Indiana Republicans Invalidate Governor’s Veto Over Transgender Ban

The Republican-dominated Indiana Legislature voted to override the Republican governor’s veto on a bill that bans transgender athletes from competing in school sports, joining several other states with discriminatory bans against young transgender people.

Governor Eric Holcomb vetoes House Bill 1041 In his letter earlier this year, he noted that the bill was aimed at addressing the “fairness” of school sports, stating that he had “no evidence” to support the GOP’s claim, and warned that the bill would plunge the country into a costly legal battle.

The State Senate voted 32-15 and the House of Representatives 67-28 to overturn the governor’s veto on May 24. This law will come into effect on July 1st.

Instant Indiana’s ACLU filed a lawsuit, on behalf of a 10-year-old student (named AM on the declaration form) playing on the school softball team. By law, she cannot participate.

“When she joined the softball team last fall, it helped her get out of her shell. I saw her blooming her flowers and felt more comfortable on her skin,” her mother said. “When my daughter found out about this law, it broke her heart and made her angry. She wants to defend girls like herself because now she knows how angry girls like herself are. She wanted me to say, ‘I can’t expect my children to pledge allegiance, liberty and justice to all without giving freedom and justice to all.’”

A lawsuit filed in the United States District Court alleges that blocking AM and other transgender girls from school sports constitutes sex-based discrimination in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendment 1972, the federal anti-discrimination law in educational programs.

“The use of misinformation about biology and gender to exclude transgender girls from school sports is the same form of sexism that has long been banned,” ACLU of Indiana State Legal Director Ken Polk said in a statement.

“Girls like AM simply want to deny them the right to access peer opportunities and jeopardize their mental health and physical well-being,” he said.

Only two transgender athletes applied to the state’s high school athletics association to qualify for school sports, and only one transgender student was approved to compete. The bill, according to Indiana House Democrats,

House Democrat Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta said, “Indiana has codified legislation that directly designates a small number of vulnerable students.

“When the GOP doesn’t have answers to people’s toughest questions, they resort to legislative action to distract and divide people’s attention,” he said in a statement. “In the meantime 56 [per cent] of a transgender student reported a suicide attempt. Have we not shown mercy to the most vulnerable children?”

Indiana has joined at least a dozen states that have enacted or are considering laws to block transgender students from participating in school sports, including Utah, where Utah legislators blocked the governor’s veto.

In March, Republican governor of Utah, Spencer Cox, explained to the state’s legislative leadership that only four transgender students participate in high school sports in the state and only one transgender student participates in women’s sports.

“It’s rare that so much fear and anger have been directed at so few people,” he wrote. “I don’t understand what they are going through or why they feel that way. But I want them to live. And all studies show that even a little acceptance and connection can significantly reduce suicide rates.”

2021 report According to the Trevor Project, an LGBT+ suicide prevention and crisis intervention group, LGBT+ youth are four times more likely than their peers to seriously consider, plan, or attempt suicide, compared to 45 years for LGBT+ youth aged 13 to 24 years. every attempt to commit suicide. seconds within the United States.

Governor Holcomb’s veto message said that Indiana’s bill “has an existing problem with K-12 sports in Indiana that requires additional state intervention,” but found no evidence to support that claim “even if I support the entire effort.” I did.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, in 2022, Republican lawmakers will submit an unprecedented number of bills that will affect LGBT+ Americans, with about a third targeting transgender people directly.

About half of the bill would ban transgender youth from participating in school sports.

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