Chris Paulsen

Who Decides How To Protect LGBTQ Student Rights?

Jun 15, 2018

School policies across the state to specifically address the rights of lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender or queer (LGBTQ) students vary, and advocacy groups say those can have a long-term impact on kids.

Urban Sea Star /

Indiana groups pushing for LGBT rights say the path forward to securing those rights next year is educating lawmakers.  LGBT rights advocates discussed Tuesday what they have in store after LGBT rights legislation died before getting a vote on either chamber floor this session.

Despite failure at the General Assembly, local communities, including, most recently, Evansville and Kokomo, continue to enact their own anti-discrimination ordinances. 

Jim Nix /

The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to add transgendered Hoosiers to a gay-rights bill.

Democrats and gay-rights groups have opposed Senate Republicans' civil rights bill because it pushes the question of transgender protections to a study committee.

The bill's supporters have argued more debate is needed about transgender rights.

But Sen. Ron Alting (R-Lafayette) has filed an amendment to add gender identity to the bill.

Gretchen Frazee / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Advocates on either side of the religious liberty/LGBT rights debate at the Statehouse say they’re not surprised a bill aiming to rewrite last year’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act died Wednesday without even receiving a vote. 

The proposed bill would’ve labeled certain constitutional rights – including freedoms of religion, speech, thought, and assembly – as “fundamental” and required judges to give deference to them. 

LGBT rights group Freedom Indiana opposed the bill, arguing it threatened to promote discrimination against the LGBT community. 

Freedom Indiana / Facebook

The legislative debate over LGBT rights next year is likely to focus more than ever before on the "T" in that phrase.

Until now, the statehouse LGBT debate has centered on gay marriage, pushing transgender Hoosiers to the periphery. With the 2016 focus on a broader anti-discrimination bill, civil rights group Freedom Indiana has kicked off its push for the law with a roster of speakers drawn entirely from the transgender community.