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(INDIANAPOLIS) – A proposed ban on transgender girls in high school sports in Indiana is now up to Governor Holcomb.

The Senate has voted 32-18 to make Indiana the 11th state to bar transgender girls from girls’ sports. Logansport Republican Stacey Donato contends the ban is needed to preserve equal access to sports for boys and girls, and make sure transgender athletes don’t take away scholarship opportunities in women’s sports.

Carmel Democrat J.D. Ford argues Donato’s repeated invocation of “biological female athletes” simply ignores kids who have transitioned to another gender. He says transgender girls are already vulnerable to anxiety and bullying, and argues the ban would deny them the benefits sports offers their classmates, in building teamwork, leadership skills, and social connections.

The Indiana High School Athletic Association already has a policy on transgender athletes, based on how their bone density and body mass compares to other students their age. Anderson Democrat Tim Lanane says senators should let the organization do its job.

“If I have to follow someone’s advice, is it going to be the 50 of us in this room, who quite frankly don’t even know what the heck we’re talking about?” Lanane asked. “Or the IHSAA, who have thoughtfully considered this and come up with a fair policy?”

Holcomb has said he supports the principle that girls’ sports should be for girls. But he’s remained silent on whether transgender girls are girls, and has said he’ll review of the language of the bill before deciding whether to sign or veto it. That language has been set since last Tuesday, when senators rejected attempts to amend the bill.

Seven Republicans joined Democrats in voting no.


Twitter: @WIBC_EricBerman