With the Indiana 2023 legislative session underway, Indiana lawmakers have introduced several House bills and Senate bills which target transgender youth. These bills would prohibit or restrict gender-affirming care for minors in health care and the education system.
Similar bills have been passed in previous sessions; for example, Indiana House Bill 1041, which prohibits transgender women and girls from participating in female K-12 sports, was passed in 2022.
“Bills that aim to ban essential medical care for transgender youth are part of a coordinated, hate-driven campaign to push trans people out of public life,” ALCU of Indiana Advocacy Strategist Kit Malone said in an email statement. “This is evidence-based and individualized care that can often be life-saving. Bills such as these violate the rights of parents and families to make decisions about their children’s health. Young people who are trans need support and affirmation, not to be a political target.”
IU senior Sophie Kaelble, a transgender woman, said these bills, if passed, will be harmful for transgender youth and transgender individuals as a whole.
“Trans people are at disproportionately high risk of suicide, but that risk goes down drastically if there is familiar and friends support of them being trans and their transition,” she said.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, transgender individuals are nearly four times as likely to experience depression and suicidal tendencies than cisgender individuals.
Kaelble said she thinks these proposed bills and similar bills contribute to the culture of transphobia.
Those interested in contacting their legislators regarding the bills can do so through the ALCU’s messaging system.
Here are some of the bills that would affect transgender youth in the health care system.
Indiana House Bill 1220, House Bill 1231 and Senate Bill 480 would prohibit a physician or other practitioner from knowingly performing gender transition procedures for minors. These procedures include changing the gender of a minor or delaying puberty.
Under House Bill 1220 and Senate Bill 480, a physician could still prescribe cross sex hormones, or gender-affirming hormone therapy, as part one of a patient’s gender transition from June 30, 2023, until Dec. 31, 2023.
The bills would still allow physicians to perform medical procedures to treat medically verifiable sex development disorders, infection, injury or disease.
If those bills are passed, any referral or provision for gender transition procedure by a physician or other practitioner would be subject to discipline by the board regulating that physician or practitioner.
Indiana House Bill 1231 would also prohibit public funds, Medicaid or any health carrier from providing reimbursements for gender transition procedures to change one’s gender or delay puberty for a minor.
Rep. Michelle Davis, R-District 58, author of House Bill 1220, and Rep. Ryan Lauer, R- District 59, author of House Bill 1231, did not respond to the IDS request for comment about the bill.
Similarly, Indiana House Bill 1118 would prohibit health care professionals from performing certain medical procedures on minors or exposing them to activities to attempt to change or reinforce their sexual behavior or gender identity.
The author of the bill is Rep. Lorissa Sweet, R- District 50.
Health care professionals who preform gender-affirming surgeries on a minor whose identity is “inconsistent with the minor’s biological sex” would be committing a Level 5 felony under this proposed bill.
An Indiana Level 5 Felony is generally viewed as a more severe offense than misdemeanors and Level 6 Felonies. It is the second-lowest felony charged in Indiana.
If a health care professional is found guilty or pleads guilty to violating the proposed bill, a court with jurisdiction would notify the licensing board or authority regulating the health care professional for disciplinary action.
Next, Indiana House Bill 1232, the Indiana Department of Child Services may not classify a parent or guardian's refusal to affirm the minor's perception of their gender as child abuse or neglect. This includes when a parent or guardian withholds a minor from medical or counseling treatments that would affirm the minor's perception of their gender.
The author of the bill is Rep. Ryan Lauer, R- District 59.
If the court or law enforcement believes a minor’s physical or mental safety is at risk, then they would have the right to gain custody of the child under the proposed bill.
If passed, lawmakers would add Indiana Senate Bill 351 to the Indiana Code concerning health which would define one’s sex as determined by the reproductive organs they were born with, disregarding one’s chosen gender.
The authors of the bill are Sen. Gary Byrne, R- District 47, and Sen. Jack Sandlin, R- District 36.
Here are some of the bills that would affect transgender youth in the education system.
Indiana House Bill 1346 would prevent school would prevent schools from requiring or encouraging employees from calling a student or another school employee by a pronoun, name or nickname that is inconsistent with one’s biological sex and name on birth certificate.
The author of the bill is Rep. Jake Teshka, R- District 7.
If passed, in order for the student to be called by their preferred pronoun, name or nickname, the parent of the student — or if the student is emancipated or an adult — would need to make that request in writing. The parent or student would also have to provide documentation from a health care provider to verify the student has a persistent and consistent belief in their gender.
A licensing authority in Indiana may not require a school employee who's licensed by the licensing authority to violate the bill as a condition to renewing or receiving one’s license.
Next, Indiana House Bill 1608, authored by Rep. Michelle Davis, R-District 58, would prohibit school employees or a third-party school instructor from providing instruction regarding gender fluidity, gender roles, gender stereotypes, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation to a K-3 student.
Additionally, Indiana Senate Bill 354 would enforce schools to notify a student’s parent, if the student is an unemancipated minor, if the student disclosed information to a school employee about having conflicted feelings about one’s gender identity and expression. This includes changing or expressing the desire to change one’s pronouns, name or attire that is inconsistent with their biological sex at birth.
The school employee has five business days after the date of the student’s disclosures to report it to the school. The school has five business days after the date they received the report to notify the student’s parent.
School psychologists, counselors, nurses or social workers are not required to violate federal law or regulation and are immune from disclosing confidential information. The author of the bill is Sen. Jeff Raatz, R-District 47.
Furthermore, Indiana Senate Bill 413 would require schools to notify each enrolled student’s parents if they permit students to use multiple occupancy locker rooms and bathrooms that are designated for the sex that is not the student’s biological sex.
The authors of the bill are Sen. Gary Byrne, R-District 47, and Blake Doriot, R- District 12.
Under the proposed bill, multiple occupancy locker rooms and bathrooms are locker rooms or bathrooms that are used by more than one student at a time.
The proposed bill would not allow schools or a third-party vendor connected to the school’s corporation to provide instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity for enrolled K-12 students.