Indiana transgender athlete ban on fast track to governor

Protesters carry placards at a rally at the Indianapolis Statehouse. HB 1041 would ban trans girls from school sports and HB 1134 would limit how students can learn and talk about racial and sexual discrimination in public schools. (AP / Michael Conroy archive photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The Indiana Senate on Tuesday refused to amend a Republican-backed bill that would ban transgender women and girls from participating in school sports that match their gender identity, putting it in place. fast track to pass it.

If the full Senate approves the bill, which could pass as soon as Thursday, it would go to the governor for consideration. Indiana House has already passed.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb has not publicly said what he thinks of the proposal. A spokesman for the governor’s office made no further comments on Tuesday.

Senate lawmakers are moving forward with the ban, without making changes to its language, after the House advanced the bill last month, largely following party lines.

Five Republican senators joined the 11 Senate Democrats on Tuesday in a fruitless effort to prevent the ban from advancing, sending the issue to a special study committee that would meet after this year’s legislative session is over. These Republicans were Ron Alting of Lafayette, Eric Bassler of Washington, Vaneta Becker of Evansville, Chip Perfect of Lawrenceburg, and Kyle Walker of Indianapolis.

Another failed amendment offered by Democratic Sen. J.D. Ford, of Indianapolis, reportedly required the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) to maintain gender eligibility policies for athletes.

A separate defeated proposal offered by Ford would have established a scholarship fund for transgender athletes and would require the Indiana Attorney General’s Office to contribute money equivalent to what is spent annually fighting lawsuits against the potential new law.

Representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union have maintained that the group will file a lawsuit if the “hateful legislation” is enacted as law in Indiana.

Corrine Youngs, policy director and legislative adviser to Attorney General Todd Rokita, testified at the Statehouse in support of the bill, noting that Rokita’s office sees the bill as a way to protect “the amazing progress made for women “in athletics. He added that the bill is “constitutional” and, if challenged, “we will defend it in court.”

Ford said defending the law would be “terrible” for Indiana’s image and a “waste” of taxpayer dollars.

“Senators, these are children we are actively attacking,” Ford said Tuesday. “For me, we can have a debate about the LGBTQ-plus community, but we don’t have and shouldn’t have a debate about the human existence of these children.”

MP Michelle Davis, a Greenwood Republican who was the author of the bill, said her purpose is to “maintain fair competition in girls’ sports.”

Opponents argue that the bill is unconstitutional, sexist and fanatical, and stress that it is targeting the already vulnerable young transgender Hoosier. They also say that it is a solution to a problem that does not exist.

Emma Vosicky, executive director of GenderNexus, an Indianapolis-based social services agency for trans and non-binary people and their families, noted that transgender students in Indiana are already involved in “no-problem” school sports.

The proposal would prohibit male-born K-12 students from identifying themselves as women from participating in a sport or sports team designated for women or girls. But that wouldn’t stop students who identify as transgender women or men from playing on men’s sports teams. Nor would it apply to sports at the college level.

Former Indiana Republican Rep. Christy Stutzman proposed similar legislation in 2020, though the bill did not move forward from the House Education Committee.

Democrats have argued that these bills are “discriminatory” and “harmful to children.” They also claim that the IHSAA already has a policy that requires transgender girls who want to play sports to show that they have completed hormone therapy and that their muscle mass or bone density is typical of other girls of the same age.

If the bill passes the Legislature, Indiana could be the 11th Republican-dominated state to adopt this ban on transgender women or girls. Federal judges have stopped law enforcement in two of those states, Idaho and West Virginia. The U.S. Department of Justice has challenged the bans in other states, accusing them of violating federal law.

Advance your business advantage with The Journal Record news. Sign up now for more access to the article.

Comments are closed.