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Indiana Governor Holcomb vetoed bill to ban Trans girls in sports

“This victory belongs to the Trans youth of Indiana, who deserve to live as their authentic selves & to play sports free from discrimination”

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Indiana Republican Governor Eric Holcomb (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Republican Governor Eric Holcomb vetoed HB 1041 Thursday, legislation that had he signed it into law would have banned transgender girls from competing on girls’ K-12 sports teams.

Indianapolis WISH-TV News Channel 8 reported that in his veto message sent to House Speaker Todd Huston’s office, Holcomb said the bill presumed a problem already existed that required the state to intervene and it implied the goals of consistency and fairness in girls’ sports were not being met.

“After thorough review, I find no evidence to support either claim even if I support the overall goal,” Holcomb wrote.

Holcomb further noted courts so far have blocked similar laws passed in other states. The ACLU of Indiana had threatened to sue if the bill became law.

Although this was the governor’s second and last veto of the 2022 Legislative session, lawmakers return on May 24 24 for a veto session. A simple majority in both chambers would be enough to override the governor’s veto.

Katie Blair, advocacy and public policy director, ACLU of Indiana in a statement released after the Governor’s veto noted:

“This victory belongs to the trans youth of Indiana, who deserve to live as their authentic selves and to play the sports they love, free from discrimination. This win wouldn’t have been possible without the thousands of Hoosiers who voiced their strong opposition to state legislators and who showed up at the Statehouse to oppose this harmful bill. Discrimination has no place in our state.”

Michael Schmuhl, who previously worked for U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg as Buttigieg’s chief of staff during Buttigieg’s South Bend, Indiana mayoralty and is now chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party said:

“The moment the Indiana High School Athletic Association admitted there was no unfair advantage occurring in women’s sports, it became clear House Bill 1041 was more about fulfilling a made up culture war than actually creating a better future for Hoosier children. Indiana Republicans even admitted their goal was more about abiding by national politics than solving today’s problems facing kids – and it’s why they partnered with a national hate group to pass House Bill 1041.

It’s encouraging to see Governor Eric Holcomb tell his party that their culture wars have crossed the line. Signing House Bill 1041 into law would have put the lives of our children in jeopardy. However, this unnecessary debate has set a tone with kids that being transgender means something is wrong with them. It must be said that nothing is wrong and being transgender is exactly how God created you and is exactly who you are born to be. Indiana Democrats value and will advocate for the state’s transgender community, because they have a place in our state and future just as everyone else.”

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Indiana

Indiana lawmakers override the veto of the bill banning trans girls in sports

This law makes Indiana the 8th state to ban trans youth from playing sports in 2022 by legislative action — and the 16th in the country

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State Capitol building of Indiana (Library of Congress Collection)

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Legislature voted Tuesday to overturn Republican Governor Eric Holcomb’s March veto of HB 1041, a measure that bans transgender girls from competing on girls’ K-12 sports teams in the state.

The vote to override the veto means that this law makes Indiana the 8th state to ban trans youth from playing sports in 2022 by legislative action — and the 16th in the country.

“Governor Holcomb was the second governor this year to uphold the dignity of transgender and nonbinary youth, and veto an attempt by lawmakers to write them out of existence. While those young people continue to face unrelenting political attacks, the Indiana legislature voted to override his act of courage and compassion, pushing these marginalized youth even further to the sidelines,” said Sam Ames, Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project.

“This bill claimed to solve a problem of ‘fairness’ in school sports in Indiana that didn’t exist, but its negative impacts on the mental health and well-being of trans and nonbinary youth — young people who already face disproportionate rates of bullying, depression, and suicide — are very real. To the young people in Indiana watching tonight: you are stronger than they know. We are here for you, we will fight for you, and we are not going anywhere.”

In his veto message sent to House Speaker Todd Huston’s office, Holcomb said the bill presumed a problem already existed that required the state to intervene and it implied the goals of consistency and fairness in girls’ sports were not being met.

“After thorough review, I find no evidence to support either claim even if I support the overall goal,” Holcomb wrote.

The Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that more than half (53%) of transgender and nonbinary youth seriously considered suicide in the past year, and nearly 1 in 5 attempted suicide. 71% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported that they have experienced discrimination based on their gender identity, and those who have reported significantly higher rates of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who have not. Further, 83% of transgender and nonbinary youth said that they have worried about transgender people being denied the ability to play sports due to state or local laws.

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Indiana

Indiana bill barring Trans girls from school sports goes to governor

“This bill is not solving any actual problem in Indiana, but it is causing harm to actual trans youth in Indiana”

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Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb (Photo Credit: State of Indiana)

INDIANAPOLIS — On Tuesday, the Indiana Senate for passing HB 1041, which would restrict transgender women and girls from playing on school sports teams that correspond with their gender identity.

The Republican-backed bill passed on a 32-18 vote and now heads to Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb, also a Republican, who told multiple Indiana media outlets last week that he would review the bill’s final version before making a decision. However, Holcomb has previously publicly stated he “adamantly” agrees that “girls should be playing girls sports,” referring to a person’s sex at birth.

