FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ICADV Communications & Special Events Coordinator
317-917-3685, ext 117
Let All of Our Girls Play: Don’t Override the Veto
Indianapolis, Indiana, May 18, 2022 – Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence
At the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, we are working to build a culture of inclusivity where all of us are seen and supported, across our differences. We believe that by working for communities where everyone belongs and is valued, we create the conditions where all of us can have thriving lives free from violence. It is with this vision that ICADV celebrates trans girls and calls on Indiana lawmakers to join us in our commitment to inclusion by rejecting the effort to overturn the Governor’s veto of HEA 1041—the bill that excludes the participation of trans girls in school athletics.
Those who support HEA 1041 justify its exclusion with the argument that allowing trans girls to compete in girls’ athletics creates an unfair advantage. With his veto, Governor Holcomb refuted that argument stating that upon thorough review, he found no evidence to support the presumption that the goals of consistency and fairness in competitive female sports were compromised by trans girls’ participation.
The concern about fairness in competition is based on myth; however, state-sanctioned discrimination that excludes and invalidates people based on their identities are facts based on historical context. According to ACLU of Iowa, there is a long history of excluding people from sports because of physical differences and their impact on sports. During the first half of the 20th century, Black people were excluded from sports for similar reasons assuming an unfair advantage in genetics. In addition, over the years women have constantly fought for equality in sports programs.
When our communities isolate people through practices, policies and stigma, we make them more vulnerable to violence. The unconscionable rates of violence and victimization experienced by trans folks make this clear. Data shows that 54% of trans people experience domestic violence; 47% experience sexual violence; 46% reported experiencing threats and verbal harassment within the past year. With the cumulative pressures of stigma and exclusion, 82% of trans people report that they have considered suicide and 40% report a suicide attempt.
We are all stakeholders in creating inclusive, supportive communities free from violence, and athletic programs are one playground where we can make this happen. Athletic programs are a place where young people can build skills, strengths, personal esteem, and lifelong friendships. We believe that these benefits should be available to all youth, but they are particularly critical for young people who have faced exclusion and bullying. We stand with trans girls and call on our legislators to join us in our commitment to make Indiana a state that is safe, inclusive, and equitable for everyone.