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Unprecedented use of rare procedure revives ‘Don’t Say Gay’ in Louisiana

The procedure is called “Committee of the Whole,” which allows the House to vote to override the House Education Committee’s vote

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Louisiana State Capitol building (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

BATON ROUGUE – Democrats and LGBTQ+ advocacy groups are crying foul after a Louisiana State Republican Representative Raymond Crews, (District 8- Bossier City) used a rare legislative procedural tool Tuesday to revive House Bill 837, introduced by fellow state Republican Dodie Horton, (District 9-Bossier), that was killed in the Louisiana House Education Committee last week.

The procedure is called “Committee of the Whole,” which allows the House to vote to override the House Education Committee’s vote. Crews’ motion passed along party lines 55-39.

House Bill 837 would enact a law that: 

  • No teacher, school employee, or other presenter shall cover the topics of sexual orientation or gender identity in any classroom discussion or instruction in kindergarten through grade eight.
  • No teacher, school employee, or other presenter shall discuss his own sexual orientation or gender identity with students in kindergarten through grade twelve.

“Anti-LGBTQ+ politicians are pulling out all the stops in their attempt to censor and control students and teachers,” said Sarah Jane Guidry, executive director of the Louisiana Forum for Equality, the state’s LGBTQ advocacy organization.

“It’s absurd that politicians are resorting to this kind of behavior. Moving this bill forward at the expense of LGBTQ+ students’ well-being is a shameful political trick. It’s time for our elected officials to halt this bill once and for all and return their focus to the real issues facing families in our state, like quality health care and economic programs,” she added.

The chair of the Louisiana House Democratic Caucus State Rep. Sam Jenkins blasted the Republican maneuvering.

“It would be unprecedented to use the committee of the whole for this purpose,” Jenkins, told local media outlets. “If that’s the case, then every bill that fails in a committee could be brought to the floor. For that reason, I would object to this bill being discharged.

All children, including transgender children, deserve to be supported and respected in school. Positive representation of LGBTQ+ people and issues in school is a critical part of creating an inclusive environment that protects LGBTQ+ kids’ safety and well-being,” Peyton Rose Michelle, Secretary on the Board of Directors of LA Trans Advocates said in an emailed statement. “This bill would also deny all students–not only LGBTQ+ students–the opportunity to learn accurate history and important lessons about the diverse world around them. I’m disappointed to see politicians putting partisan games above young people’s rights and freedoms. But I’m so proud of the young people and families who have already spoken out against this dangerous censorship effort and we won’t stop fighting for safe, supportive and liberating education for all.”

This legislation follows passage of a similar bill in Florida and efforts in Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia and 16 other states in at least 40 bills have been introduced to ban classroom discussion of LGBTQ+ people which opponents charge leads to erasure of LGBTQ+ identity and increased risks of suicide by LGBTQ+ youth.

Passage was opposed by LGBTQ+ advocacy groups as well as Democratic Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards whose office had released a statement:

“Some of the bills being brought up this session do nothing to make lives better. Nothing to continue moving us forward. They only serve to divide us. And frankly, some are reminiscent of a dark past that we should learn from, not relive.”

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Louisiana

Lambda Legal seeks block on Louisiana trans youth healthcare ban

The Louisiana Senate and House of Representatives voted to override Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ veto of Act 466, the Health Care Ban

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Typical jury instruction session delivered by Judge Omar Mason in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans. (Photo Credit: Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans)

NEW ORLEANS, La. – Five transgender Louisiana youth and their families sued a Louisiana state agency on Monday to stop the harm caused by the recently enacted “Health Care Ban” (HB 648), now Act 466, which prohibits the provision of necessary gender-affirming medical care only for minors who are transgender and punishes health care providers for providing such care in Louisiana.  

The law took effect last week on Jan. 1, after the state legislature overrode a veto by former Gov. John Bel Edwards last July. The lawsuit claims the Health Care Ban is unconstitutional under the Louisiana state constitution and that it violates the rights of transgender adolescents and their parents to dignity and equal protection under the law.  

