Sitting on Governor Eric Holcomb’s desk is a piece of paper waiting to be signed or vetoed.
It’s SB 480, a bill that would prevent healthcare providers from performing gender-affirming care to people under the age of 18. This includes surgeries and hormone therapy.
The ACLU organized their “Rally to Protect Trans Youth” April 1 at 11 a.m. inside the Indiana Statehouse, the same day Holcomb planned to either sign or veto SB 480.
Katie Blair, ACLU director of advocacy and public policy, helped organize the event.
“This event is organized to let the governor and lawmakers know that we’re here, and we’re not going to stop fighting and urge them to stop the hateful bills that they’re considering," Blair said.
Blair said gender-affirming healthcare is “a life-saving, necessary measure for some transgender people.”
At different stations at the rally, attendees could make signs and write letters to Gov. Holcomb.
Amy Lindeman Allen, a religious leader, came to support the rally with her three children.
“The church that we go to, our motto is ‘Love all, serve all,’ and it’s important to me as I’m raising children of faith to teach them to serve people and to do things that help the well-being of our community,” Lindeman Allen said.
Lindeman Allen is a New Testament professor at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, and she said it’s “dangerous” to “apply ideas of marriage or family … from the biblical texts.”
“When we look at the biblical texts, [we need] to understand that they were written in a particular time, and that time and place had different language [and] different cultural codes,” she said.
Speakers at the rally discussed what they believe the harm will be if SB 480 is passed, along with encouraging the governor to veto the bill.
Senator J.D Ford, Minority Caucus chair and District 29 representative, was one of the first speakers. In his speech, he mentioned the Conservative Political Action Coalition speaker who came to the Indiana Senate and spoke on “eradicat[ing]” transgender people.
Ford stated he was the only out gay member of the Senate. He also spoke on SB1, which put the legality of abortion in the hands of the state, being in Indiana’s Supreme Court.
“You can see the intersection of what they’re doing to us, what they’re doing to the women in our state,” Ford said. “It’s all about power and control, but you know what? We hold the power.”
Ford also led a chant of the crowd yelling, “Our house,” through the chamber.
Other speakers at the event were Indiana Youth Group CEO Chris Paulsen and Senator Andrea Hunley who is the District 46 representative, among others.
Indiana’s Men’s and Women’s Choir held a small performance at the rally, singing three songs with audience participation.
Catie Thomas, a member of the women’s choir, came to not only perform but to show their support of the transgender community.
Thomas, as a member of the nonbinary community, believes lawmakers who create SB 480 and legislation like it “fundamentally [misunderstand] what it means to be transgender.”