Louisiana Legislators Obsessed With Prioritizing Anti-Trans Legislation With Four Bills Filed Already

Person holding trans flag at rally

The Louisiana legislature convenes for fiscal sessions during odd number years. During such a session, legislators may only file five non-fiscal bills. Four of the state’s legislators are using their precious allotment of bills to target children by attempting to ban transgender youth from getting the health care they need or to exclude them from participating in sports.

Louisiana is not the only state experiencing a surge of anti-trans legislation. In 2021, there have been more than 85 bills filed across the country and four have been signed into law by the governors of Arkansas, Mississippi, South Dakota and Tennessee. 

These bills do not appear to address any constituent problem facing Louisiana. A comparison of legislation in various states shows copycat sections and similar phrases, leading many to believe this is a coordinated attack on LGBTQ rights. 

The first set of these bills in Louisiana focus on athletics and are repeats of bills filed but not taken up during last year’s session. Beth Mizell (R-District 12) has filed Senate Bill 156. This bill would ban trans students from playing sports on teams that matches their gender from kindergarten thru college. Beryl Amedee (R-District 51) has filed the companion bill for the House of Representatives with House Bill 542.

Neither Senator Mizell nor Representative Amedee drafted these bills with the support or consultation of any of the women’s equality organizations in the state nor are they in line with the policies of athletic associations like the International Olympic Committee or the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association already restricts the participation of transgender athletes. Their Gender Equity Position Statement holds that “a student-athlete shall compete in the gender of their birth certificate unless they have undergone sex reassignment.” Additionally stating, “athletic eligibility in the reassigned gender can begin no sooner than two years after all surgical and anatomical changes have been completed.”

Similarly, the next set of bills were not drafted under the best practices of medical care as outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association nor other leading medical authorities.

Mike Fesi (R-District 20) has filed SB 104 to carve out an exemption for youth choosing their own affirming health care while Gabe Firment (R-District 22) has filed HB 575 to completely ban gender affirming health care for youth as well as create criminal penalties for medical personal who provide care. This bill would also require school officials to out trans and gender non-conforming students to their parents.

The bills clearly dictate which transition related services they deem are not appropriate, and try to criminalize the options that physicians, patients and families have available to them when making medical decisions. Such large legislative overreach is designed simply to oppress the trans community and is an extraordinary governmental interference in people’s lives.

These exclusionary bills are particularly troubling as the state is struggling to deal with so many other pressing concerns amidst the continuing COVID-19 crisis. Legislators banning best practice medical care for transgender youth or excluding them school sports seems to be making transgender people’s lives harder for no reason. 

Two state organizations, the Louisiana Trans Advocates and Forum for Equality, are coordinating the opposition to these four bills. 

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