According to the lawsuit, the Health Care Ban: 

  • Strips parents of their right to direct the health care of their children, including the right to decide, along with qualified health care providers, the best medical treatment for their child; 
  • Violates the Louisiana Constitution by unlawfully interfering with the minors’ fundamental right to obtain or reject medical treatment, with the support of their parents and advice of their medical providers; and 
  • Violates the Louisiana Constitution’s guarantee to equal protection of the laws by discriminating based on sex and transgender status. 

The lawsuit, Soe, et al. v. The Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners, et al. was filed in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, a state court in Louisiana which has jurisdiction over claims filed under the Louisiana Constitution. 

The Louisiana Senate and House of Representatives voted to override Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ veto of Act 466, the Health Care Ban, on July 18, 2023. Two other vetoes – of the “Don’t Say LGBTQ+” bill and the Pronoun Restriction bill – survived override votes. Act 466 went into effect on January 1, 2024.  

“The Health Care Ban is so upsetting,” plaintiff Max Moe said. “Growing up, I was intensely self-conscious of my body, which led to a near-constant state of discomfort. Oftentimes I was incredibly uncomfortable and anxious and even found it hard to talk. However, being able to access gender-affirming hormones and be my true self has been a lifesaver. I am now far more comfortable and confident and feel less distress. This health care has allowed me to be happy, healthy, and my true authentic self – the boy I know I am. I am terrified of what the Health Care Ban will do and worry about how my mental health might deteriorate.” 

In addition to Max, the plaintiffs suing the state include fellow minors Susie Soe, Daniel Doe, Nia Noe, and Grant Goe, ages 9 to 16, as well as their respective parents and guardians, all identified pseudonymously, who reside throughout the state from Orleans to Terrebonne to Livingston. 

“This Health Care Ban only stands to harm Louisiana’s trans youth and their families,” said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Counsel and Health Care Strategist for Lambda Legal. “The transgender young people we represent, along with hundreds of other minors in the state, are at risk of losing necessary, life-saving medical care just because Louisiana has singled them out for discriminatory treatment. Louisiana has prohibited this medical care only for minors who are transgender, despite it being evidence-based, safe, and effective, and being supported by all major medical organizations. Denying medical care to youth just because they are transgender is both unlawful and inhumane – especially when the same treatments remain available to all other minors. The Health Care Ban represents broad government overreach into the relationship between parents, their children, and their health care providers.” 

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MAGA anti-LGBTQ+ Republican elected as Louisiana’s governor

Landry received 52% of the statewide vote, and was the surprise victor Saturday by winning over 50% in the primary

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Republican Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry speaking to pro-life supporters on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2022. (Photo Credit: Office of the Louisiana Attorney General)

BROUSSARD, La. – Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry will become Louisiana’s 57th governor, after winning Saturday’s primary in a field with three other Republican candidates, a conservative independent and a lone Democrat.

Landry was endorsed by former President Donald Trump and garnered endorsements from House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who represents the congressional first district of Louisiana. Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a anti-LGBTQ+ hate group for its lies and propaganda against LGBTQ+ people, also endorsed Landry.

“Today’s election says that our state is united,” Landry told supporters as he celebrated his victory speech Saturday night. “It’s a wake up call and it’s a message that everyone should hear loud and clear, that we the people in this state are going to expect more out of our government from here on out.”

The Associated Press noted that Landry’s win is a major victory for the GOP as they reclaim the governor’s mansion for the first time in eight years. Landry will be sworn into office in January, replacing current Gov. John Bel Edwards, the lone Democratic governor in the Deep South, who was unable to seek reelection due to consecutive term limits.

Landry is a conservative firebrand who has repeatedly clashed with Edwards over LGBTQ+ rights and in 2020, was part of the group of Attorney’s General who joined the lawsuits that attempted to overturn the 2020 election.

The Louisiana Illuminator reported Landry received 52% of the statewide vote, and was the surprise victor Saturday by winning over 50% in the primary securing him the governor’s chair.

