self-confidence and friends-turned-family to help him achieve his goal.
“I feel like I’m living behind a mask all the time, but under all my skin it feels that way,” she said.
Kharri understands this very well. The teenager, who was assigned the female gender at birth, said he has felt that way since he was 14 years old.
For Kharri, Kansas is the last affordable state where she can live and receive the healthcare she needs to transition, she said. Having uprooted his life once from Tennessee to Missouri, he said he feels like a nomad with no real home and a refugee in his own country.
“We are terrified,” he said. “This world is terrifying. … Talk with us. Like just sitting there and talking, listening to what we’re saying. We are not trying to indoctrinate anyone.”
Angela Huntington, a Planned Parenthood patient navigator, said she often hears the panic Kharri described on the other end of the phone as she rushed to get appointments for patients at Planned Parenthood’s pop-up clinic.
“It’s heartbreaking to hear their stories,” he said. “Some people are just ready…they are ready to make the change. Some people are forced to make this decision maybe a little sooner than they wanted because the threat is looming.”
“I just want people to live their best lives, live the lives and bodies they feel are theirs, they should make their own decisions about their own bodies and there should be no one else involved except them and their doctors. professional,” he said.
The CNN Wire
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