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Indiana lawmakers consider bill to keep transgender students off girls' sports teams

Opponents to the proposal held a rally ahead of today's hearing at the statehouse.

INDIANAPOLIS — Another controversial bill takes center stage at the Indiana Statehouse.

This time, lawmakers are tackling the question of which students can play on certain sports teams at school. 

Opponents of a controversial bill banning transgender girls from girls' sports teams at school left the statehouse disappointed Monday, as lawmakers voted to move it forward despite arguments that some feel fell on deaf ears.

"These are children's lives. You're basically ignoring them because you already had your mind made up, this is how it's going to go," said Indy Pride director of education Jayne Walters.

Walters said the bill sends a harmful message to transgender youth.

"These are kids that just want to play sports with their friends," she said. 

Dean Gray Lesesne, with Christ Church Cathedral, also protested the bill. He said it doesn't honor the dignity of trans people and Indiana lawmakers can do better.

"Jesus's primary commandment is to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. The way we can love our neighbors as ourselves is by focusing on laws that build up our communities, that bring progress to our communities, not diminish our exclude anyone," said Lesesne.  

Rep. Michelle Davis, R-District 58, sent 13News a statement explaining her reason behind writing the bill.

"This legislation is the result of listening to the concerns of female student-athletes and parents in my district and across the state. The purpose of this bill is to protect fair competition in girls sports. As a former Division I college athlete, I know the life lessons and opportunities competing in sports provided to me while growing up and as a young adult. This bill is aimed at protecting those same opportunities for Hoosier girls now and in the future."

Walters said lawmakers were making an issue out of a non-issue.

"There are plenty of trans men in sports doing fantastic, winning competitions, beating other cisgender males. Where is that physical advantage you're going to talk about when you talk about women transitioning?" 

The bill moves to the House floor next, and Walters said they're ready. 

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