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House committee approves gender-affirming care ban for transgender youth

Alisha Hunter leans back in her chair listening to testimony in the House chamber. Her t-shirt reads "I will say gay and I will protect trans kids." Her dark hair is cut short and she wears glasses.
Lauren Chapman
IPB News
Alisha Hunter’s son is transgender and she said if SB 480 is signed into law, her family will have to leave Indiana.

A ban on medicinal and surgical gender-affirming care for transgender youth was approved by a House committee Tuesday. The committee heard nearly four hours of emotional testimony before moving the measure one step closer to the governor’s desk.

Senate Bill 480 would ban a list of medical procedures only if they were for the treatment of gender dysphoria.

Gender-affirming care is health care that encompasses mental, social, medical and surgical care designed to treat gender dysphoria. There is national and international guidance on age-appropriate treatment. And health care providers have testified previously that gender-affirming surgeries aren’t performed on minors in Indiana.

Alisha Hunter’s son is transgender and currently receives medicinal gender-affirming care, which can include hormone therapy and puberty blockers. She said lawmakers are overreaching with this bill.

“Not one time has this journey prompted me to reach out to an elected official to ask their advice – nor should it,” Hunter said.

Several transgender teens, young adults and their parents testified before lawmakers about their care. Many echoed the same concern – if the measure is signed into law, they’ll have to leave Indiana.

“We’ve already considered moving out of state, we’ve already looked at options to where we could move,” Hunter said. “Because this will be life-altering for my child.”

READ MORE: What is gender-affirming care?

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Several Indiana chapters of medical organizations spoke in opposition to the bill.

Emma Vosicky is the executive director of Gender Nexus, an organization that connects transgender Hoosiers to resources. She responded to lawmakers’ concerns about permanent changes with transitioning.

“You cannot profess a fear of permanent changes and then create the permanent changes that you want,” Vosicky said.

The bill’s author, Sen. Tyler Johnson (R-Leo), told House lawmakers the state had a “medical, moral and legal obligation” to move the legislation forward.

ACLU of Indiana’s Katie Blair said there are serious constitutional concerns with the bill.

“Preventing people from accessing evidence-based, medically necessary care simply because it’s a form of care offered to transgender people is discrimination – it’s discrimination plain and simple,” Blair said.

The bill now moves to the full House.

Lauren is our digital editor. Contact her at or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.

Lauren is the digital editor for our statewide collaboration, and is based in Indianapolis at WFYI. Since starting for IPB News in 2016, she's covered everything from protests and COVID-19 to esports and policy. She's a proud Ball State University alumna and grew up on the west side of Indianapolis.