Shawn Wilson, the lone Democrat in the race, drew 26% of the vote — a paltry figure when considering that Democrats comprise roughly 40% of Louisiana’s electorate. Louisiana’s open primary format results in a runoff between the top two finishers unless a candidate receives 50% or more of the vote.

“There are no regrets in the Wilson household,” the Algiers native told supporters at the Westin Hotel in New Orleans.

Wilson’s chances of making a runoff with Landry hinged on coaxing enough turnout in the state’s urban centers. Heading into Election Day, a small segment of Republicans predicted Landry could claim the governor’s seat in the primary, perhaps serving as a deterrent to Democrats and supporters in the rest of the field.

A spokesperson for Wilson said he called Landry to concede once the governor-elect completed his victory speech. Wilson said he asked Landry to keep Medicaid expansion in Louisiana and raise teacher pay. Landry has previously said he would maintain status quo with Medicaid, which Gov. John Bel Edwards expanded on his first day in office in 2016.

“…While we might not understand everything that Jeff Landry wants to do as governor, I believe he wants to try to do the right thing, and it’s our job as Louisianians to make that happen,” Wilson said.

The 52-year-old governor-elect has garnered national attention the Associated Press reported since taking office as the state’s attorney general in 2016 over his involvement and staunch support of Louisiana laws that have drawn much debate, including banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender youths, the state’s near-total abortion ban that doesn’t have exceptions for cases of rape and incest, and a law restricting youths’ access to “sexually explicit material” in libraries, which opponents fear will target LGBTQ+ books.

Landry has repeatedly clashed with Edwards over matters in the state, including LGBTQ rights, state finances and the death penalty. However the Republican has also repeatedly put Louisiana in national fights, including over President Joe Biden’s policies that limit oil and gas production and COVID-19 vaccine mandates, the AP also noted.

Additional reporting by The Louisiana Illuminator & The Associated Press.

 

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The price of hate: Louisiana loses one of its 3 pediatric cardiologists

The environment created by anti-LGBTQ legislation in Louisiana, drove Out gay doctor, his husband & kids from home they loved for Long Island

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Dr. Jake Kleinmahon, New Orleans cardiologist being interviewed by NBC 6 prior to his departure from New Orleans. (Screenshot/YouTube WDSU NBC 6 New Orleans)

LONG ISLAND, N.Y. — While Jake and Tom Kleinmahon are busy settling-in to their new home in the suburbs of New York City — no easy task when you’re raising two children — Jake is also busy telling the story of why they moved here, more than 1,300 miles from New Orleans. 

Dr. Kleinmahon, one of three pediatric cardiologists in Louisiana, first shared that story on Instagram in July, about why they were leaving. It was not only because he accepted a new job in Queens, N.Y. 

“This is a wonderful new opportunity, but it is incredibly sad to leave our home, our friends, colleagues, and patients and their families,” he wrote on Instagram. “Our children come first. We cannot continue to raise them in this environment.”

The environment is what was created by anti-LGBTQ hate legislation in Louisiana, which the surgeon wrote is what drove the Kleinmahons from their beloved home in New Orleans. Now, he’s telling that story to reporters at TV stations, CNN and People magazine

As CNN reported, Kleinmahon is a graduate of Tulane University’s medical school, and after leaving the state to complete his fellowships, he said he felt compelled to return, five years ago.

“At the time there was only one heart transplant doctor in the state of Louisiana,” he said. “I believe the kids in Louisiana should have the same world class health care as any other part of the United States.” Before his return, hospitals often sent children out of state for the lifesaving care he provided. 

As the new director of the pediatric heart transplant program at a local children’s hospital, Kleinmahon started building a life with his husband in New Orleans, and raising a family. Peeling crawfish, celebrating Mardi Gras and going to Saints games was just a part of it; so was making friends and getting involved in community groups.

