Human Rights Campaign Condemns Indiana State House of Representatives for Passing Don’t Say Gay or Trans Bill; Urges Senate to Reject Discriminatory Bill

by HRC Staff

Indianapolis, Indiana – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — condemned the Indiana House of Representatives for passing HB 1608, which is their version of “Don’t Say Gay or Trans'' legislation. The bill is a discriminatory attack against the LGBTQ+ community that bans discussions of human sexuality in grades K-3, and allows school staff to intentionally misgender and deadname students.

Human Rights Campaign Legislative Counsel Courtnay Avant released the following statement:

“By passing this discriminatory bill, Indiana House legislators have effectively censored what young students can say, learn, and read in the classroom. Although school should be a place where every child deserves to feel safe and welcome, extremist politicians in Indiana are alienating students and threatening their freedom to live and learn as they choose. These kids have done nothing wrong – instead it’s the members of the Indiana House who choose to stigmatize how they are allowed to express themselves. We urge the Indiana State Senate to reject this discriminatory bill and end their involvement in this coordinated, national effort against the LGBTQ+ community.”

Less than two months into 2023, HRC is already tracking 340 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. 150 of those would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date.

So far this year, HRC is tracking:

  • 90 bills that would prevent trans youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; two have already become law, in Utah and South Dakota.

  • More bathroom ban bills filed than in any previous year,

  • And 28 anti-LGBTQ+ bills which have passed at least one chamber, 10 of which are specifically anti-trans.

In a coordinated push led by national anti-LGBTQ+ groups, which deployed vintage discriminatory tropes, politicians in statehouses across the country introduced 315 discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ bills in 2022 and 29 passed into law. Despite this, fewer than 10% of these efforts succeeded. The majority of the discriminatory bills – 149 bills – targeted the transgender and non-binary community, with the majority targeting children receiving the brunt of discriminatory legislation. By the end of the 2022 legislative session, a record 17 bills attacking transgender and non-binary children passed into law.

Anti-LGBTQ+ legislation took several forms, including:

  • 80 bills aimed to prevent transgender youth from playing school sports consistent with their gender identity. 19 states now exclude transgender athletes in school sports.

  • 42 bills to prevent transgender and non-binary youth from receiving life-saving, medically-necessary gender-affirming healthcare. 5 states now restrict access to gender-affirming care.

  • 70 curriculum censorship bills tried to turn back the clock and restrict teachers from discussing LGBTQ+ issues and other marginalized communities in their classrooms. 7 passed into law.

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