May 24, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Indiana lawmakers enact anti-trans sports bill after overriding veto

Picture of Eric Holcomb
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb. Photo: Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Indiana lawmakers voted to ban transgender girls from competing in girls' sports in schools on Tuesday, overriding Gov. Eric Holcomb's veto of a bill.

Driving the news: Holcomb, a Republican, unexpectedly vetoed the legislation in March saying that it "falls short" of providing "clarity" regarding "fairness in K-12 sports in Indiana."

  • However, Republican lawmakers in both the state House and Senate voted to override Holcomb.

The big picture: A record number of bills targeting trans youth passed last year, and experts expect to see a similar wave of bills this year.

Zoom in: The bill makes Indiana the eighth state to ban transgender youth from being on sports teams of the gender they identify as by legislative action in 2022, according to the Trevor Project, an organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth under 25.

Details: H.E.A 1041 explicitly states that a student is considered "male" based on their "biological sex at birth in accordance with the student's genetics and reproductive biology," and therefore is not allowed to take part in girls' school sports.

What they're saying: "Governor Holcomb was the second governor this year to uphold the dignity of transgender and nonbinary youth, and veto an attempt by lawmakers to write them out of existence," said Sam Ames, director of advocacy and government affairs for the Trevor Project.

  • "[T]he Indiana legislature voted to override [Holcomb's] act of courage and compassion, pushing these marginalized youth even further to the sidelines."
  • "This bill claimed to solve a problem of ‘fairness’ in school sports in Indiana that didn’t exist, but its negative impacts on the mental health and well-being of trans and nonbinary youth — young people who already face disproportionate rates of bullying, depression, and suicide — are very real," Ames added.

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