Page creates LGBTQ task force in response to legislation being considered by lawmakers

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced last week the creation of an LGBTQ task force to advise his administration on issues facing the LGBTQ community.

Page announced the task force Feb. 22 in response to legislation currently being considered by the Missouri legislature targeting transgender youth.

The task force will collaborate with PROMO, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy group.

“Across the country we’re seeing a troubling trend of … attacks on the LGBTQ community … in school districts, in statehouses and in Congress … This extreme activity has no place in St. Louis County,” Page said. “That’s why I’m establishing an LGBTQ task force. This task force will advise … on areas of concern to ensure that county agencies are fairly and equitably addressing the LGBTQ community.”

Several bills are being deliberated in the legislature that some consider to target transgender people’s freedoms, including a bill prohibiting gender-affirming care for transgender youth and another prohibiting transgender athletes from competing in sports that match their gender identity.

“My hope is that other leaders across the state see this (task force) as a call to action and that young, queer and trans people see this as hope for the future,” PROMO Executive Director Katy Erker-Lynche said. “As a young, queer person who grew up in St. Louis County, I left at 18 years old because I didn’t see a future … Actions like today, which might feel symbolic … actually are incredibly meaningful for young people who know ‘You’re safe, we see you, we hear you and there are people in powerful positions fighting for you.’”

The new task force is in its early stages and its work will largely depend on what legislation is passed by the legislature, said Erker-Lynche. PROMO will help the county appoint members to the task force, which will hopefully meet within the next month, the county said.