But this year, Kleinmahon told CNN he started having difficult conversations with his family about leaving the home they love. When he explained to his six-year-old daughter that their family had no choice but to leave New Orleans, she said, “We do have a choice, just one of them isn’t a good one.”

In Louisiana, where the governor is a Democrat but the legislature is dominated by Republicans, the legislature proposed bans on transgender student-athletes, an education bill restricting both students and teachers from discussing orientation and identity, and a ban on gender-affirming healthcare for trans and nonbinary youth. 

Kleinmahon lobbied against the bills, calling state lawmakers and writing letters to the state’s senate education committee. But he reached a breaking point when Republican state lawmakers walked out of a senate education committee meeting as opponents of the state’s version of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill were discussing why it was harmful.

“It really showed that they just don’t care,” Kleinmahon told CNN. “They are not going to support our children; they are not going to support our family.”

Almost four percent of adults in Louisana identify as LGBTQ+, according to the Movement Advancement Project. And its data shows 28 percent of LGBTQ+ adults are raising children there. 

The Republican-led legislature moved forward anyway, sending those bills to the governor in Baton Rouge, as the Los Angeles Blade reported. On July, 18, lawmakers voted to override Gov. John Bel Edwards’ vetoes of their anti-LGBTQ+ bills. His veto of anti-trans legislation survived the vote to override, but Louisiana will join 22 other states banning gender-affirming care in 2024.

The surgeon and his family bid farewell to New Orleans on Aug. 24.

Kleinmahon is now working as the director of Pediatric Heart Transplant, Heart Failure, and ventricular assist devices at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in Queens, and Louisiana has only two pediatric surgeons available as of press time. 

“Although we love New Orleans and we love Louisiana with all of our hearts,” Kleinmahon said, echoing his Instagram posts, “We can’t raise our children in this environment.”

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Louisiana lawmakers send anti-LGBTQ bills to Governor Edwards

“I guess I’ve always believed in my heart of hearts that a decision should be made by a patient and a physician”

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Governor John Bel Edwards signing a group of previous bills into law from the 2023 Legislative Session. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor/Facebook)

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana state Senate on Monday, following a national conservative movement targeting LGBTQ+ youth, approved three measures that target LGBTQ+ rights. The bills now head to the state’s Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards, one of which has spurred calls for the governor to veto from leading civil rights advocacy groups including the ACLU.

House Bill 648, a ban on trans youth gender-affirming health care, passed on a 29-10 vote that along party lines. HB 648 is the only bill of the three to receive a veto-proof majority vote in both House and Senate should the governor veto it, which sources say is highly likely.

“This extreme government overreach harms everyone in our state, especially transgender Louisianans, and we all deserve better,” ACLU spokesperson Kari Elgin said in a statement.

The local newspaper, The Advocate reported, the Senate voted Monday for HB 466, the ban on talk of gender and sex in school classrooms, on a 29-9 vote, a two-thirds majority; and for HB Bill 81, the pronoun bill, on a 31-8 vote, also a two-thirds majority. However, the House passed each of those bills earlier in session without two-thirds majority votes.

Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley released the following statement:

“From doctors’ offices to classrooms, Louisiana’s extremist legislators show no shame in assaulting the freedoms of those different from them. Blocking teachers from providing the safe and inclusive spaces that LGBTQ+ youth so desperately need is an unconscionable act. There is absolutely nothing inappropriate about being LGBTQ+ or in acknowledging LGBTQ+ issues and people. Furthermore, denying transgender and non-binary youth access to best-practice, life-saving medical care puts their lives in very real danger.  

These bills are a desperate and cruel effort by radical politicians in Louisiana to marginalize and erase the LGBTQ+ community, particularly transgender youth. The Human Rights Campaign strongly condemns these discriminatory bills and calls on Gov. Bel Edwards to veto them.”

There was opposition to the trans youth healthcare ban from Senator Republican Committee Chairman Fred Mills, of Parks, joined who had joined with the Democrats in opposition. The bill killed by the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, which Mills is chair of on May 24, which was thought to have effectively killed the bill for this legislative session.

