Indiana bill on trans student name changes goes to governor

Apr 24, 2023, 2:51 PM | Updated: 2:56 pm

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana schools would be required to notify parents if their child requests a name or pronoun change at school under a bill approved Monday by the state House despite worries that the step could out young transgender people to their families.

The Republican-dominated House voted 63-28 largely along party lines to send the bill to GOP Gov. Eric Holcomb for his consideration after it won the Senate’s endorsement two weeks ago.

The proposal would require school officials to provide written notification to a child’s parent or guardian within five business days of the child asking to be called a different “pronoun, title, or word,” according to the bill.

Supporters argued the approach would empower parents. Republican state Rep. Michelle Davis, a lead sponsor of the bill, said it would put parents in control of “introducing sensitive topics to their children.”

Opponents derided the proposal during legislative hearings as an attack on the state’s LGBTQ+ students, especially young transgender people. Like Indiana, Republican-led legislatures around the country have been seeking to curb LGBTQ+ rights, especially targeting transgender people’s everyday lives — including sports, health care, workplaces and schools.

Holcomb signed into law earlier this month an Indiana ban on all gender-affirming care for transgender minors.

Protesters against the Indiana legislation, which originally resembled Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law enacted last year, often filled the Statehouse hallways this session with thunderous cheers of “No hate in our state” and “Kill the bill.”

The parental notification bill would also bar Indiana schools from teaching “human sexuality” in pre-K through third grade.

Democratic Rep. Vernon Smith, of Gary, argued the measure was “copycat” legislation promoting a fallacy that schools were somehow teaching children to become transgender or gay.

“This not something that’s been taught to these kids or forced on these kids,” he said.

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Indiana bill on trans student name changes goes to governor