A soft-spoken Republican state legislator in Louisiana has struck down a bill that would ban affirming health care for transgender youth in the state, the only southern state that has not banned gender-affirming care amid a wave of restrictive measures. aimed at LGBT+ people across the country.
State Senator Fred Mills, chairman of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, cast the committee’s 5-4 tiebreaking vote to block the bill’s progress in the GOP-dominated state legislature on May 23.
After the vote, Mills faced a barrage of attacks from far-right anti-trans activists on social media, his businesses received harassing messages, and the Louisiana GOP is pressuring state legislators to bypass the committee process and put the bill voting law. Senate floor for voting.
Louisiana House Republicans also plan to sabotage other legislation to send a message to the state Senate.
Mr. Mills, who is not seeking re-election and made sympathetic parting remarks to his Senate colleagues on May 25, seems unfazed.
“Anytime you have to tie a vote, no matter which way you vote, there’s going to be backlash, and this is a national issue,” Mills told the USA Today Network. “I did as I always do. I heard the debate and took the vote I thought was right. Why would I want to handcuff a doctor and his decision? I think they know more about it than the politicians.”
Self-described fascist anti-trans expert Matt Walsh issued a threat to his nearly 2 million Twitter followers and claimed that Mills “sided with the butchers and grooms,” using transphobic slurs to falsely suggest that the state legislator for the parish of St. Martin supports pedophilia.
“He’ll be sorry”, Walsh he said. “This is the biggest mistake of his political career and also the end of his career. He will be infamous and disgraced by his own base. We’ll make sure of it.
Far-right activist Greg Price with the State Freedom Caucus Network counted his followers to “let Senator Mills know how you feel about him single-handedly killing this bill to ban sex reassignments for children.”
Louisiana is the only state in the southern US that has not banned gender-affirming care for transgender youth.
Nineteen states have enacted legislation to ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth, and at least eight other states are considering similar legislation, against the advice of major medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recommend affirmative treatment. for young trans people with gender dysphoria.
House Bill 648, authored by Republican State Representative Gabe Firment, would prohibit state health care providers from administering affirmative care to patients under 18 or face revocation of their professional license.
Such care may include hormone replacement therapy and puberty blockers, which are also often prescribed for cisgender or non-transgender youth, as well as social transition measures, mental health and affirmative surgery, which are not recommended by major medical guidelines.
A statewide report from the Louisiana Department of Health found that no affirmative surgery was performed on minors enrolled in Medicaid in the state between 2017 and 2021, and the prescription of affirmative medication to transgender youth in the same period was also extremely rare.
Mr. Mills said witness testimony and health department reports persuaded him to vote against the bill.
“All the testimony I’ve heard from proponents that children are being mutilated, I haven’t seen it in the statistics,” he told the Louisiana illuminator.
“I have always believed, deep in my heart, that a decision should be made by a patient and a doctor. I believe in Louisiana doctors,” she added. “I believe in the reach of practice. I believe in the standard of care.”
Following nationwide backlash from far-right groups, the Louisiana Republican Party issued a statement calling for “procedural action that will result in a Senate floor vote” on House Bill 648 to give “all senators” a ” chance to evaluate this fundamental piece. of legislation”.
“The Louisiana Republican Party is deeply disappointed in Senator Fred Mills’ tiebreaking vote” to overturn the legislation in committee, according to a party statement.
The bill passed the state’s House of Representatives by a vote of 71-24.
trans lawyers in louisiana he said the Republican Party’s strategy “would be a complete disregard for process and would be undemocratic.”
The legislation’s onslaught and volatile political debate surrounding the bills have also negatively impacted the mental health of an overwhelming majority of trans and non-binary youth, according to research by The Trevor Project and Morning Consult. A separate survey by The Trevor Project found that 41% of trans and non-binary youth have seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year.
“When you prescribe hormone therapies for these kids, they get better,” Louisiana psychologist Clifton Mixon told the state Senate health committee this week. “They want to live. They go to school. They get better grades. Their relationships improve and they can start to live a more normal teenage life.”