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Controversial bill addressing transgender youth athletes clears hurdle

HB 1041 would prohibit transgender girls from being on girls' sports teams in school.

INDIANAPOLIS — EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above is a previous report on HB 1041.

A controversial bill that would keep transgender girls in Indiana from participating on girls' sports teams at school is one step closer to becoming law.

The Senate Education and Career Development Committee passed HB 1041 8-3 Wednesday.

"Female athletes deserve fair competition and an even playing field. This bill ensures just that, a fair and equal opportunity to compete for Hoosiers now and in the future," said Rep. Michelle Davis (R-District 58), who wrote the bill.

Supporters of HB 1041 said it's about protecting the integrity of female sports. Opponents believe the bill sends a harmful message to transgender youth. And others say the proposal is another example of lawmakers making an issue out of a nonissue.

"Every year, these bills are justified by the same doomsday predictions, telling people we are going to invade, whether it's your bathrooms, locker rooms or sports team. There is no place in Indiana where trans girls have taken over sports teams," said Kit Malone, an advocate with the ACLU of Indiana.

Sen. J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) proposed an amendment to the bill in committee, but it was not approved.

"I'm disappointed that the Senate Education Committee passed HB 1041 this afternoon. I offered reasonable amendments to send this bill to a summer study committee and to simply allow the IHSAA to continue to make case-by-case decisions," Ford said. "Instead of addressing the teacher shortage, instead of addressing student mental health, we're getting sidetracked with bills like this. Even filing this bill sends a message to trans kids and their families that they’re not welcomed in our state. I encourage folks to continue to reach out to their legislators as this bill moves to the full Senate next week."

The bill will be heard on the Senate floor next.

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