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Louisiana Is Poised to Enact Its Own “Don’t Say Gay” Law

The bill is the second in the span of a week to attack the rights of LGBTQ+ Louisianans, following a trans bathroom ban.

Protesters gather outside the Louisiana state capitol during a rally against Louisiana's stay-at-home order and economic shutdown on April 25, 2020, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Louisiana State Senators advanced a bill on Thursday to ban discussions of LGBTQ+ issues in schools across the state, and prevent queer teachers from sharing details about their own lives.

Passed by the Senate on Thursday by a 28-7 margin with all Republican and 2 Democratic votes, House Bill 122 heads to Governor Jeff Landry’s desk, a staunch conservative who rallies against moderate voices within his party.

The bill, which would “prohibit teachers and others from discussing their sexual orientation or gender identity with students,” has been likened to the “Don’t Say Gay” bills of Florida, Texas and others by critics, who argue that the bills harm queer youth.

Mirroring Florida’s legislation, the proposal bans the discussion of LGBTQ+ issues in the classroom all the way through the high school level.

One Democratic state senator who voted against the bill, Royce Duplessis, cited data suggesting that 40% of LGBTQ+ youth contemplated suicide in the past year, and that “Don’t Say Gay” legislation makes queer youth mental health worse, per the New Orleans Advocate.

The legislation is the second in a week’s span to attack the rights of LGBTQ+ Louisianans, after a transgender bathroom ban monikered the “Women’s Safety and Protection Act” passed both chambers last Friday.

As the American Civil Liberties Union noted, more than 35 states have taken up bills to roll back or strip away protections from LGBTQ+ people, with at least 12 states passing such legislation in the first 5 months of 2024.

At a federal level, former President Donald Trump and supporters of the ultra-conservative Project 2025 gear up to strip away hard-fought LGBTQ+ rights gained over the last several decades. Additionally, after attacks on the 50-year-old right to seek abortions, speculation on whether the U.S. Supreme Court could overturn the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges mounts.

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