Charles Gragg Jr. Voices Concern Over Controversial Missouri Bill

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Charles Gragg Jr. Voices Concern Over Controversial Missouri Bill

Veteran Critiques Sibling’s Legislative Action

Charles Gragg Jr., a veteran of the Army and elder sibling of Missouri’s state Representative Jamie Gragg (R), publicly condemned his brother’s legislative proposal as “hateful and malicious” on Thursday. This criticism is directed at a bill that seems to penalize educators for their support of transgender students.

Representative Gragg, a freshman Republican from Ozark, has introduced House Bill 2885. This proposed law aims to make it a criminal act for teachers in Missouri to assist students with their “social transition” and could lead to felony charges against educators and school counselors who offer guidance or resources to these individuals. The legislation demands that convicted educators be listed as sex offenders. Charles Gragg Jr. expressed his disapproval, stating, “It is just malicious, and to call it ‘protecting children’ is just whitewash for hatred.” He added, “For something so small and insignificant as just showing compassion to a kid who is having issues, you’re going to put people on a sex offender registry and cost them their careers.”

Defining Social Transition

The proposed bill identifies “social transition” as the steps an individual takes to adopt names, pronouns, and gender expressions aligning with their gender identity rather than their birth-assigned sex. Moreover, the bill seeks to categorize “contributing to social transition” alongside serious crimes requiring registration as Tier I sex offenders in Missouri.

Restrictions and Public Reaction

The legislation would bar sex offenders in Missouri from being within 500 feet of any school or childcare facility. Charles Gragg Jr., who self-describes as a “professional grandpa”, shared his thoughts on H.B. 2885 with Missouri LGBTQ+ advocacy group PROMO. Reflecting on his own adolescence after moving from Los Angeles to Missouri, he credited empathetic teachers for providing comfort and expressed concern over the potential impact of such legislation on educators’ careers and lives. “It frightens and angers me to think if this legislation was around then, that with a stroke of a pen, it could have ended their careers and destroyed their lives,” he remarked, adding, “It’s just hateful and malicious. This legislation will cost lives and recklessly destroy others just for the sin of being compassionate.”

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Upon learning about his brother’s proposed bill, Charles Gragg Jr. shared his astonishment and inability to comprehend the motivations behind it, stating it “quite literally took my breath away.”

Robert Fischer, a spokesperson for PROMO, expressed profound disappointment with the bill’s introduction, highlighting a broader objective to eliminate LGBTQ+ identities from the state narrative. Fischer emphasized the punitive and exclusionary aims behind such legislative efforts, agreeing with Gragg Jr.’s sentiment: “It’s just hateful and malicious.”

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