Louisiana lawmaker who bucked GOP on gender-affirming care ban unfazed by national critics 

By: - May 25, 2023 6:00 am
Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks

Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks (Sarah Gamard/LSU Manship School News Service)

State Sen. Fred Mills is the latest target of national conservative activists after bucking the Republican Party by voting to kill a proposed ban on gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth But he’s not worried about it. 

“Why should I?,” Mills said in an interview after he broke a tie vote Wednesday in the Louisiana Senate Health and Welfare Committee. “They don’t live in District 22. They don’t have a 337 area code.” 

“I didn’t run for office to serve those people,” added Mills, a GOP member and pharmacist who represents portions of four rural parishes and New Iberia. 

Mills, chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, started receiving immediate backlash on social media after casting the deciding vote on proposed ban on gender-affirming healthcare for minors, killing the bill for the year. 

Fred Mills has sided with the butchers and groomers,” Matt Walsh, a conservative commentator tweeted to his nearly 2 million followers. “He will regret it. This is the biggest mistake of his political career, and also the end of his career. He’s going to be infamous and disgraced by his own base. We’ll make sure of that.” 

Mills is term-limited and hasn’t indicated he will seek another elected office.

Trans youth healthcare ban killed in Louisiana, giving LGBTQ+ community a rare win 

Greg Price, who works with the State Freedom Caucus Network, which just established an ultra-conservative caucus within the Louisiana legislature, shared with his 300,000 Twitter followers that Mills has received donations from pharmaceutical companies. 

“One look at his donors shows massive contributions from Big Pharma, which gets rich off giving these drugs to children,” Price tweeted. 

Other social media users pointed out that Mills had appeared in drag in a series of commercials for his pharmacy. 

Mills, who does not use social media but heard about the posts from others at the State Capitol, was unfazed. 

He said he hadn’t made up his mind on Rep. Gabe Firment’s gender-affirming care ban before the committee hearing. But after listening to testimony and details from a Louisiana Department of Health report that said no minors on Medicaid underwent gender-affirming surgeries, which are not recommended for adolescents, over a five-year period, and that just a few dozen received reversible treatments, he decided to vote against the bill. 

“My decision was really, really based on the numbers,” Mills said. “All the testimony I heard by the proponents that children are getting mutilated, I didn’t see it in the statistics.” 

Mills has received mostly thanks on his vote from his colleagues, including other Republican senators not on the committee, he said. 

Louisiana remains the only state along the Gulf Coast that hasn’t banned gender-affirming healthcare, although Alabama faces a lawsuit for its prohibition.  


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Piper Hutchinson
Piper Hutchinson

Piper Hutchinson is a reporter for the Louisiana Illuminator. She has covered the Legislature and state government extensively for the LSU Manship News Service and The Reveille, where she was named editor in chief for summer 2022.