Louisiana’s Senate has approved a controversial bill to prohibit gender-affirming medical care for transgender youths. The legislation faced rejection last month but was revived after Republican lawmakers, pressured by anti-transgender activists on social media and the Republican Party, voted to kill the bill. Legislators have now passed the bill along party lines, with a 29-10 vote. The measure bans surgery, hormone treatments, and drugs that can halt puberty for transgender minors.
The bill will return to the House for approval of minor changes, including putting the law into effect from 1 January 2024. If the House approves, the bill will pass to Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, who has not yet stated whether he supports it or not. Edwards previously allowed a law to ban transgender athletes from women’s sports, but he vetoed a similar measure last year.
Critics of the ban argue that gender-affirming care can be lifesaving for individuals who suffer from gender dysphoria, a condition caused by distress over gender identity. They state that proponents overlook the increased likelihood of stress, depression, and suicide without care. However, supporters believe that the ban will protect children from taking irreversible medical procedures before they reach adulthood.
Currently, individuals under 18 in Louisiana need parental permission to receive any gender-affirming health care. If the ban passes, Louisiana would join 18 other states that have already established laws prohibiting or limiting gender-affirming medical treatment for trans youths.