Positive LGBTQ+ Bills at the 2022 Legislative Session

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

The Louisiana legislative session begins on March 14, and our elected representatives have been working hard before the session pre-filing a number of bills. Currently, there have been 807 bills filed. 

Several bills important to the LGBTQ community are in that number, including three House bills filed by members of the New Orleans delegation. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Louisiana continue to face discrimination in their daily lives. The bills covered in this article include providing LGBTQ protections in housing, employment and mental health.

Lack of access to stable housing affects many people and discrimination has long been a barrier to the safety and welfare of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Housing nondiscrimination laws protect LGBTQ people from being unfairly evicted, denied housing or refused the ability to rent or buy housing on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Aimee Adatto Freeman has filed HB 303 which adds sexual orientation and gender identity to our state’s housing anti-discrimination laws. Kenny Tucker, Chair for Forum for Equality PAC says, “Access to fair and equitable housing is certainly part of the American Dream, and Representative Freeman’s House Bill 303 adds more protections for our state’s residents.  Our LGBTQ citizens should be able to obtain housing without fear of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The Supreme Court in 2020 ruled that federal law protects workers from job discrimination based on their sexual orientation or expression. Louisiana remains one of 27 states which do not have statewide laws banning such discrimination.

Delisha Boyd has filed HB 439 to stop employment discrimination on gender identity and sexual orientation. Representative Boyd is advocating for her seventeen year old niece who has already faced bias and discrimination in her young life and is about to enter the work force. She says, “I worry about her and all the other LGBTQ+ workers like her. I want her to know she is not alone. As a worker, she should be judged for what she does and not who she is. Honestly, it blows my mind that in 2022 that we’re still having to fight for basic employment protections like these.”

Conversion therapy, also known as “Reparative Therapy” or “Ex-Gay Therapy,” is a widely discredited practice that attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Professional organizations in the United States that have issued statements opposing the use of conversion therapy on youth include: American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, American College of Physicians, American Counseling Association, American Medical Association, American School Health Association, American Psychoanalytic Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American School Counselor Association, and National Association of Social Workers. Currently, 20 states and the District of Columbia have passed statutes limiting the use of conversion therapy on LGBT youth.

Mandie Landry has filed HB 605 to end conversion therapy on minors. Representative Landry says, “It is incredibly important that LGBTQ+ children and teens know that they are supported and loved. Given the bullying they face, sometimes by their own government, I thought it was important to file this bill to show that there are people who care. I am working with a group of young advocates who have personal experience with the harms of conversion therapy, and we welcome all support from the community.”

While these bills seek to advance the comprehensive nondiscrimination laws that LGBTQ people greatly need, there are others which attempt to single out and target LGBTQ people for unfair and unequal treatment. Two bills that failed last session are back for another chance to harm trans youth – there is an anti-trans youth sports bill (SB 44) and an anti-trans youth health bill (HB 570). 

Advocates across the state are coming together to support the good bills and fight against the bad ones and are encouraging constituents to contact their elected representatives regarding these bills. Go to the Louisiana Legislature webpage to find your legislators.

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