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Equality Federation
Equality Federation

Louisiana anti-LGBTQ bills advance from Senate
On April 3, a GOP-dominated Louisiana Senate debated two bills targeting the LGBTQ community. The House Committee on Education quietly had advanced the bills during the session, which notably had very few public audience members due to severe storms.

The first bill would ban K-12 public school teachers from discussing gender identity or sexual orientation in the classroom, similar to Florida's "Don't Say Gay" law and many other similar proposed state bills. Teachers would be prohibited from discussing these topics "in a manner that deviates from state content standards or curricula developed or approved by the public school governing authority," as well as discussing their own gender identity or sexual orientation.

The second would require teachers to use the pronouns and name that align with a student's sex assigned at birth. The one exception to this would be written parental consent, which can still be overridden by the teacher, if doing so does not align with their "religious or moral values."

Last year, two nearly identical bills were vetoed by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards. This year, with the support of the new GOP governor, Jeff Landry, lawmakers are reconsidering the legislation.

On April 4, an additional measure to make LGBTQ discrimination in the workplace illegal failed to pass. The measure would have prohibited employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Louisiana's current employment discrimination law does not explicitly protect either category.

Charlie Reidel / AP  

Major sports association bans Trans women from participating
On April 8, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes banned Transgender women from participating in women's sports. NAIA, which represents small colleges and universities, has stated, "Student-athletes whose biological sex is female may participate in NAIA-sponsored female sports."

On Trans men and Trans-masculine people, the policy specifies that "any student who has not begun any masculinizing hormone therapy may participate without limitation." If, however, a student has begun such therapy, they may attend "all activities that are internal to the institution" but not interscholastic events. It further states, "Any NAIA institution that has a student-athlete who has begun masculinizing hormone therapy must notify the NAIA national office."

Despite considerable scientific proof that Transgender women have no inherent biological advantage over cisgender women in sports, NAIA asserts that this policy will prevent competitive advantages.

In just the last few years, 24 states have passed laws restricting Transgender students' participation in sports. The NAIA policy, which "will be subject to review in light of any legal, scientific, or medical developments," will take effect August 1.

Colorado: Five Trans migrants in ICE custody mistreated at detention center
Five Transgender and Nonbinary migrants in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody reported being mistreated at an immigration detention center in Colorado.

On April 9, immigrant rights advocates filed a civil rights complaint with the Department of Homeland Security, citing medical neglect, inadequate access to necessary medical and mental health care, and dehumanizing treatment, and calling for change in ICE's handling of Transgender immigrants.

The detainees are currently held at the privately run Aurora Contract Detention Facility, which incarcerates people with pending or recently concluded immigration legal matters. The facility has received several complaints in the past for instances of abuse, neglect, excessive force, and racial discrimination, among other violations of human rights.

One of the five detainees reported that she and other Trans women are locked in their dorm for 23 hours a day. "I thought they'd take care of us, give us more freedom, recognize that we have suffered the most, we are the most vulnerable," she said. "We came from our countries being horribly treated, and we get here and they treat us horribly." Other detainees have been threatened with solitary confinement, and one reported hesitating to start hormone replacement therapy for fear of being placed in solitary.

Another detainee of over two years reported not being treated for hypertension while experiencing dangerously high blood pressure. She said that the lack of access to exercise, poor food, and the stress of her prolonged detention led to her health deteriorating. Three of the five complained of a female guard who harassed them by taking their personal hygiene products and replacing them with menstrual products, saying they'd need those things if they were real women.

The complaint states, "Our clients and medical experts reveal that ICE cannot safely and humanely incarcerate people who are transgender and nonbinary ('TNB')" and calls for "the immediate and permanent end to ICE's practice of detaining TNB people in civil immigration custody."

ICE spokesperson Steve Kotecki stated that "ICE is committed to ensuring that all those in its custody reside in safe, secure, and humane environments," and that the agency "regularly reviews each case involving self-identified transgender noncitizens and determines on a case-by-case basis whether detention is warranted."

The DHS's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties has said it will evaluate the complaints and determine if it should open an investigation.