Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is expected to sign the Indiana state budget after the Republican-led legislature passed it last week. The budget effectively bans the use of state funds for the Kinsey Institute, an IU-based organization that researches sex, gender and reproduction.
“The more extreme parts of the Republican Party are trying to turn back the clock to a time when gays were in the closet and trans people were invisible,” Matt Pierce R- District 61, who represents IU’s campus, said. “The fact that the Kinsey Institute is doing research to bring light and knowledge to human sexuality, that runs against their goal of marginalizing people who aren’t in the mainstream.”
IU President Pamela Whitten declared her continued support for the Institute in a letter to faculty and staff on April 28.
Whitten disagreed with the decision to ban funding but said the university will conduct a legal review to ensure that IU is consistent with current state laws, according to the letter. The Kinsey Institute and its faculty still has the support of IU’s administration, and the university will continue to support the Institute financially through grants and philanthropy, where most of its funding already comes from.
Criticism of the Kinsey Institute stems from the work of its founder who died more than 60 years ago, Alfred Kinsey, a biologist whose research focused on human sexuality.
Lorissa Sweet, R- District 50 — who authored the budget amendment banning funds for the Institute in February — called Kinsey a child predator while introducing the amendment.
In February, Sweet said Kinsey collected sexual data from children, but the Kinsey Institute has repeatedly disputed this since at least the 1990s.
The data in question was collected through interviews with adults who recalled their sexual memories during childhood, as well as teachers and parents who had observed sexual behavior in children, according to a statement from the Kinsey Institute. There is no evidence that Kinsey witnessed, encouraged or allowed any sexual activity involving children.
Today the Kinsey Institute’s research focuses on a wide range of topics involving human sexuality and gender studies including condom use, gender equity in the workplace and the sexual wellbeing of those with disabilities.