April 15, 2022

Democratic Rep. Ian Mackey spoke on behalf of the Missouri House Democratic Cause on Wednesday, April 13, and shared a passionate story about his own upbringing. The Missouri House of Representatives had a floor debate that included a discussion of the Republican effort to ban trans athletes from participating on sports teams that align with their gender identity. Mackey, who is openly gay, used his time to call out Republican Rep. Chuck Basye, and the effort majorly paid off.

For some context, the state House of Representatives gave preliminary approval to House Bill 2140,  a voter ID law requiring residents of Missouri to show a form of photo ID at polls. Basye weaseled in language that would let voters within individual school districts decide if trans athletes can participate in the sports that align with their gender identity.

This is a bad idea for all of the obvious reasons; it’s harmful to students, it’s confusing for schools, and it’s not a system that’s easily replicated for other forms of play, like at the college level. It’s hateful, it’s discriminatory, and that’s obviously the goal here. 

According to Missouri Net, Basye said it sounds like “local control” and that he feels “very, very confident” that many people in the state don’t feel they have a voice and are afraid to speak out.

“I want to let them know that I’m speaking for them, and I’m proud to speak for them,” he stated. 

Mackey, on the other hand, was not trying to hide behind vague or broad language to suggest oppression and fear that doesn’t really exist.

Mackey began by asking Basye a simple question. “Do you remember your remarks on the floor last year when you brought this up?”

“Um, you’d have to give me a specific,” Basye replied. “I mean, I made a lot of remarks last year.”

“Sure. So, I recall a story you told. About your brother.”

“Okay,” said Basye.

“And I remember you said that your bother, or, rather, your mother called to tell you that your brother had some news that he was afraid to tell you.” 

“Okay,” said Basye.

“And your brother wanted to tell you that he was gay, didn’t he?”

“Um, he was expressing that to the family, and he thought that uh, that we would hold that against him and not let him my children be around him.”

Makey asked, “Why do you think he thought that?”

“Uh, I don’t know. It never would have happened, I’ll tell you that. My kids at that point in their life adored my brother.”

“Can I tell you, if I were your brother? I would have been afraid to tell you, too.”

“Well, I’m sorry," said Basye. And that was meager remark was enough to let Mackey really unleash the heart of his argument. 

“I would have been afraid to tell you, too. Because of stuff like this. because this is what you're focused on, this is the legislation you want to put forward. This is what consumes your time. I would have been afraid to tell you, too.

I was afraid of people like you growing up and I grew up in Hickory County Missouri. I grew up in a school district that would vote tomorrow to put this in place. And for eighteen years, I walked around with nice people like you. Who took me to ball games, who told me how smart I was, and went to the ballot and voted 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. I couldn’t wait. And thank God I made it out, and I think every day of the kids who are still there, who haven’t escaped from this kind of bigotry.

Gentleman, I’m not afraid of you anymore because you’re going to lose. You may win this today, but you’re going to lose.”

From here, only one more vote in favor is needed to send the bill to the Senate.

Republished with permission from Daily Kos.

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