INDIANAPOLIS — A bill that would make it illegal for transgender girls to participate on sports teams designated for girls at public schools in Indiana is moving forward.
The bill, HB 1041, will move to the Senate after it passed the House with a 66-30 vote on Thursday.
HB 1041 would prohibit transgender girls from participating on sports teams at K-12 public schools designated for girls. The bill would also establish a civil action for violations and schools wouldn't be subject to civil, administrative, disciplinary or criminal liability for complying with it.
Supporters of the bill, including its author, State Rep. Michelle Davis, R-Greenwood, want the bill to protect fair competition for females.
"I want to make sure that all the opportunities are provided for our young females and we protect the fair competition for them so they have all those possibilities," Davis said.
People who opposed HB 1041 spoke during the bill's hearing in the House Education Committee about the mental health toll transgender kids face when they're singled out by legislation. Many of them were parents who fear their kids will not be able to live a normal life if bills like HB 1041 become law.
"The Indiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics opposes this legislation because it would harm children in Indiana and further marginalize transgender youth who are already at higher risk of depression and serious mental health issues," Dr. Lauren Bell said. "Research has shown that refusing to acknowledge an individual's gender identity leads to psychological and physical harm. Gender identity is a well-established concept in medicine which refers to a person's internal sense of being male or female."