Transgender care ban: Indiana joins states trying to limit care


Republican senators from Indiana voted Tuesday to push for a ban on all sex-determined care for people under 18, the latest move in this year’s movement. of conservative states to limit the rights of transgender youth.

The bill passed the Senate 36-12, sending it to the House of Representatives despite a controversial committee hearing last week that featured testimony from opponents. Witnesses say the forms of care the bill would ban, such as hormone therapy and puberty suppressants, are important and often lifesavers for transgender children.

“I’m not afraid to be myself anymore,” Damian Ryan, a 17-year-old transgender teen from Fishers, Indiana, said that day.

However, supporters of the law have expressed concern about the number of transgender surgeries, which the bill would also ban, taking place in the state. The only Indiana hospital to perform such procedures has told senators that doctors generally don’t refer minors for those surgeries.

As for hormone therapy, Republicans who support the bill have cited concerns that these treatments are irreversible, an idea that health providers have challenged.

“A child cannot comprehend the weight and permanence of these decisions,” said the bill’s author, Republican Senator Tyler Johnson, an emergency physician from Leo-Cedarville, Indiana. “Given the pressures placed on parents, the irreversible nature of these procedures and the unknown long-term effects, there is no such thing as real consent.”

GOP Senate President Interim Rodric Bray called the banned treatments “uncertain, unproven and life-changing.”

Bray told reporters after the vote: “When it comes to surgery or hormone therapy or something like that, I think you’d be better off waiting until they’re 18 and able to self-medicate. make that decision”.

Senators brought the proposed ban to the House of Representatives on the last day they could have voted on it in this session.

Nationwide, state legislators are approving sweeping measures against LGBTQ individuals this year, from bills targeting transgender athletes and tug-of-war performers to projects. laws restricting sex-determined care. Indiana’s legislative session is largely defined by LGBTQ issues, particularly those affecting schools and youth.

Earlier Tuesday, Republican Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves signed a bill banning sex-identified care in the state. Utah’s Republican governor also signed an injunction banning such care in January, while judges have temporarily blocked similar laws in Arkansas and Alabama.

Overall, state lawmakers in the United States have introduced at least 150 bills affecting transgender people this year — the most ever, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

“I think we are bullying children,” Indiana Democratic Senator Shelli Yoder said Tuesday. “A group of adult lawmakers are targeting children for who they are.”

Transgender students in K-12 schools were also the focus of Indiana lawmakers in this session. Last week, they passed a bill that would require public school teachers to tell parents about students’ social transitions and pronoun changes.

Some worry that the House’s proposal, which the Senate could pass, will erode trust between students and teachers and force children to come out early to their parents.

Indiana state lawmakers also pushed for a separate bill on Tuesday that would remove legal protections for public school libraries when educators are accused of distributing harmful text to students. Critics say it could lead to the banning of books that explore issues of racism or LGBTQ.

The bill’s author, Republican Senator Jim Tomes, said parents brought him a number of inappropriate books – among them “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe, a A story about sex and sexuality for teenagers. most targeted books in 2022, according to the American Library Association.

“I very much hope that no one in this room is a bit vague about those books,” Tomes said during Tuesday’s debate.

Democratic Senator Andrea Hunley expressed concern about the removal of “obscene” sections from the books and prevented school staff from arguing that the texts had “educational” value.

“I worry that under what we have here in this law, a teacher could be prosecuted for that,” she said.


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