New Orleans: Franklin HS students hold walkout against Louisiana’s anti-LGBTQ bills
New Orleans, LA – On Friday, March 31, close to 300 students at Benjamin Franklin High School walked out of school during last period. They demanded a stop to bills in the Louisiana legislature that target LGBTQ kids. Students gathered on the school’s front lawn to hear speeches by their trans classmates. The event coincided with national Trans Day of Visibility.
Students chanted “These bills kill!” and “We say gay!”
“Conservatives are not trying to protect children, they just say that to justify what they are doing. Conservatives just want something that will distract people from how they do not better society,” said Frankie Ratowitz, an organizer of the walkout.
Even though legislators are limited to five non-fiscal bills each this year, the legislature is considering a record number of anti-LGBTQ attacks. Five bills relate to banning sex education and LGBTQ-themed books (SB 7, HB 102, HB 25, HB 360, and HB 77). One threatens to ban teachers from using correct names and pronouns (HB 81). A “Don’t Say Gay” bill attempts to prohibit discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation in school (HB 466). Lastly, HB 463 attempts to ban trans kids from receiving medical care.
“Even though the bills are terrifying, I think the trans community is still strong even now, and we are ready to band together to fight in protests, walkouts and phone zaps like we’ve done for so many years,” said Grayson Swearingen, an LGBTQ student leader.