Several states throughout America, including Louisiana, have been proposing and passing anti-trans legislation over the past few years, primarily targeting transgender youth.
Louisiana has introduced three anti-trans bills in the state legislature, though these have not yet been passed.
The Given Name Act would require that school employees may not use a student’s preferred name and pronouns without a written permission from a parent, and also that employees cannot be required to use a person’s pronouns that differ from their assigned gender at birth “if doing so is contrary to the employee’s religious or moral convictions.”
Louisiana House Bill 466 states that teachers, school employees or presenters at a school are prohibited from talking to students about sexual orientation or gender identity “in a manner that deviates from state content standards or curricula developed or approved by public school governing authorities.”
Finally, Louisiana House Bill 463, also called The Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act, prohibits minors from receiving gender affirming healthcare. The bill claims that “these procedures can lead to the minor becoming irreversibly sterile, having increased risk of disease and illness, or suffering from adverse and sometimes fatal psychological consequences.”
This is despite the fact that, according to a study from the Stanford University School of Medicine, transgender people who began hormone therapy during their adolescence experienced less suicidal ideation, fewer issues related to mental health and were less prone to substance abuse than those who began hormone therapy later in life.
Deanna Adkins, M.D., director of the Duke Child and Adolescent Gender Care Clinic in Durham, North Carolina, shared with the Association of America Medical Colleges the positive effects of gender-affirming care for youth.
“Most of them are happier, less depressed and less anxious,” Adkins said. “Their schoolwork often improves, their safety often improves.”
Surgical procedures are rarely provided to people under 18 anyway. Instead, care for transgender youth usually involves counseling, resources to help change their outward appearance, such as hair and makeup lessons, speech therapy, body hair removal, etc. These interventions are provided to youth because they are not permanent and can be reversed.
Youth who haven’t completed puberty yet may also be given puberty blockers, which is medication that slows down the effects of puberty to give them a chance to fully assess their gender identity. According to the Provincial Health Services Authority, there are no known irreversible effects to taking puberty blockers; if someone decides to stop taking them, their body will go through puberty normally.
Earlier this month, Indiana passed a law prohibiting transgender youth from gender-affirming medication or surgery and requires them to stop taking any medications that aid in transitioning by the end of the year. Idaho also passed a law this month that criminalizes gender-affirming care for youth.
These states are not alone, as at least 12 states have laws that block gender-affirming care for minors, and at least 19 others are proposing a variety of bills targeting transgender youth: from bills blocking gender-affirming care, or affecting their participation in school and extracurriculars.
Doc Theriot, a sophomore majoring in english education, shared his thoughts as a trans man on the issue.
“I think it’s a load of garbage. They are using these laws to deflect from what is really putting children in danger,” Theriot said. “They don’t want to legislate gun laws to keep children safe in school, so they go after innocent people and say it’s to ‘protect the children.’ Bodily autonomy is important for ALL. Respect is lacking in all places in these American laws. It’s disgusting and a gross overstepping of lawmakers.”
DeeDee Toussaint, a junior majoring in psychology, shared that she felt these laws stem from ignorance and hate.
“People are ignorant to things like gender dysphoria and other biological changes that come into play, nor do they do research on it because it doesn’t fit the narrative they want, and they go the extra mile to justify their hate and discrimination which is simply wrong,” Toussaint said.
She further added that she believes that lawmakers are willfully trying to keep others ignorant to further the current trend of discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community.
“Keeping people and future generations ignorant to these things are the government’s exact goal, so that we’re ostracized even more as time goes by,” Toussaint said. “And now they’re focusing on laws that restrict our representation like we haven’t had enough as is, and this is all for the sake of how someone else views another human being for the life they live that doesn’t affect another directly.”