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Protesters disrupt Louisiana veto override session, condemn transgender sports ban

By Serena Sojic-Borne

Eden Abraham speaks after police forced protesters out of the Capitol.

Baton Rouge, LA – On July 20 at 11:30 a.m., a group of protesters interrupted the Louisiana legislature’s veto override session to denounce the proposed transgender sports ban.

Members of Real Name Campaign NOLA, a trans community organization, dropped a banner reading “Protect trans youth” from the balcony of the House floor. They chanted “Senate Bill 156 has got to go!” and “Trans kids are here to stay!”

Capitol police groped, shoved and choked protesters to push them out.

Eden Abraham, an organizer with Real Name Campaign, said, “Security immediately grabbed us and violently dragged us down the stairs.” He added, “Even after we said we’re calmly going down the stairs, we’re not resisting, we’re not resisting, they continued to snub us, pushing us into marble and concrete, our heads, our limbs.”

Protesters went on to hold a rally on the capitol steps. They condemned Senate Bill 156, which threatens to prohibit transgender athletes from playing from kindergarten through college. It would also green-light violations of kids to inspect their presumed genders. State Senator Beth Mizell authored the bill.

Mar Ehrlich of the Campaign stated, “We are here today to declare that trans kids are not the problem and will never be a problem.”

Abraham stated, “This is the same sports ban that has been introduced in 30 states in just the past year. SB 156 is part of a nationally conservative plan orchestrated by conservative lawmakers.” He also noted, “They’re more interested in fighting a cultural war that they’re losing than serving the actual needs of their constituents.”

The legislature’s special veto override session is unprecedented in modern Louisiana history. Republican Party leaders Page Cortez and Clay Schexnayder specifically called for the session to push the sports ban.

Governor Edwards vetoed the ban in June, calling it “a solution in search of a problem.” He stated that there were no trans athletes in Louisiana to be concerned about.

Toni Jones of Real Name Campaign and Freedom Road Socialist Organization responded, “SB 156 is worse than a solution looking for a problem, because trans kids are not a problem and do not need to be solved.”

She also raised attention to the Olympics recently banning several Black women for being “too masculine.” SB 156 has clear racist implications as well.

The Senate has voted 26-12 in favor of the ban, just the amount of votes they needed for a veto-proof majority. The House has yet to vote. The Senate vote proves the trans movement’s strength, since reactionaries had more votes in favor of the ban during the regular legislative session.

The movement remains ready to fight. Real Name Campaign commits to resisting all the state’s anti-trans attacks.

#BatonRouge #RealNameCampaignNOLA #Louisiana #transgenderSportsBan #PageCortez #ClaySchexnayder