INDIANAPOLIS – Profanity and chants rained down on lawmakers today after the House Education Committee voted 8-4 to pass a bill banning transgender girls for participating on schools' female sports teams.
“Stand up, fight back” and curse words were yelled while others accused GOP legislators of killing transgender youth who have higher rates of suicide.
The vote came after several hours of testimony on House Bill 1041, which was amended to remove any reference to college sports. It now moves to the full House for discussion. Only Republicans supported the measure.
“Despite us all being equal we are not the same,” said Rep. Michelle Davis, R-Whiteland, noting “biological males” have physical advantages over “biological females.” She is the author of the legislation.
Davis said several times the bill is meant to ensure a level playing field for girls involved with sports. She knew of only one example of a transgender girl playing on a girls team in Indiana - out of tens of thousands of athletes.
The legislation also sets up a grievance process and allows lawsuits to be filed for a violation. The bill does not apply to transgender girls playing on a boys’ team.
Numerous supporters of the bill said “biological males” have increased strength, height and lung capacity – giving them an athletic advantage over “biological females.”
An Idaho state representative said her state has thrived despite claims a similar bill would cause an economic disaster if passed there. The law has never taken effect while it is being litigated.
Matt Sharp, senior counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom, supports the bill but opposed the removal of college sports. Virtually all the examples given Monday were in college sports.
Sharp said the bill would ensure girls aren't forced to compete against boys on a girls’ team.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled the Alliance Defending Freedom as an anti-LGBTQ hate group.
The Indiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics opposed the bill as did the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, which promised a lawsuit if the legislation passes.