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Indiana House approves ban on transgender girls' participation in girls school sports

The commissioner of the Indiana High School Athletic Association said that the group already has a process in place to address gender and sports participation. (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

The Indiana House approved a bill that would ban transgender girls from participating in girls school sports Thursday. 

House Bill 1041's author, Rep. Michelle Davis (R-Whiteland) said it's about preserving fairness in girls' sports competitions.

But the legislation received intense pushback from LGBTQ+ Hoosiers and advocacy groups, parents, and medical experts during its committee hearing earlier in the week. 

Many said the bill will likely harm the mental health of transgender children and youth. Protests erupted in the chamber after the House Education Committee approved the bill.

READ MORE: House committee approves ban on transgender athletes in girls school sports

Rep. Tonya Pfaff (D-Terre Haute) spoke against the bill before the House floor vote Thursday. She said the bill is a tool of discrimination. 

"We are usually trying to put an end to discrimination. This law puts discrimination into Indiana law – it sends a message and it's a bad one," she said.

Pfaff and other lawmakers opposed to the bill also pointed out that the Indiana High School Athletic Association has an established process to handle gender identity and athletic participation.

The measure does not prevent transgender boys from participating in boys school sports.

The bill passed 66 to 30. It now heads to the Senate.

Contact reporter Jeanie at jlindsa@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @jeanjeanielindz.

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