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Indiana Statehouse

Source: (Photo: Abdul-Hakim Shabazz/WIBC)

STATEHOUSE — A bill is advancing in the Statehouse that would codify the rights of parents to decide what’s best for their child.

The bill is meant to keep child services or other state agencies from removing a child who identifies as transgender from being removed from a home if the child’s parents refuse to provide gender transition treatment or refer to the child by their preferred pronouns.

Parents impacted by these practices spoke in favor of the bill in front of a House committee hearing on Thursday.

“If this were your child and the state came in and said ‘despite all your efforts, you cannot keep your child in your home because he’s transgender and you cannot support that because of your faith’, what would you do,” said Mary Cox, an Anderson mother who says DCS took her then 16-year-old son from her home.

She said it was because she would not refer to her son by their preferred pronouns when they came out as transgender, citing her religious faith and her understanding of science. Her child then told DCS that they did not feel safe in her home.

Opponents of the bill believe that it could narrow the amount of recourse a child has in trying to leave an abusive situation.

Zoe O’Haillin-Berne, a spokesperson for the Indiana Youth Group, an organization supportive of the LGBTQ community, says that refusing to affirm a child’s preferred gender identity is a form of abuse.

“A lot of times, personal convictions are something that is cited and I don’t think a personal conviction is a good enough excuse to harm your child,” she said. “I think we’ll see a lot of parents that feel they don’t have to take care of their kid anymore.”

Lawmakers advanced the bill out of a committee vote Thursday and will now be considered in the full House.