According to the Advocate after weeks of political maneuvering that saw it revived by the full Senate as political pressure mounted from conservative interest groups and then approved last week by a second Senate panel, sending it back to the full chamber.

Last month Mills, who expressed his trust in science and health care providers before joining Democrats in opposition.

“I guess I’ve always believed in my heart of hearts that a decision should be made by a patient and a physician,” Mills said.

Speaking to the Advocate Monday, Mills said his vote was driven by his belief that decisions about medical care should remain between doctors and patients. He said Monday that blowback to his vote, which included threats from local and national conservatives, came as a surprise because he was unaware of the “cultural war” the issue was enmeshed in.

“This is probably one of the biggest blessings of my life, this controversy,” he said. “I’ve been attacked nationwide by people with hate. But I do not hate these people. I know God blesses them.”

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Bill to ban healthcare for trans youth defeated in Louisiana Senate

“I guess I’ve always believed in my heart of hearts that a decision should be made by a patient and a physician”

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Louisiana state capitol building in Baton Rouge. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

BATON ROUGE – House Bill 648, a bill that would have banned gender-affirming care for transgender children in Louisiana was defeated by the Senate Health and Welfare Committee’s vote effectively killing the bill for this legislative session.

“The Senate Health and Welfare Committee has chosen to protect Louisiana’s transgender children by rejecting HB-648. This is a powerful win for transgender children and their families. We lift up and celebrate the incredible families, advocates, providers, and lawmakers who worked to stop this dangerous bill that targeted transgender children and stripped rights from their parents,” a spokesperson for the ACLU of Louisiana said in a statement.

“The fight to protect the rights of transgender children and their families is far from over. But make no mistake, as states across the country pass harmful bills that mirror HB648, today’s committee vote matters, and sends a powerful message that will be heard nationwide.”

The committee hearing room was filled to nearly over capacity with trans Louisianians, their supporters and allies. According to New Orleans Public Radio 89.9 FM WNNO: The committee killed the bill in a narrow 5 to 4 vote mostly split along party lines after hours of emotional testimony and contentious debate in the packed room. Republican Committee Chairman Fred Mills, of Parks, joined Democrats in opposition.

During the at times contentious debate, anti-trans opponents and Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Michael “Gabe” Firment, R-Pollock, the legislation’s author, repeatedly referred to gender-affirming care and surgery for transgender minors as a “mutilation” of childrens’ bodies. They also claimed these treatments are “experimental.”

Dr. Quentin Van Meter, a pediatric endocrinologist from Atlanta, Georgia, told the panel, “We are flying an airplane while we build the airplane,” while others backing the bill rejected the that banning gender-affirming care would lead to worse mental health conditions for minors.

Opponents pointed out that childrens’ inability to make significant life decisions and because of that, legally minors cannot purchase alcohol or get a tattoo, there’s no reason to allow them to transition.

A trans advocate, Dr. Clifton Mixon, a Louisiana psychologist who works with trans youth in the state, rebuked the idea that doctors are mutilating childrens’ genitalia. In his testimony, he also pointed out how rarely these procedures occur in the state: From 2017 to 2021, there weren’t any gender-affirming surgical procedures performed on minors in Louisiana, according to a Louisiana Department of Health study published in 2022.

WNNO noted that state Sen. Jay Luneau, D-Alexandria, said he was concerned that the bill would take away parental rights and called the bill “a solution looking for a problem.”

Luneau said he believes every person who testified, including those that are happy with and those who regret their decision to transition. But lawmakers cannot legislate individual’s decisions, he said.

Luneau made the motion to defer the bill. The decision came down to chairman Mills, who expressed his trust in science and health care providers before joining Democrats in opposition.

“I guess I’ve always believed in my heart of hearts that a decision should be made by a patient and a physician,” Mills said.

