State Reps. Landry and Freeman File Bills That Address LGBTQ Discrimination

New Orleans Pride – Rainbow Flag” by Tony Webster is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

Two bills have been pre-filed for the 2021 Louisiana Legislative Session that could prove to be positive advancements for the LGBTQ+ community. In stark contrast to the anti-transgender legislation proposed by other legislators, these bills seek to reduce discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing and sex work.

Representative Mandie Landry has filed House Bill 67. This bill seeks to end the criminalization of adults who engage in the consensual trading of sexual services for money or goods by repealing specific sex work-related offenses. It further directs the Louisiana Law Institute to study the issue and recommend changes to other laws as necessary.

“Sex workers deserve the same legal protections as anybody else,” Representative Landry states. “I support the decriminalization of sex work because no one should have to risk arrest for seeking health care, protection from violence, or to maintain their livelihoods. Criminalization of this consensual behavior fuels the surveillance, policing, and mass incarceration of trans people and people of color.”

Currently, the ways sex work is criminalized depends largely on the individualize discretion of law enforcement. Such discretion has been shown to increase violence, inequity, stigmatization, and discrimination. By removing criminal penalties from offenses related to consensual sex work, Representative Landry’s bill will help improve access to safer working environments for sex workers and reduce the disparate treatment by police. Cis-gender and transgender people of color face the greatest disparities of treatment.

The Orleans Parish Public Defenders Office has stated: “The criminalization of sex work is rife with discrimination, racism and sexism, and women of color remain disproportionately policed, stigmatized and harmed by misguided policies that neither ensure the safety of consenting adults or the community at large. It is a waste of resources, increases unnecessary community interaction with law enforcement, and exposes already disenfranchised communities to further abuse and mistreatment.”

The local organization, Women with a Vision, has been working to end the criminalization and abuse of sex workers with their efforts to have the Crime Against Nature-Solicitation (CAN-S) law (now LA RS 14:89.2) declare unconstitutional. They are currently coordinating efforts to pass HB 67. Executive Director of Women With a Vision, Deon Haywood, stated, “We believe that Sex Workers know what they need. At this moment they are calling for our lawmakers to support HB67, a bill that supports their lives by putting and end to the criminalization of their labor.” 

House Bill 282 by Representative Aimee Adatto Freeman wouldprohibit discriminatory housing practices based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the sale and rental of housing.As she says, “I’m sponsoring this bill because I believe that the LGBTQ community should not be discriminated against for any issues including housing.  Equality is important and everyone deserves to have fair access.” 

There are limited federal protections against housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Louisiana, like many other states, lack state laws that prohibit such discrimination against LGBTQ+ people. 

2017 study by the Urban Institute reported that gay men and transgender people are less likely to be shown apartments by landlords, and that they on average were shown fewer units. A 2018 study by Community Marketing and Insights and Freddie Mac found that 46% of LGBTQ+ homeowners fear discrimination in the home-buying process.

A similar bill was filed by Jared Brossett in 2014 and failed to get out of the House Commerce Committee. Since then, the US Supreme Court has held in Bostock v Clayton County that prohibitions on sex discrimination include discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity. Because of that decision, HUD now enforces the Fair Housing Act to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. With this bill, Louisiana would ensure that state laws match federal protections.

Everyone deserves the ability to be able to earn a living, provide for themselves and their families, and to create a loving, supportive, place to call home. These two bills could help make that more of a reality for many Louisianans.


Help Keep Big Easy Magazine Alive

Hey guys!

Covid-19 is challenging the way we conduct business. As small businesses suffer economic losses, they aren’t able to spend money advertising.

Please donate today to help us sustain local independent journalism and allow us to continue to offer subscription-free coverage of progressive issues.

Thank you,
Scott Ploof
Big Easy Magazine

Share this Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *