This year the acid churn of existential worry that accompanies the advent of hurricane season is compounded for trans youth in Louisiana amid a legislative session that is blowing their sense of safety to smithereens. Members of the state senate and legislature have employed coercive legislature maneuvers to push forward a series of bills that will affect trans kids in their doctors’ offices, schools and public libraries.
The most concerning threat has been a proposed ban on gender-affirming care for transgender minors (HB 648), offered by State Rep. Gabe Firment, a Republican from an agricultural region in central Louisiana’s Bible belt, and per his campaign expenditures report, a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council, known for boasting of its anti-LGBTQ+ legislative wins. Firment claims to be “protecting innocent children,” but his district is also home to the nation’s only commercial hazardous waste open-burn, open-detonation facility in the country, where his constituents’ children suffer respiratory ailments, chronic sinus infections, dermatological disorders and seizures, while their parents and grandparents also suffer from horrific maladies known to correlate to open burning of hazardous waste. As the community has mounted a valiant asymmetrical fight against the facility’s permit renewal, a staff member from Firment’s office regularly attends the public meetings, sitting silently at the back of the room. In this critical legislative session, Firment has moved no bills to help any of them breathe easier.
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