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Louisiana’s GOP-led House passes ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

The bill is much broader than a similar measure passed in Florida and recently expanded that would apply to all K-12 grades

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State Rep. Dodie Horton, R-Haughton, debates her bill on the Louisiana House floor on May 9, 2023. (Photo credit: Wes Muller/Louisiana Illuminator)

By Wesley Muller | BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana House of Representatives passed a so-called Don’t Say Gay bill Tuesday that would prohibit teachers from discussing gender identity or sexual orientation, and it would protect only teachers and parents who hold conservative views of transgender rights. 

House Bill 466, sponsored by Rep. Dodie Horton, R-Haughton, passed in a 67-28 vote. Six Democrats joined with Republicans on the measure, including Reps. Roy Adams of Jackson, Chad Brown of Plaquemine, Mack Cormier of Belle Chasse, Kenny Cox of Natchitoches, C. Travis Johnson of Vidalia, and Pat Moore of Monroe.

At the same time, five Republicans voted against it: Reps. Mary DuBuisson of Slidell, Barbara Freiberg of Baton Rouge, Stephanie Hilferty of Metairie, Tanner Magee of Houma, and Richard Nelson of Mandeville.

The bill is much broader than a similar measure passed in Florida and recently expanded that would apply to all K-12 grades. Horton’s proposal applies to any school employee or volunteer, and it covers discussions in the classroom and during any extracurricular activity.

Rep. Mandie Landry, D-New Orleans, asked if such a law would prohibit civics classes from covering U.S. Supreme Court cases on same-sex marriage. No one answered her question.

Florida’s law also makes allowances for situations in which a student may be subject to physical or emotional abuse by their parents. It allows school personnel to withhold information from a parent if they believe disclosure might result in abuse, abandonment or neglect. Horton’s bill has nothing like that.

Similar to a bill the House passed Monday, Horton’s legislation would further prohibit the use of a student’s preferred pronoun that differs from the gender listed on their birth certificate unless a student’s parent provides written permission. However, her bill would allow a teacher to ignore a parent’s permission for certain religious or moral reasons. 

Only parents and teachers who take the more conservative position of refusing to accept a child’s preferred pronoun would be protected under Horton’s proposal. Her bill makes no allowances for teachers who might hold moral or religious views that would compel them to accommodate transgender students who don’t have their parents’ permission.

Florida’s law contains no prohibitions on pronoun or name use. 

Horton accused Louisiana teachers of indoctrinating students with certain ideologies and said children shouldn’t be “socially engineered” at school. She added that no schools, school boards or school districts in Louisiana have expressed any opposition to her effort.

When asked for specific instances of indoctrination, she said she saw a tweet in which a teacher claimed to “delight” in causing confusion by dressing like a man on some days and a female on other days.

In response, Rep. Matthew Willard, D-New Orleans, pointed out that Horton’s bill would do nothing to stop teachers from dressing in ways that might confuse their students. 

Rep. Barry Ivey, R-Central, said a teacher who speaks with a student about gender identity is essentially engaging in “malpractice” because such discussions should be left to medical professionals.

The bill next heads to the Senate for consideration.

Correction: Six Democrats voted in favor of House Bill 466. A previous version of this article left out one of the names.

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Wesley Muller

Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the years since then, he has freelanced for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and worked on staff at the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9 News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi.

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The preceding piece was previously published by the Louisiana Illuminator and is republished by permission.

Louisiana Illuminator is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Louisiana Illuminator maintains editorial independence.

Follow Louisiana Illuminator on Facebook and Twitter.

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30 year vet Out Meteorologist David Bernard turns hate into LGBTQ+ love

“What I won’t accept are personal attacks about me- And by the way the word faggot has two G’s,” Bernard noted

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Screenshot/YouTube Fox 8 New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS – Weather predictions and forecasting can sometimes seem like an inartistic interpretation of the sciences behind the subject and when you’re in front of a television audience on a news cast? Well that oft times leads to criticism- when you get the forecast wrong.

Recently though for veteran openly gay Fox 8 New Orleans meteorologist David Bernard, a bit of criticism turned ugly and homophobic. Writing on his personal Facebook page, Bernard relayed what happened:

“I received a disturbing email yesterday from a person who was upset about the forecast. After 30 years I can stand and accept the criticism when I get it wrong.

What I won’t accept are personal attacks about me. This individual sent me this email using his company email which I’m refraining from posting at this time since I don’t know if it is his own or owned by others.

And by the way the word faggot has two G’s”

Bernard decided that in light of this nasty hate filled diatribe he would turn a negative into a positive.

“I love all of you. Let me make clear that I am doing ok. Being an out gay man in public has had its struggles especially 30 years ago when I got into television but because of the support of so many family members, friends and people like you it has gotten much easier. But the reality is it is NOT easy for many people still today who feel marginalized. Comments like the one in the email are like a death by a thousand cuts for those that don’t have that support network in place. I have supported the Trevor Project over the years and made a donation today. I invite you to do the same or to any other organization that helps those who have less or are made to feel they are less.”

Bernard then left the following link for viewers, followers and those wishing to donate:

https://give.thetrevorproject.org/give/63307/#!/donation/checkout

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Louisiana’s anti-Trans sports ban enacted without governor’s intervention

The governor labeled the bill as “mean” because it targets “the most emotionally fragile children in the state of Louisiana” 

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Louisiana State Capitol (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

BATON ROUGE – The measure titled the ‘the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,’ SB 44 took effect Monday banning transgender women and girls from competing on sports teams consistent with their gender at all public and some private elementary and secondary schools and colleges in Louisiana.

The measure became law after the state’s Democratic Governor Gov. John Bel Edwards decided to take not action on the legislation. Last year the governor had vetoed a similar measure, which was also introduced by Republican state Sen. Beth Mizell, which Edwards had labeled “a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana,” in his veto statement.

The governor noted in his veto last July: “As I have said repeatedly when asked about this bill, discrimination is not a Louisiana value, and this bill was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana. Even the author of the bill acknowledged throughout the legislative session that there wasn’t a single case where this was an issue.”

During a press conference after his veto Edwards told reporters:

“I would rather the headlines going out from today be that Louisiana did what was right and best. We rejected a play out of a national playbook that just had no place in Louisiana. That bill wasn’t crafted for our state, I mean go read it and look at the arguments that were made. None of that applies here,” Edwards said.

He further said that the bill was “mean” because it targets “the most emotionally fragile children in the state of Louisiana.” 

“We have to be better than that,” Edwards said. “We have to be better than that.” 

On Monday, June 5, at his press briefing the governor noted that it was clear to him that lawmakers would move to override his veto if he issued another one this year. He added that he remains completely opposed to the ban.

“Whether it’s intended or not, the effect is to tell — send a strong message to at least some of these young people that they shouldn’t be who they think they are, who they believe they are, who they know that they are,” he said. “And I find that very distressing. I do believe that we can be better than that.”

The law requires that participation in sports will be defined by a student’s “biological sex” as listed on the student’s official birth certificate “which is entered at or near the time of the student’s birth.”

The legislation also protects schools, coaches and other school employees enforcing the ban from any legal action and allows cisgender women to seek legal action if they allege that participation by a Trans athlete allowed by a school “deprived them of an athletic opportunity” because of a violation of the ban.

“Louisiana enacting an anti-trans sports ban marks the 25th anti-trans bill passed this year. Pride Month should be a time of celebration, not one of fear and anxiety. According to The Trevor Project’s research, 83% of transgender and nonbinary youth said that they have worried about transgender people being denied the ability to play sports due to state or local laws. Nearly 1 in 5 attempted suicide in the past year,” said Carrie Davis, Chief Community Officer for The Trevor Project. “This Pride, we need our cisgender and straight allies, especially those in government, sports, healthcare, and the business world, to speak out and take action for the transgender and nonbinary youth under attack. We can promote fairness in sports without sidelining all transgender students in the process, but we also know these attacks are not about fairness in sports — they’re about our very existence. The press must recognize that these bills are part of a larger effort to erase transgender and nonbinary youth by making it virtually impossible to grow up trans.”

