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Holcomb signs gender-affirming care ban for trans youth into law in Indiana

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb sits behind a microphone, looking off camera.
Lauren Chapman
Previous to signing the bill, Holcomb said the issue was “clear as mud” – but also cautioned that it was “entirely different” than the transgender girls athletes ban, which he vetoed last year.

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed Senate Enrolled Act 480 into law Wednesday, along with 10 other bills that were waiting for his signature. The ban on medicinal and surgical gender-affirming care for transgender youth takes effect July 1.

Previous to signing the bill, Holcomb said the issue was “clear as mud” – but also cautioned that it was “entirely different” than the transgender girls athletes ban, which he vetoed last year.

Gender-affirming care is health care that encompasses mental, social, medical and surgical care designed to treat gender dysphoria.

SEA 480 bans gender-affirming surgeries, which aren’t provided to minors in Indiana, and medicinal gender-affirming care – like hormone therapy and puberty blockers. Those treatments are far more common and lawmakers behind the measure repeated misinformation about them, calling them “irreversible” and “harmful.”

The newly signed law forces transgender youth who are already receiving medicinal gender-affirming care to de-transition by the end of 2023. During testimony on the legislation, transgender adolescents, young adults and their parents told lawmakers the bill would force them to leave the state.

READ MORE: What is gender-affirming care?

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The vast majority of medical organizations support gender-affirming care, and there is national and international guidance on age-appropriate interventions for transgender youth.

SEA 480 is part of a national push of anti-LGBTQ+ and specifically anti-trans legislation. More than 130 gender-affirming care bans have been filed in statehouses across the U.S., and more than 450 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been filed just since Jan. 1.

Indiana lawmakers filed about two dozen anti-LGBTQ+ bills during the 2023 legislative session, tripling previous years.

The measure is one of two gender-affirming care bans that moved forward after the midpoint of the legislative session. A ban on surgical gender-affirming care for people in state prisons is moving to the governor’s desk. It is likely to face a legal battle under the banner of cruel and unusual punishment for denying medical care.

This story will be updated.

Lauren is our digital editor. Contact her at lchapman@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.
Copyright 2023 IPB News.

Lauren Chapman

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