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BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Louisiana legislators joined the national debate on if transgender minors should have access to gender affirming care. The debate was a long and tense debate over conflicting statistics and passionate pleas from the transgender community. 

HB463 State Rep. Gabe Firment, R-Pollock, would punish doctors who provide gender affirming care which includes hormone treatments and gender reassignment surgery to minors. Already parents have to give permission for kids to get the care.

Firment made claims people are against the bill because it makes them a profit and claimed a lot of the statistics from doctors who treat transgender kids are not accurate.

“The gender industry can only survive by promoting this idea,” Firment said.

Discussion from those in favor of the bill talked about kids regretting their transition and misinformation spread about the percentage of transgender people de-transitioning. The percentage point varied from speaker to speaker. Proponents for the bill brought in two young women who have testified across the country about having negative experiences transitioning young and have de-transitioned.

Parents of transgender kids talked about how it is already a years-long process to get access to hormones and surgery is in most cases off the table for kids. One parent said the conversation around the hormones being prescribed without care is not what they experienced and his child even struggled to get access to the treatment. 

Lucus Doucet, of Lafayette, said he accepted a job outside of the state due to potential restrictions to his son’s gender affirming care.

“My wife and I had to have an honest conversation about leaving the state,” Doucet said. “And as this bill was being read into the books in this body, I accepted a job for a company out of Northbrook, Illinois, because I know that my child will be taking care of there.”

Doctors and mental health professionals talked about the extensive counseling children have to go through to make sure they are eligible for puberty blockers and hormone treatments.

“I see patients go from having to be hospitalized recurrently, being so depressed that they don’t leave their room, having trouble making friends because they feel so bad about themselves, to being a completely different child who is happy and healthy,” said Dr. Clifton Mixon.

An amendment was brought by State Rep. Jason Hughes, D-New Orleans, that would have kept the ban on gender reassignment surgery, but the parents could allow hormone treatments with written permission. It would have also required two years of counseling before hormone treatments could begin. The amendment, in the end, was voted down.

“Trans youth to some of the most vulnerable kids in this world. And so I’m really trying to do my part to keep them alive because they’re dying at alarming rates due to suicide,” Hughes said.

Doctors shared at length about the statistics of suicide rates in the transgender youth population – and how it is due to lack of support and acceptance. Firment claimed the suicide rates are fabricated.

“We can’t trust mental health professionals that you have that you’re relying on in your amendment to do the right thing,” Firment said.

14 legislators across the aisle voted to advance the bill and a bipartisan three voted against it.

After over 5 hours of testimony, 14 legislators voted to advance the bill, and a bipartisan three voted against it. The bill now advances to the full House.