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Indiana Senate passes bill banning transgender girls from playing girls sports

Indiana Statehouse.jpg
Posted at 2:17 PM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 23:31:24-05

INDIANAPOLIS — A bill that would ban transgender girls from participating on girls sports teams in Indiana will go to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk.

The Indiana Senate passed House Bill 1041 by a 32-18 vote on Tuesday.

The bill would prohibit transgender girls from playing on sports teams designated for girls at K-12 public schools in the state.

RELATED | Rally at Statehouse planned to oppose HB 1041, bill would restrict trans girls from girls' teams | Indiana is one step closer to banning transgender girls from playing high school sports | Statehouse Roundup: School curricula, transgender girl sports participation bills advance in Senate

HB1041 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.

People opposed to the bill testified during this year's session that the bill is detrimental to transgender children, while supporters said HB1041 would protect fairness in girls sports.

Holcomb said last week he would wait to see the final version of the bill before making a decision on if he would sign it.

The governor said he "adamantly" agrees that "boys should be playing boys sports and girls should be playing girls sports, and mixed sports should be just that," referring to a person's sex at birth.

Katie Blair, advocacy and public policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, released a statement after the bill passed.

We won’t stop fighting for an Indiana where trans youth are loved and treated equally.

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 by banning them from participating in girls’ sports, jeopardizing their mental health, physical well-being and ability to access educational opportunities comparable to their peers.

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.

Trans kids have a right to live full lives, just like everyone else. 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. This isn’t over.

Senator J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) expressed a similar sentiment after the bill's passage.

He released the following statement:

Today, I was disappointed and heartbroken to see HB 1041 advance here in our Legislature. Instead of focusing on real, pressing issues like our teacher shortage, a nationwide student mental health crisis and low per-student spending, we’ve chosen to spend our time and energy targeting minors who want to play school sports. The effects of this decision will ripple well beyond the exceedingly rare cases this legislation claims to address (but IHSAA already resolves). This will discourage businesses, sports conferences and increasingly diverse younger generations from coming here. This will worsen the mental health crisis of our students—nationwide polls show that 1 in 3 LGBTQ+ youth feel scared and 57% feel sad as a result of this exact kind of legislation. This is a short-sighted misstep for our state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.