Lawmakers Override Governor Veto And Ban Transgender Sports

Republican lawmakers overrode the GOP governor's Indiana veto, officially banning transgender sports participation.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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Indiana veto

In the growing debate over transgender sports participation, another state has officially joined the growing number of states to ban transgender girl participation from female teams and sports. In doing so, lawmakers overrode the governor’s Indiana veto. The Hoosier State now joins more than a dozen others enacting similar, controversial laws. 

According to reports from The Associated Press, Republican lawmakers voted against the Indiana veto, bringing the transgender sports ban officially into law. This specific ruling bars transgenders identifying as females from competing on any girls’ school sports team if they were biologically born a male. It’s considered a confusing win for the Republican-led government trifecta, but an even more bewildering act by the GOP governor, who once again made note that he stands by his decision to have enacted the veto months ago.

As G2T reported in March, Republican Governor Eric Holcomb stunned his constituents when he enacted the Indiana veto against the transgender sports bill. While he had previously shown support for such legislation, he changed his mind, citing an overreach of government control for an issue that he didn’t feel existed. To this, he had cited that the Indiana High School Atheltic Association has reported zero cases of transgender girls requesting to play in a girls’ school sports program within the state, out of more than one million students state-wide.

When overriding the previous Indiana veto, the state’s senate voted 32-15 in favor. Earlier that same day, the House also voted in favor in a 67-28 vote. Interestingly, however, four of Indiana’s Republican senators and three Republican House members voted against party lines in favor of upholding the veto, while one Democrat supported sided with Republicans voting to overturn it. While support and opposition tend to remain on party lines, it seems there is some conflict among the ranks. 

As the Indiana veto has now been overturned, and the Republican state joins the growing list of those looking to restrict transgender rights, the battle over LGTBQ-related issues is once again fueled. Democratic Sen. J.D. Ford criticized the decision, arguing that it doesn’t “solve an issue,” nor bring communities closer together. “Why do you press upon the government to solve this issue, which there is no issue?” he added. Additionally, LGBTQ+ activists say that the only thing that these types of laws accomplish is singling out already targeted transgender students, furthering their risk of bullying, harassment, and attacks. 

On the other hand, supporters of the Indiana veto see the measure as a way to protect naturally-born females’ rights. Oftentimes, these proponents point to athletes like Lia Thomas, a transgender female swimmer with the University of Pennsylvania who recently became the first openly transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division 1 championship. They feel that individuals like this will be able to take opportunities away from females. 

Indiana veto

Understanding this concern from many conservatives, Republican Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray backed up the Indiana veto override decision, calling it a “matter of simple fairness.” Men do, in fact, generally have nearly 10 to 15 times more testosterone within their bodies, which often leads to larger muscle mass, and denser bones. But on the contrary, these individuals often undergo hormonal treatments that decrease levels of testosterone in their bodies. 

The Indiana veto override comes at a time when more and more states are considering similar legislation to bar transgender sports participation. But in a similar, shocking case, another Republican Gov. Spencer Cox vetoed a similar ban just the day before this decision was enacted. If anything, this dissent in party lines shows just how torn the entire nation is over the matter, along with signifying signs that the debate will likely rage on for quite some time.