Indiana transgender girl athlete raises voice against school sports ban
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (CBS) — Transgender girls in Indiana are now banned from playing on girls’ teams at schools in that state.
The new law kicked in on Friday for grades K through 12.
CBS 2’s Marissa Perlman spoke with the parents of a transgender athlete about what it could mean when trans students match up in Indiana.
Kirin Clawson is now 9 years old. From an early age, she has showed her parents – Nathaniel and Beth – her love for singing, dancing, and sports.
“She’s up for trying anything, and she is very, very athletic,” said Beth Clawson.
Kirin’s parents, in Bloomington, Indiana, told us expressing herself is their daughter’s superpower.
“She loves being transgender – like it is important to her – but it is not something that she gives much thought to until people start talking about her,” said Beth Clawson.
But now, people are talking – about Kirin and other trans girls in Indiana, who has of July 1 are now banned from playing on girls’ teams at schools in the state.
“The being told no definitely made it much more important for her to play sports,” said Beth Clawson.
Sponsors of the bill say it is needed to protect the integrity of competition and opportunities to get athletic scholarships.
In March, the legislation was vetoed by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb – who said the bill leaves too many unanswered questions. But the veto was overridden by the Indiana General Assembly in May.
One of those unanswered questions was, what happens when transgender students from Illinois match up against teams on Indiana turf?
“It harms all girls,” said Beth Clawson. “It doesn’t just harm trans girls.”
Indiana House Bill 1041 has yet to spell out how out-of-state athletes would be impacted in competition. The American Civil Liberties Union says when there is any kind of crossover, Illinois athletes can still play.
The ACLU points to the Illinois High School Association guidelines. They allow transgender athletes to play as long as they follow “school procedures”
These procedures include disclosing medical documentation such hormonal treatments, sexual reassignment surgery, counseling, and medical personnel, as well as disclosing gender identity-related advantages for approved participation.
Meanwhile, along with sports, Kirin has a growing passion for politics. She wrote a letter to an Indiana lawmaker on the bill, saying: “I want to be able to play sports – please vote no. Thank you.”
Kirin is learning the legal system in her home state so she can protect her rights.
“She’s listened to every single thing that the senators and representatives have said about her – positive and negative,” said Beth Clawson. “She’s tougher than we are, I think.”
“She’s a very tough cookie,” added Nathaniel Clawson.
A total of 18 states have banned or severely limited transgender girls and women from playing on teams that align with their gender identity.
Many of the states have enacted these laws despite very few – or even zero – trans girls even playing on sports teams.
The ACLU of Indiana has filed an injunction on the bill.