Protesters assert LGBTQ power outside Louisiana governor’s debate
Lafayette, LA – On September 15, over 30 protesters from all across southern Louisiana gathered outside the state’s second governor’s debate. While the night’s debate gathered the race’s top seven candidates to discuss policy, the demonstrators came to make one thing clear: Republican frontrunner Jeff Landry and his attacks would not be tolerated.
Under threat of heavy rain, protesters marched several blocks towards the KLFY studios. They held banners reading “Don’t censor classrooms” and “Protect LGBT youth from Janky Jeff!” Once set up on the sidewalk outside of the studios, protest organizers from Real Name Campaign and Reproductive Freedom Acadiana led chants of “Jeff Landry can’t you tell? We’re about to give you hell!” and “Trans youth are here to stay! GOP go away!”
Landry had refused to appear at any of the race’s debates until this one. No doubt afraid of criticism of his multiple ethics violations on the campaign trail and his hypocrisy as attorney general, Landry’s campaign waited for an event they felt would be soft on the candidate.
Outside the studios however, protesters made it clear that Jeff Landry is existential threat to all Louisianans, especially the state’s trans community.
“Do the majority of Louisianians want to oppress their neighbors? Hell no! Does Jeff Landry want to oppress the people of this state? Absolutely,” said Quest Riggs of Real Name Campaign.
Other organizers stressed the GOP’s attacks on LGBTQ lives, healthcare and access to LGBTQ themes and experiences in schools and libraries.
“This past legislative session, the GOP tried to pass nearly a dozen anti-LGBTQ bills. Do you know how many they passed? Just one or two. That might not seem like a victory, but it is. We can’t win every single battle, but what’s important is that we keep fighting,” said Molly Frayle, representing the Real Name Campaign.
Protesters confronted Landry and his entourage with chants of “Janky Jeff” and “We say gay!” as he fled into his vehicle after the debate. Afterwards, organizers from several organizations emphasized the importance of keeping up the struggle throughout the rest of the election cycle and beyond.