The Indiana House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill that would would ban transgender women and girls from participating in K-12 school sports that match their gender identity.
The Associated Press reported that the bill passed with a near party-line vote. Only Ed Clere of New Albany and Cindy Ziemke of Batesville voted with Democrats against the bill. The bill passed with a 66-30 vote.
Democrats called the bill “discriminatory” and activists testified against passage.
“Schools are NOT asking that transgender students be banned from school sports,” said Tri-State Alliance Vice-President Julie Robinson during hearings on the bill. “In the age of COVID, a rough economy and people struggling, there are real and critical issues that Hoosiers need addressed. This is not one of them.”
Robinson also said that past anti-LGBTQ laws, like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, had harmed Indiana economically and this law hurt students, families and promoted discrimination.
The Trevor Project issued a statement condemning passage of the bill.
“The justification for this bill is based in fiction, but the impacts it will have on young people in Indiana are very real,” said said Sam Ames, director of advocacy and government affairs at The Trevor Project. “More than half of transgender and nonbinary youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year. 85% say that recent debates around anti-trans bills have negatively impacted their mental health – and 1 in 3 tell us they are scared,”
The bill is one of many that have been introduced in statehouses across the country taking aim at trans people, especially youth. The HRC Foundation rated Indiana in the lowest category, “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality,” just last week.
“The Indiana House has chosen to attack transgender middle and high school students, rather than address the real issues that Indiana faces,” said Wally Paynter, president of the Tri-State Alliance. “Rather than ostracizing transgender students, Indiana leaders should address a reduction of school bullying and the real issue of student suicide. All students should be accepted and feel safe in Indiana schools. The action taken today is a real step backwards.”