Indiana lawmakers send sports ban for trans girls to governor | News

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana lawmakers gave final approval Tuesday to a Republican-backed bill that would prohibit transgender women and girls from participating in school sports that match their gender identity, sending it to the governor to decide if it will become law.

The governor’s office declined to comment after the bill passed on Tuesday.

Holcomb told reporters last week that he would wait to see the final version before making a decision. He said he “categorically” agreed that “boys should play boys’ sports and girls should play girls’ sports, and coed sports should be just that”, referring to a woman’s gender. person at birth.

The governor also pointed to the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA), which already has a policy covering transgender students, saying no transgender girl has finalized an application to play on an all-girls team. Although an early draft of the bill applied the ban to collegiate athletes, language relating to post-secondary hunches was removed from the final version of the bill.

Neither the IHSAA nor the National Collegiate Athletic Association immediately responded to requests for comment.

Seven Republicans joined 11 Democratic senators in voting against the bill. Those GOP senators were Ron Alting of Lafayette; Eric Bassler of Washington; Phil Boots of Crawfordsville; Liz Brown of Fort Wayne; Ed Charbonneau of Valparaiso; Lawrenceburg’s Chip Perfect; and Greg Walker of Columbus.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Stacey Donato, a Logansport Republican, said the proposal would protect the integrity of women’s sports.

“Whether there is one case or 100 (of transgender students participating in school sports) … all students will be able to play sports,” Donato said. “They just have to compete with peers of the same biological sex.”

Opponents argue that the bill wrongly targets already vulnerable transgender youth and is a solution to a problem that does not exist.

IHSAA commissioner Paul Neidig said the association had received and approved only one request for a transgender student to compete in school sports – a trans boy who wanted to run cross-country.

“To me, this bill is not about fairness…it’s about being able to waive this bill on the air in your district, saying you’ve done something about it,” said Democratic Sen. JD Ford of Indianapolis on Tuesday, noting that the measure is a way to “score political points” at the expense of transgender children.

Indiana’s American Civil Liberties Union said it plans to take legal action against what it calls “hate legislation” if it becomes law. Katie Blair, director of advocacy and public policy for the ACLU of Indiana, doubled down on Tuesday in a statement that the legislation “is hateful, harmful and appears to violate federal law and the Constitution.”

“This bill targets trans girls by prohibiting them from participating in women’s sports, jeopardizing their mental health, physical well-being and ability to access educational opportunities comparable to those of their peers,” said Blair. “We won’t stop fighting for an Indiana where trans youth are loved and treated equally.”

Corrine Youngs, policy director and legislative adviser to Attorney General Todd Rokita, earlier told the Statehouse that Rokita’s office says the bill protects “the incredible advancements made for women” in athletics, adding that if it is disputed, “we will defend it in court”. .”

The proposal would prohibit K-12 students who were born male but identify as female from participating in a sport or sports team designated for women or girls. But that wouldn’t stop students who identify as transgender women or men from playing on men’s sports teams.

Rep. Michelle Davis, a Republican from Greenwood who drafted the bill, said its goal was to ensure “fair competition in women’s sports.”

Former Indiana Republican Rep. Christy Stutzman proposed similar legislation in 2020although the bill did not advance from the House Education Committee.

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