Indiana Republicans are introducing two bills targeting the transgender and non-binary communities.
Senate Bill 74, authored by Sen. Jim Tomes, would eliminate the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ proposal to create gender-neutral driver’s licenses, and House Bill 1088 (The Fair Play for Female Athletes Act), authored by Rep. Christy Stutzman, would prevent anyone assigned male at birth from competing in female sporting events.
The media contacts for both Sen. Tomes and Rep. Stutzman told LGBTQ Nation that neither bill has been published online since Indiana’s legislative session began this last Monday, but they expect the text of both bills to be published online by the end of this week.
Indiana Senate Bill 74
In March 2019, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles announced its intention to begin issuing gender-neutral driver licenses and state ID cards as of October 2019. However, Indiana’s Republican Attorney General Curtis Hill refused to sign off on the rule change, saying that “public notice wasn’t sufficient.”
Hill didn’t say how much public notice he wanted for the rule change, but in a statement he said that his objection to the rule change was entirely procedural.
Indiana’s conservative legislators have also proposed a rule change that would make it harder for transgender people to legally change gender markers on government-issued ID.
House Bill 1088
While Stutzman’s bill seeks to prevent people assigned male at birth from competing in female sports, it’s unclear whether her bill would only apply to public schools or also to private schools and professional sports. It’s unlikely that it will as predominantly religious private schools likely have their own anti-trans policies and any attempt to regulate professional sports would risk upsetting national teams, lucrative local sports facilities, and local businesses.
Similar bills have allowed Republicans to position themselves as “feminists” protecting “women’s spaces” while demonizing trans women as selfish threats to cis female athletes. While the LGBTQ and international sports communities are still learning more about the science behind trans competitors, bills like Stutzman’s treat trans female athletes like unstoppable competitors when in reality trans athletes often lose, just like their cis counterparts.
In a public Facebook post mentioning her bill, Stutzman wrote, “Support the cause of protecting the integrity of female sports… We must protect the opportunities and scholarships of our hardworking female athletes in junior high and high school!”
She then posted a link to an article by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an organization that has been designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBTQ hate group.