Erin Reed tracks and analyzes legislation affecting transgender people all over the country. She provided great analysis of HB-1118 at her regular column space “Erin In The Morning.” Click through the link below to read her entire column.
Indiana has been the site of several anti-trans bills in recent years. In 2022, they enacted a ban on transgender athletes from playing sports that match their gender identity by overcoming the governors veto. They attempted to pass a bill that would criminally ban gender transition for trans youth. Yesterday, they proposed one of their most inhumane bills yet. Indiana HB1118 would ban gender transition for trans youth by placing it in a new law banning physical conversion therapy. It defines gender transition, ridiculously, as a form of conversion therapy and says that anybody who obtains gender transition for trans youth should be investigated for child abuse. The bill then defines violations as a level 5 felony.
The new Indiana bill states that “a health care professional may not purposefully attempt to change, reinforce, or affirm a minors perception of the minor’s own sexual attraction or sexual behavior, or attempt to change, reinforce, or affirm a minor’s gender identity when that identity is inconsistent with the minors biological sex, by engaging in any of the following activities.” The bill then goes on to list several activities that are brutal and that anyone would agree should be banned: subjecting genitals to electric currents, wrapping the minors hands in heat coils, subjecting a minor to an ice bath. Alongside these forms of conversion therapy torture, it lists puberty blockers and hormone therapy.
This bill clearly has drawn from TERF (trans exclusionary radical feminist) ideology in its development – TERF orgs have claimed that gender transition is done to “trans away the gay”. Prominent TERF thought leader Helen Joyce claims, for instance, that the “affirmative care model IS conversion therapy.” This line of thought has also made its way into US court fights. James Cantor, an anti-trans “neuroscientist and sex researcher” who has appeared in several court fights as a witness in favor of anti-trans legislation, said in 2021 that “transition IS conversion therapy.” Now, this bill seeks to establish this thinking into law by banning all gender affirming care for trans youth.