GLAAD AND ACLU OF INDIANA ISSUE STATEMENTS ON THE PASSAGE OF BILL PROHIBITING TRANSGENDER GIRLS FROM PLAYING SCHOOL SPORTS IN INDIANA

March 1, 2022

GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, along with The ACLU of Indiana, are responding to the passage of HB-1041 in Indiana, banning transgender girls Kindergarten through 12th grade from girls’ school sports teams. The bill was authored by Rep. Michelle Davis, who said in a committee hearing that she could not name an instance in Indiana of a trans girl keeping a cisgender girl from participating or winning in a particular sport.

The bill, which has previously passed the Indiana House, passed 32-18 in the Indiana Senate today, with bipartisan opposition. The bill now goes to Gov. Eric Holcomb, who has not indicated whether he will sign it into law.

The vote comes a day after the Indiana Senate failed to advance another bill that attempted to censor classroom conversation about race and sex discrimination.

Statement from ACLU of Indiana Advocacy & Public Policy Director, Katie Blair:
“The Indiana legislature has voted to discriminate against trans youth, passing HB 1041, despite hearing hours of testimony from Hoosiers opposing this legislation and receiving tens of thousands of calls and emails. This bill singles out trans girls, jeopardizing their mental health, physical well-being and ability to access educational opportunities comparable to their peers. In Indiana, three in four trans youth will be harassed and bullied in school for being trans. By passing this bill, Indiana legislators have exposed trans kids to additional exclusion and mistreatment. This legislation is hateful, harmful, and appears to violate federal law and the Constitution. Courts have blocked similar laws from going into effect in several other states. We won’t stop fighting for an Indiana where trans youth are loved and treated equally.” 

GLAAD President and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis responded on Twitter, and here:
"This bill puts already vulnerable youth in more danger, and threatens the health and safety of all children in Indiana. Every child should have the chance to play with their friends and to belong, just as they are, and experience the lifelong benefits that being on a team can offer. Gov. Holcomb should listen to the experts, veto this bill, and support ways so that all girls feel welcome to play. This bill hurts all children and Indiana’s future as a place to grow and succeed.”

GLAAD has a Guide for Media Covering anti-LGBTQ Legislation here. GLAAD’s checklist for accurate coverage includes recommendations to seek facts from experts in sports, education and medicine over opinions from public figures; to include LGBTQ voices in all stories about LGBTQ issues, include LGBTQ parents and families in discussions about “parents’ rights;” and include context about bills’ impact on vulnerable youth.


Research to include in your coverage:

  • Every major medical association including the American Medical Association and American Academy of Pediatrics support access to school sports as important for children’s physical, social and emotional growth. 
  • Women athletes overwhelmingly support trans inclusion. In December 2020, nearly 200 leading women athletes including Billie Jean King, Megan Rapinoe, and Candace Parker submitted a legal brief urging support for trans women and girls in sports and opposing anti-trans sports legislation and policies. In 2021, GLAAD and Athlete Ally released a letter signed by over 550 college athletes (mostly women) who demanded the NCAA pull events from states with anti-trans school sports bans.
  • The International Olympic Committee released guidelines in November 2021 to prioritize safety and inclusion for transgender people, after consultation with medical, legal, sports and human rights experts, and determined that “no athlete has an inherent advantage over another due to their gender identity, sex variations, or appearance.”
     
  • 85% of transgender and nonbinary youth — and two-thirds of all LGBTQ youth (66%) — say debates in the states restricting rights of transgender people negatively impacted their mental health.
     
  • In multiple states proposing legislation in 2021, lawmakers could not cite a single instance of trans inclusion in sports being an issue in their states. Media should continue to ask public figures for evidence of specific problems in their states.
     
  • Media should check bill language for how proponents propose to enforce the bills, including whether there are required anatomy screenings that hurt all children.
     
  • Anti-LGBTQ legal groups (classified as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center) support these bills, often with identical language state to state. A designated hate group, ADF, has filed lawsuits using demonstrably false claims to attack transgender inclusion in state-level bills.
     
  • There are no reported instances of transgender students “taking scholarships” from students. Anyone claiming this should be asked for evidence.
     
  • Research shows participation of girls in sports overall is higher in states with trans-inclusive policies.

2022 is already a record-setting year for state legislation targeting LGBTQ people, with 195 anti-LGBTQ bills proposed. This follows 2021’s record of proposed bills targeting transgender Americans’ access to education, athletics, healthcare, and bathrooms. 

  • Freedom for All Americans tracks anti-LGBTQ legislation across the U.S.
  • Polls show wide support for laws protecting LGBTQ people - 76%. Less than one in five Americans (19%) oppose nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans.