Indiana governor signs cruel bill forcing teachers to out trans kids to their parents

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb

Indiana’s Republican governor Eric Holcomb has signed a bill that would require schools to ‘out’ pupils to their parents if the child requests a name or pronoun change at school. 

Holcomb signed the bill on Thursday (4 May) along with a slate of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that includes a bill similar to Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law, the Associated Press reported.

The state’s new name and pronouns law will go into effect on 1 July, and will require schools to provide written notification to a child’s parent or guardian if the student asks to be called a different “pronoun, title or word”. 

Similarly to Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law, Indiana also pushed through a law banning education on “human sexuality” until the third grade. 

“I believe in parental rights,” the Republican governor said in a statement after signing the bills.

“I also just believe it’s common sense that sex education should not be taught in pre-kindergarten through third grade.”

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In opposition to his statement, experts claimed that the laws will only serve to “control” who students “can and cannot be”. 

“Trans youth thrive when they are affirmed in their gender identity, which includes being called by a name and pronouns that reflect who they are,” Katie Blair, advocacy and public policy director of ACLU of Indiana said. 

The law comes just one day after Holcomb pushed through a bill that would prevent local governments from stopping the abhorrent practice of conversion therapy. 

Despite experts and healthcare practitioners roundly condemning LGBTQ+ conversion therapy, the bill would protect those who attempt to change someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation by stopping bans from going through. 

“Governor Holcomb’s decision to sign this bill into law is a blatant attack on the wellbeing of LGBTQ+ youth,” Sarah Warbelow, legal director for Human Rights Campaign (HRC), said in a statement.

“Allowing ‘conversion therapy’ to continue in Indiana will have devastating effects on vulnerable members of our community, and we will not stand idly by while the state of Indiana tells LGBTQ+ people that their lives and wellbeing are not worth protecting.”

Indiana’s recent slate of anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation follows a harrowing pattern in the United States that has seen bans on gender-affirming care, attacks on drag performance, and abortion restrictions passed across the country. 

In 2023 alone, HRC has tracked more than 540 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced across the country, with more than 220 attacking the trans community specifically.