JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — His voice was loud and clear on the floor.
Now, state Rep. Ian Mackey's speech is being heard beyond the Missouri House of Representatives with more than 5 million views on Twitter. It's been viewed 700,000 times on TikTok.
The openly gay lawmaker shared to the world his own story.
The St. Louis County representative was speaking to Rep. Chuck Basye.
Basye has an amendment to ban trans girls from competing on girls' sports teams.
In part, he said:
"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. For 18 years, I walked around with nice people like you, who took me to ball games, who told me how smart I was and then went to the ballot to vote for crap like this. I couldn’t wait to get out, I couldn’t wait to move a part of our state that would reject this stuff in a minute. Thank God I made it. Thank God I made it out and I think every day for the kids that are still there that haven’t made it out, who haven’t escaped. 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!"
On Monday, Mackey said he wasn't expecting to make the speech, but he was so angry that he wanted to speak up.
"I realized that the advice I usually give others is the advice that I should take myself, which is to share my story," Mackey notes.
He said the support has been from all over.
"I heard from so many people who either are still living in rural parts of our state or rural parts of the country, who either currently feel or at some point in their life have felt the same way that I felt growing up," Mackey adds.
Mackey said it was too much growing up.
In 2004, Missouri voted 70-30 to outlaw gay marriage.
"I was a senior in high school that year. That constitutional amendment kept me from coming out. That ballot measure kept me from being who I was. It scared me to death. It made me too afraid to tell the adults in my life who I was," Mackey said.
Mackey said, years later, he wanted his words to leave an impact.
"The impact of these decisions that we make as policymakers, or that we make as voters, the impact that they have on people's lives is more profound than we can imagine. I want kids who feel that no one's hearing them, to feel that their experience is so unique that no one else can understand, I hope they catch a glimpse of this," Mackey said.
As for Basye, days after the remarks, he said he's been called several insults from a Nazi to a misogynist.
He does point out, Mackey is entitled to his opinion, but he is still standing strong with his stance.
"I'm in my last year, I really don't care what they think of me. I'm going to say what I think and I'm not going to back down from these radical people," he said.
In response to the speech, Basye believes they are campaigning on the floor and Mackey's words had nothing to do with the bill.
"When you're dealing with an immature individual like Mackey, you know that's what you have to deal with. He was talking about stuff that was irrelevant to the amendment in front of the body," Basye said.
He said he had nothing to do with his upbringing and would never condone that.
As for his proposed amendment, it would be added to an election bill.
If passed, it'd allow school districts to create an election for constituents to vote to allow this or not.
As far as trans boys entering boys teams, Basye said he's not worried about that.
"I have no problem with that, girls aren’t taking away opportunities from boys. I feel by allowing these transgender females to compete in women's sports takes away opportunities of girls and women. It is very, very inappropriate and it is very harmful to those young women that really work hard," Basye said.
He said he has five granddaughters and wouldn't want opportunities to be taken away from young, female athletes.
"Their opportunities should not be harmed by somebody that thinks they are something that they are not," Basye said.
Basye said he's going to continue pressing on with what he believes are problems in the state.
"I don't care what the Democrats think, it is a problem. It’s not about hate, it’s about common sense, fairness, and supporting Title IX, that is a federal law that is being violated in the state right now," Basye said.
While both don't see eye to eye, they both encourage people to speak up.
"We have to discuss issues like this," Mackey said encouragingly.
After this speech, the house debated for three hours.
House members voted 89-to-40 in favor of the amendment. There was bipartisan opposition.
It now has one more hurdle to go through, before heading to the Senate.
Missouri’s current public high school sports rules currently prohibit transgender girls from competing on girls' teams unless they’re undergoing hormone therapy.
In the past decade, two transgender girls have been approved to play on Missouri girls’ teams.
The Missouri State High School Activities Association has policies that allow transgender boys to participate on boys' and co-ed teams, but transgender girls cannot play on girls' teams.