Make your home page

LGBTQ advocates: ‘Disheartening to see’ Indiana legislators not ‘in this together’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A record number of bills targeting trans people have been filed in this year’s Indiana Legislature, LGBTQ advocates say.

To push back, supporters on Monday packed the Statehouse.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana says just proposing legislation can have detrimental impact. In the last year, 45% of LGBTQ Hoosiers say they considered suicide.

Katie Blair, director of advocacy with the ACLU of Indiana, said, “We know the trans use or some of the most vulnerable in our population, they have a higher risk of suicide, bullying.

The ACLU adds that the work done at the Statehouse shouldn’t be just for some Hoosiers, but all of them.

Those gathered Monday hope they can change outcomes in the LGBTQ community for the better. DeOnyae Dior says she often felt alone growing up as a trans youth, but that journey pushed her to become an advocate for Jessica Otte-Rash and other people.

Otte-Rash said, “It’s very much scary because I’m having to go into hormone therapy in a few months on my own. But, it’s very much a difficult thing to do.”

Dior and Otte-Rash used their voices Monday to lobby lawmakers with the hope of putting an end to a growing list of legislation focused on the LGBTQ community. They used a phrase often heard from Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb during the COVID-19 pandemic: “In this together.”

“It’s really disheartening to see in the Statehouse, where we’re supposed to be in this together as Indiana. But, it doesn’t seem like we’re in this together,” Dior said.

Dior and Otte-Rash say, while Monday’s rally won’t put an end to proposed legislation, perhaps enough people standing together may tip the scales. For four years, the ACLU of Indiana has sponsored LGBTQ Day at the Statehouse. It welcomes advocacy groups from around the state to tell legislators they are are also their constituents.

Emma Vosiky, executive director of Indianapolis-based GenderNexus, said during the Statehouse event, “It’s not even the passage of bills. It’s just knowing that people in this building are saying that you should be ashamed, that you don’t have a right to exist.”

GenderNexus also shared concerns Monday about what it called a record amount of proposed legislation, ranging from banning several forms of science-based care to requiring teachers to “out” students, and limiting access to LGBTQ information.