Our opinion

The story by Statehouse File reporter Xain Ballenger presented all the details: A bill that would prevent transgender youth from getting gender-affirming surgeries, and medications such as hormonal therapy and puberty blockers, had been passed by the Indiana Senate.

A story by Indiana Capital Chronicle’s Whitney Downard included a comment by the bill’s author — a physician, no less.

“It’s common sense public policy to protect your children from unproven, irreversible and life-altering decisions,” Sen. Tyler Johnson, R-Leo, said. “A child cannot understand the weight and permanency of these decisions.”

Several paragraphs later, Downard reported that, “Medical providers who testified said puberty blockers are generally considered to be reversible and senators introduced studies suggesting that just 0.4% of youth who seek gender-affirming care later regret their decision.”

But the real heartbreak of the story can be found in comments made by both trans children and those who wish to protect them.

“How can we stop this hate bill?” one Twitter user asked in response to a post from the Indiana Senate Democrats Twitter account.

After the bill passed, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana tweeted, “This cruel bill shuts the door on medical best practice and puts politics between parents, their children and their doctors.”

At a committee hearing, witnesses spoke on the detriment Indiana’s Senate Bill 480 would cause, and how life-saving the treatments the bill would ban can actually be. Parents also spoke, noting the bill would override their rights to make medical decisions for their children.

“It is critical that we’re giving parents the right to do what is best for their child in their unique circumstance,” Sen. Andrea Hunley, D-Indianapolis, said. “We need to maintain parent autonomy over what happens in the doctor’s office and not have state intervention.”

But GOP Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray said the banned treatments were “uncertain, unproven, and life-altering.”

What’s truly life-altering for trans teens is the fear and vulnerability they feel while struggling to live among those who support such legislation.

Just this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign, state lawmakers across the country have introduced at least 150 bills affecting trans people, more than any other year.

Perhaps the outrage that comes with bills such as this one is best summed up by a comment left below Ballenger’s article by “trans kid:”

“The Republican senators know what they’re doing is detrimental to a large amount of people; they still do it because they don’t like anyone that isn’t the same as them, so they try to make it illegal to be different.”

This bill is an embarrassment. It should be defeated.

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