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Indiana's transgender bill to move forward to the full Senate

HB 1608 passed out of the Senate Education Committee on a vote of 9-4
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Posted at 9:45 PM, Mar 22, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS — Lawmakers on the Senate Education Committee passed a bill that would limit conversations surrounding sexuality at school.

The legislation would also require schools to notify parents if a child comes out as transgender.

Protesters spent the day at the Statehouse letting lawmakers know they do not approve of House Bill 1608, which has been compared to the Florida “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

HB 1608 would ban conversations surrounding sexuality in preschool through third grade.

Under the bill, if a child were to tell a teacher or administrator they would like to go by a different name or pronoun, the child’s parents legally must be notified within five days.

The legislation also states that if a parent wishes to change their child’s name, they can only request to do so once a year.

HB 1608 would not require teachers to call children by their preferred pronoun or name if it goes against their religious beliefs, regardless of parent's request.

The author of the bill says teachers need to teach what parents see fit.

"I believe that parents know their children best and their authority should not be superseded by teachers and school administrators,” Rep. Michelle Davis said. “By allowing our schools to instruct our young elementary students in human sexuality and allowing students to decide on different identities without their parent's knowledge or consent creates unacceptable intrusion into the parent child relationship.”

However, members of the LGBTQ community testified that this bill is not needed.

“I would invite you to reach out if you'd like to understand us instead of speculate and just take the word of those who offer these bills forth,” Melanie Davis, opposer of the bill, said. “We know that they didn't originate in this state, nor did they originate from need. I do agree that teachers should not suggest to kids that they keep secrets from their parents, and I wonder if this bit comes from the misunderstanding that being transgender is somehow groomed into kids.”

There were people who testified in opposition of the bill because they feel as if the bill doesn’t go far enough. They believe conversation surrounding sexuality should be banned in all grades K-12.

HB 1608 passed out of the Senate Education Committee on a vote of 9-4.

The full Senate will vote on the bill next.

If the Senate decides to pass the bill, it will then head to the Governor’s Desk.