Transgender Hoosiers Are Not Second Class: An Open Letter to the Indiana Legislature

To Mike Pence and the Indiana Legislature:selfieJan172016

I am a transgender Hoosier, and I am afraid. I am writing to you for your help.

I was born in Anderson in 1968, I went to high school in Lafayette, I graduated with an engineering degree from Purdue in 1990. I’ve lived, worked, owned homes, and paid taxes in Indiana for decades. I work for Indiana University as an IT specialist providing massive data storage to researchers.

I’ve been married for for almost 12 years, and I’ve helped raise a wonderful stepdaughter, who attends IUPUI. My family lives in Indiana, we have roots here.

I am part of this state.

I don’t deserve second-class treatment.

But that’s just what many bills up for vote are trying to do.

SB 35 and HB 1079 are “bathroom bills” which would force me into public mens’ rooms, where I’m at high risk of abuse and even physical attack. The bills would also set precedents in the Indiana Code that legally deny transgender people’s identity by defining sex by birth and chromosomes only, which is short-sighted and scientifically wrong.

SB 100 would supersede civil rights protections that my city of Indianapolis has provided trans folks like me for 10 years now, and would implement more obstacles to being protected. Its possible replacement, SB 344, provides no protections for transgender Hoosiers whatsoever, separating us from the sexual orientation civil rights protections it proposes. In fact, SB 344 is particularly scary to me because it does propose handling “the transgender issue” at a later time after “some study”. Given the wording of the “bathroom bills” I can only suppose that separating us out will make it easier for legislation that negatively effects us to be enacted. Perhaps it will become illegal to change my gender marker on my license at all? Maybe trans Hoosiers won’t be able to change the sex on their Indiana birth certificate without invasive medical proof?

No other population in this state has so many barriers to being treated like ordinary citizens, and things are set to get worse.

This is why I need you to do whatever you can to stand up against this oppression of a small population. These bills will come to vote very soon, and I need you to not only vote to help transgender Hoosiers like me, but to speak out against them and help turn the hearts of those who would let fear drive them to making difficult lives far more difficult.

Thank you for your attention.

Chris Garrison
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

About ecgarrison

Author. Brewer. Gamer. Geek. Trans.
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3 Responses to Transgender Hoosiers Are Not Second Class: An Open Letter to the Indiana Legislature

  1. Amazingly written and well said!

  2. I am a trans woman living in California with a very large immediate and extended family in Indiana. I absolutely refuse to visit Indiana until broad, state-wide protections for trans individuals are in place, and Mike Pence is out of the governor’s office.

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