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Louisiana lawmakers reject ‘Don’t say gay’ bill

The bill was opposed by the state’s LGBTQ+ advocacy groups as well as Democratic Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards

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Louisiana State Capitol building (Photo Credit: Screenshot YouTube LA State Government)

BATON ROUGE –  A sweeping bill that would bar school employees from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in K-12 classrooms in the state was killed in the Louisiana House Education Committee Tuesday.

House Bill 837, introduced by state Representative Dodie Horton, (R-District 9-Bossier) would enact a law that: 

  • No teacher, school employee, or other presenter shall cover the topics of sexual orientation or gender identity in any classroom discussion or instruction in kindergarten through grade eight.
  • No teacher, school employee, or other presenter shall discuss his own sexual orientation or gender identity with students in kindergarten through grade twelve.

Horton, speaking with ABC News’ Baton Rouge affiliate WBRZ-2, at the time she introduced the legislation told the station;

“I wasn’t aware of the need [for this legislation] until I looked at some things on Twitter and Facebook,” Horton told WBRZ Thursday. “It just solidified for us to protect our Louisiana children, as well.”

“I started to pray about how we could protect our children here from inappropriate conversations until they are able to dissect it and old enough to understand it,” Horton explained. “I talked to my pastor and he challenged me and said, ‘we definitely need to do this.’”

This legislation follows passage of a similar bill in Florida and efforts in Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia and 16 other states in at least 40 bills have been introduced to ban classroom discussion of LGBTQ+ people which opponents charge leads to erasure of LGBTQ+ identity and increased risks of suicide by LGBTQ+ youth.

Passage was opposed by LGBTQ+ advocacy groups as well as Democratic Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards whose office had released a statement:

“Some of the bills being brought up this session do nothing to make lives better. Nothing to continue moving us forward. They only serve to divide us. And frankly, some are reminiscent of a dark past that we should learn from, not relive.”

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Louisiana

‘Don’t Say Gay’ pile-on: Louisiana State Rep. introduces sweeping bill

Horton told WBRZ ABC 2: “I talked to my pastor and he challenged me and said, ‘we definitely need to do this’”

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Rep. Dodie Horton, (R) being interviewed by WBRZ-2 (Screenshot/WBRZ)

BATON ROUGE- Louisiana House Representative Dodie Horton, Republican District 9-Bossier Parish, introduced a sweeping bill Thursday that would bar school employees from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in K-12 classrooms in the state.

House Bill 837 states: 

  • No teacher, school employee, or other presenter shall cover the topics of sexual orientation or gender identity in any classroom discussion or instruction in kindergarten through grade eight.
  • No teacher, school employee, or other presenter shall discuss his own sexual orientation or gender identity with students in kindergarten through grade twelve.

Horton, speaking with ABC News’ Baton Rouge affiliate WBRZ-2, told the station;

“I wasn’t aware of the need [for this legislation] until I looked at some things on Twitter and Facebook,” Horton told WBRZ Thursday. “It just solidified for us to protect our Louisiana children, as well.”

“I started to pray about how we could protect our children here from inappropriate conversations until they are able to dissect it and old enough to understand it,” Horton explained. “I talked to my pastor and he challenged me and said, ‘we definitely need to do this.’”

This legislation follows passage of a similar bill in Florida and efforts in Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia and 16 other states in at least 40 bills have been introduced to ban classroom discussion of LGBTQ+ people which opponents charge leads to erasure of LGBTQ+ identity and increased risks of suicide by LGBTQ+ youth.

Governor John Bel Edwards’ office released the following statement in response to the bill, reiterating comments made by the governor during Monday’s State of the State address. 

“Some of the bills being brought up this session do nothing to make lives better. Nothing to continue moving us forward. They only serve to divide us. And frankly, some are reminiscent of a dark past that we should learn from, not relive.”

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