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*PETITION AT BOTTOM OF PAGE!
This legislative session, Indiana legislators have introduced no less than 17 anti-trans bills. From attempting to ban trans healthcare to outing trans students to their parents, the attacks are wide-ranging and openly transphobic. Though most of these hateful bills are expected to die in committee, it’s critical that the people of Indiana take a stand against this open bigotry from our so-called representatives.
House Bill 1118 would make it illegal for healthcare providers to administer or perform affirmative care for transgender youth. It would prevent trans youth from accessing puberty blockers and/or hormone therapy, care that has been well-documented as safe – which the bill’s author must know, as the language includes exceptions for intersex youth, who may access this care so long as they’re affirming the “correct” gender. Any school counselor, licensed physician, psychologist, and anyone who works in behavioral health and human services could be charged with a Class A felony and/or lose their license for “affirming, reinforcing or attempting to change a gender identity that does not align with the assigned sex at birth.” Showing just how little the bill’s author actually knows about trans healthcare, this type of care is referred to as “child abuse.”
The bill’s author is Representative Lorissa Sweet, who ran her campaign with the promise to protect the right of individuals to make their own decisions about healthcare for them and their families. Trans youth who are denied affirmative healthcare are 9 times more likely to attempt suicide and 4 times more likely to suffer from depression than cisgender youth. Medical experts, such as Dr. Norman P Spack (a pediatric endocrinologist who co-founded the Gender Management Services at Boston’s Children’s Hospital), call these procedures “life saving.”
Another piece of anti-trans legislation, Senate Bill 413, would require K-12 schools to notify parents at the beginning of the school year if a transgender student uses restrooms according to their gender identity inconsistent with their assigned sex at birth. It also requires parents be notified if there will be “instruction of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Not to be outdone in the bigotry department, Senate Bill 354 would require public schools, including charter schools, to notify parents if their child is suspected to be trans or nonbinary. Any employee or staff member who finds a student has “conflicted feelings about” their gender identity or “changes, expresses or indicates a desire to change, or makes a request to change the student’s name, attire, pronoun, title, or word to identify the student; in a manner that is inconsistent with the student’s biological sex at birth,” must report this information to the school within five days so that the school may disclose this information to parents within five days. Not only would this bill force schools to out children to potentially emotionally abusive and non-supportive parents, any students could be targeted simply for dressing in a manner that is deemed to be inconsistent with their assigned sex at birth.
These blatant attacks on the rights of minors to enjoy self discovery, self expression and self identity will cause direct harm to transgender and non-binary youth. Fighting for the rights of trans youth is the same as fighting for their lives. We cannot allow Indiana Representatives and Senators to intentionally single out and harm young Hoosiers and make them feel unsafe in schools or impede them from obtaining adequate healthcare and education. Trans people have the right to a life of dignity and a society that doesn’t just tolerate trans people but celebrates their full humanity. Sign this petition and show these transphobic politicians that this is not what Hoosiers want for our state! Protect trans rights, save trans lives!