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Indiana bill would ban trans students from using facilities of their choice

Sofia Lotto Persio January 27, 2019
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Picture of a gender neutral bathroom sign, which an Indiana bill would ban forcing trans students to use facilities matching their sex at birth.

A gender neutral sign is posted outside a bathrooms at Oval Park Grill on May 11, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina (Sara D. Davis/Getty)

A Republican lawmaker in Indiana has introduced a bill that would force trans students to use facilities matching their chromosomes and sex at birth.

Representative Bruce Borders authored House Bill 1525, which seeks to define students’ access to sports activities and facilities such as locker rooms and bathrooms on the basis of their “biological sexual identity.”

He submitted the proposed legislation on January 17.

The language used in the bill is similar to the one featured in the Department of Health and Human Services memo leaked in October, which defined sex as “immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth” and “genetic evidence.”

Indiana's house bill 1525 banning trans students from using facilities matching their gender identity.
Bruce Borders’ House Bill 1525 would ban trans students from using facilities matching their gender identity.

Borders’ bill described “biological sexual identity” as “the physical condition of being male or female, as determined by an individual’s chromosomes and identified at birth by the individual’s anatomy.”

An Indiana trans woman expressed her concern about the effect of Borders’ bill on trans students and their wellbeing in a letter to her local paper.

She wrote: “In addition to the hardships this will bring to transgender children in Indiana schools, this bill would open the door to further discriminatory legislation via legal precedent, including a potential statewide bathroom bill.”

Indiana’s House Bill 1525 isn’t the only one targeting trans students

Borders’ bill one of at least three similar legislations proposed across the US in the past few weeks.

In Utah, a Republican lawmaker filed a bill on January 22 that would stop transgender people from changing their birth certificates, defining sex as “the innate and immutable characteristics established at conception.”

In South Dakota, a bill that was ultimately rejected by lawmakers in a bilateral vote on Thursday (January 24) would have forced trans students to play for the sports team matching the gender on their birth certificate.

“It is no coincidence that unscientific arguments are appearing in multiple places.”

— Sarah McBride

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) denounced the bills as coming from “a small group of anti-LGBTQ zealots” in a statement to PinkNews.

“It is no coincidence that unscientific arguments are appearing in multiple places,” HRC national press secretary Sarah McBride said.

McBride added: “These anti-equality efforts are nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt to push LGBTQ people, particularly transgender people, out of public life.”

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, anti-trans legislative efforts have however become rarer and less effective.

“We have no doubt the moves by this administration to take the entire country backwards have emboldened some lawmakers to do the same in their own states. Additionally, we also know fringe legal groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom continue to send lobbyists to these states spreading misinformation about transgender people and our rights,” spokesperson Gillian Branstetter told PinkNews.

She added: “Fortunately, we’ve seen fewer and fewer bills like these introduced every year, and the ones that are introduced rarely stand a great chance of becoming law.

“After the political and economic consequences paid by states like North Carolina and Texas, it’s becoming increasingly clear to state legislatures, governors, and voters across the country that any attempt to limit the rights of transgender people is both immoral and illogical.”

Related topics: anti-trans discrimination, bruce borders, Indiana, US

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