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LGBTQ advocates condemn bill to ban trans girl student athletes, national group supporting it

By Jeanie Lindsay, IPB News | Published on in Government, Law, Politics, Statewide News
The House Education Committee was met with protests from a crowd of people opposed to the House Bill 1041 last month, after the committee passed the bill. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Sen. J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) and other LGBTQ advocates condemned a bill in the Indiana General Assembly aiming to ban transgender girls from school sports during a news conference Tuesday.

Ford and others said nationwide efforts to pass similar legislation are perpetuating “culture wars” that hurt kids.

The Human Rights Campaign and Greencastle City Councilor Veronica Pejril joined Ford to condemn House Bill 1041 and the people behind it. They pointed to the bill’s support from the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian advocacy organization classified as a national hate group for its efforts targeting the LGBTQ community. The group has been involved with passing similar bills – and litigation around them – in states like Idaho and Montana.

Pejril said ADF is targeting transgender youth because it hasn’t prevented the advancement of other LGBTQ rights.

“The ADF is setting its sights on the nation’s transgender because they’ve lost the war already to criminalize the entire LGBTQ community,” Pejril said.

She and others said they see the bill as a political tool not designed to benefit Hoosiers. When questioned by other lawmakers during a committee hearing in January, the bill’s author referenced just one example in Indiana that the bill would address, where an unnamed school district handled the situation.

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Ford said as a member of the Senate’s education committee, he plans to ask pointed questions of his colleagues who support the bill and anyone from ADF who may speak on the legislation.

HB 1041 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Education and Career Development Committee Wednesday afternoon.

Contact reporter Jeanie at jlindsa@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @jeanjeanielindz.