 “I agree adamantly that boys should be playing boys’ sports and girls should be playing girls’ sports,” The Indianapolis Star  reported also noting that the governor did not clarify if it was his viewpoint that trans girls are to be considered girls. The Star added in its reporting that Holcomb said he’d have to see the final language of the bill before deciding if he would sign it. However, critics pointed out thar the bill’s language hasn’t changed since the January 27 House vote.

“This bill is not solving any actual problem in Indiana, but it is causing harm to actual trans youth in Indiana,” said Sam Ames, Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project. “This has been a tough week in an already tough month in an already tough year for trans youth across the United States. Lawmakers must take into account the devastating impact that these bills themselves – and the ugly debates surrounding them – are having on a group of young people already at disproportionate risk for bullying and suicide. We urge the governor to reject this bill and focus on any number of the real issues impacting Indiana.”

The bill states, “A male, based on a student’s biological sex at birth in accordance with the student’s genetics and reproductive biology, may not participate on an athletic team or sport designated under this section as being a female, women’s, or girls’ athletic team or sport.”

“The Indiana legislature has voted to discriminate against trans youth, passing HB 1041, despite hearing hours of testimony from Hoosiers opposing this legislation and receiving tens of thousands of calls and emails. This bill singles out trans girls, jeopardizing their mental health, physical well-being and ability to access educational opportunities comparable to their peers,” Katie Blair the ACLU of Indiana Advocacy & Public Policy Director, noted.

“In Indiana, three in four trans youth will be harassed and bullied in school for being trans. By passing this bill, Indiana legislators have exposed trans kids to additional exclusion and mistreatment. This legislation is hateful, harmful, and appears to violate federal law and the Constitution. Courts have blocked similar laws from going into effect in several other states. We won’t stop fighting for an Indiana where trans youth are loved and treated equally,”  Blair added.

It applies to public schools and any private school that competes with public schools. It does not apply to transgender boys or to collegiate sports. It allows for students and parents to file grievances or civil lawsuits for violation.

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Indiana

Indiana anti-Trans sports bill passes House

If passed Indiana would become the 11th state to ban Trans students from playing sports in accordance with their gender identity

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Indiana State Capitol building (Photo Credit: Library of Congress)

INDIANAPOLIS – Lawmakers in Indiana’s House voted Thursday to advance a bill that would ban Trans women and girls from participating in K-12 school sports that align with their gender identity. 

House Bill 1041, which passed the Republican-dominated House by a 66-30 vote, takes aim at Trans women and girls but does not prevent trans men from playing on men’s sports teams. 

Initially, the bill would have also banned trans women from playing sports at a collegiate level, but a Monday amendment took out language regarding post-secondary institutions. 

The legislation now heads to the state Senate, which is also controlled by conservatives. 

The bill cleared the House Thursday, even as Democratic lawmakers and LGBTQ+ advocates in the state denounced the measure as unconstitutional and transphobic. 

“This bill is not only unconstitutional, it sends a cruel message to vulnerable trans kids that they are not welcome or accepted in their communities,” tweeted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Indiana, adding that it “will continue to fight every day to ensure this discriminatory ban never sees the light of day.”

Indiana Democrats made similar arguments during Thursday’s brief debate on the bill, adding that the Indiana High School Athletic Association already has a policy in place surrounding trans participation in sports. The rules require that Trans girls complete “a minimum of one year of hormone treatment related to gender transition” or undergo “a medically confirmed gender reassignment procedure.”

“When we pass laws on issues like this, we are usually trying to put an end to discrimination,” said state Rep. Tonya Pfaff (D-43). “This law puts discrimination into Indiana law.”

State Rep. Matt Pierce (D-61) contended that the proposal was a waste of time and that Republicans were hypocritical for believing in small government and introducing this legislation. “Well, what are you doing with this bill?” he asked his colleagues. 

Proponents of the bill argue it is about “protecting” the integrity in women’s sports, seeing Trans people as having an “unfair” advantage over cisgender peers. 

“I know from experience that female athletes deserve fair competition and an even playing field, and this bill ensures just that — a fair opportunity,” said state Rep. Michelle Davis (R-58), who authored the legislation. 

The Associated Press reported that Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-37) said Republican senators hadn’t yet discussed whether they would take up the House proposal. 

“It’s a fairness for young ladies who are trying to compete and, at least to some folks, it doesn’t feel fair if you allow somebody who at least started out as a male to go in and compete with them in the same sport, so that’s an issue that has some folks’ interest over here,” he said.

If passed, Indiana would become the 11th state in the country to ban Trans students from playing sports in accordance with their gender identity. However, the Movement Advancement project notes that temporary injunctions block enforcement of such bans in two states: Idaho and West Virginia. 

The ACLU of Indiana has maintained that it will file a lawsuit if the bill is signed into law.

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