May 9, 2023 - Politics

Latest on anti-LGBTQ+ bills in Louisiana: "Don't Say Gay" advances

Illustration of the stripes of the Pride flag falling onto the ground.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Louisiana representatives on Tuesday passed a "Don't Say Gay" bill, advancing it to the Senate with a vote of 67-28.

Driving the news: House Bill 466 prohibits K-12 public school employees from teaching or discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in the classroom.

  • It also regulates pronouns and names, saying they must match birth certificates.

The big picture: New Orleans has one of the largest concentrations of LGBTQ+ people in the U.S., with 4.7% of the adult population identifying as members of the community.

  • A 2021 analysis from UCLA's Williams Institute estimates there are about 46,000 LGBTQ+ community members here.

Zoom out: Including the "Don't Say Gay" bill, Louisiana lawmakers are debating five anti-LGBTQ+ bills this session that could affect nearly every facet of life, particularly for youth.

Issues include:

Pronouns: House Bill 81, called the “Given Name Act” by its author, requires students to use the name and pronoun on their birth certificate. It passed 61-33 in the House on Monday and now heads to the Senate.

  • It has an exception if there is written consent from the parent, but teachers can reject the parent’s choice if it conflicts with the teacher’s “religious or moral convictions.”

Health care: A bill that prohibits doctors from offering gender-affirming medical care, such as hormone treatments or puberty-blocking drugs, to anyone younger than 18 advanced out of committee and heads to the full House.

Library restrictions: The state Senate is considering a bill that would limit what minors can check out at public libraries, primarily LGBTQ+ materials and other books deemed “sexually explicit.”

  • It was on the Senate's agenda Tuesday, but a vote wasn't taken.
  • The House is looking at a similar one, and it remains in committee.

The bottom line: The political discussion is part of a national debate that has heated up in recent years to include everything from bathroom bills to sports regulation to restrictions on drag performances.

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