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Louisianans rally, GOP bans kids’ trans healthcare, other anti-LGBTQ bills fail

By Sebastian Miscenich

Louisiana LGBTQ demonstrators say, “Trans youth are welcome here!"

Baton Rouge, LA – Dozens of protesters gathered at the Louisiana State Capitol building, July 18, for an emergency demonstration against three anti-LGBTQ bills. The Republican supermajority called a special legislative veto override session after these bills were vetoed by Governor John Bel Edwards. The governor’s move in support of the LGBTQ community resulted from substantial pressure from the people of Louisiana.

Demonstrators chanted “Racist, sexist, anti-gay – GOP go away!” and “Louisiana say it clear, trans youth are welcome here!” on the steps of the capitol building as the veto override session began. Attendees held signs and waved flags in a visible display of solidarity with LGBTQ youth across the state. Speakers commented on the far-right, undemocratic nature of the attacks on queer and trans youth and the valuable role that LGBTQ people play in Louisiana.

Quest Riggs of the Real Name Campaign said, “LGBTQ people have so much to offer to the next generation. Nothing that can happen in that building today will stop our solidarity with trans youth!”

After the outside demonstration, the activists entered the capitol wearing pink and purple shirts to make their unified presence felt in the legislature, despite far-right attempts to occupy the entire viewing galleries on the floors of the state house and senate.

The LGBTQ movement defeated both HB 81, a bill mandating the deadnaming of trans children in schools, and HB 466, Louisiana’s “Don’t Say Gay Bill” that would have forbidden discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools. HB 648, a bill to transgender children’s healthcare, was passed.

“Veto override sessions” have been unheard of in almost all of Louisiana’s modern history. Since 2021, legislators have called three. Two were to push through anti-LGBTQ legislation, another was to suppress the Black vote in Louisiana’s congressional redistricting maps.

The rally was organized by Real Name Campaign NOLA.