Critics Rise Against Indiana’s Transgender Athlete Ban

Opponents continue to escalate pressure against an Indiana bill that would bar transgender women and girls from participating in school sports that match their gender identity, arguing the proposal is unconstitutional, sexist and bigoted.

Critics also called on Republican lawmakers to join the bill with the Alliance Defending Freedom, called a “national hate group” by Democratic Sen. JD Ford of Indianapolis and representatives of the Human Rights Campaign during a a press conference on Tuesday.

The non-profit legal organization that supports conservative Christian causes has provided legal advice for various efforts to restrict LGBTQ rights and successfully lobbied for anti-transgender legislation – including banning transgender athletes – in other states.

“(The ADF) wants to do everything it can to make transgender children fear themselves and force them to believe that they are broken. They are pitted against their neighbors and their communities purely for political gain,” Ford said. “The super-majority of our General Assembly seems to value extreme culture wars and partnerships with this national hate group over creating a better future for Hoosier families.”

Ford continued that the ADF “has nothing to do” to influence legislation that affects Hoosiers, noting that the participation of transgender athletes “is not an issue and not an issue that Indiana faces.”

Lawmakers on the Senate Education Committee will weigh the ban on Wednesday after the House advanced the bill in a 66-30 last month, largely along party lines.

Republican Senate Chairman Pro Tem Rodric Bray said last week that it was unclear whether GOP senators would advance the bill out of committee, but acknowledged his support among social conservatives.

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

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

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

Democrats have argued that these bills are “discriminatory” and “harmful to children.” They also argue that the Indiana High School Athletic Association already has a policy that requires transgender girls who want to play sports to show that they have had hormone therapy and that their muscle mass or bone density is typical of other girls of the same age. age.

If the bill passes the Legislature, Indiana could be the 11th Republican-dominated state to pass such a ban on transgender women or girls. In two of those states — Idaho and West Virginia — laws have been passed by federal judges. The US Department of Justice has challenged bans in other states, calling them violations of federal law.

At least half a dozen other bills have been proposed by conservative lawmakers in both houses of the General Assembly during the current legislative session to further limit the rights of transgender Hoosiers.

This included bills that would have banned transgender people from using bathrooms that matched their gender identity, banned sex changes on birth certificates, and made gender-affirming medical care for minors illegal. All these measures, however, are dead.

NBC Chicago

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