State legislators throughout Indiana are saying they don’t have any transgender constituents. We know that isn’t true – we get contacts from every county in the state asking for resources. But we also know that many trans Hoosiers outside of central Indiana are afraid to be open about their gender identity, especially in small towns or working for small businesses.
Here is a list of things you can do that can have an impact – whether or not you able to be open about your gender identity.
Several bills being introduced in the Indiana State legislature will have an impact on transgender people:
Senate Bill 100
In theory this bill gives LGBT civil rights protections, but it blows away local ordinances, has too many religious exemptions to be useful and allows forcing trans people in the wrong restroom and dictating what “gender identity” means in legal terms that are dangerous for transgender people.
Senate Bill 344
Similar to Senate Bill 100, but strips out all transgender protections from LGBT rights and only covers sexual orientation.
Senate Bill 35
Criminalizes the use of restrooms for transgender people by making them a Class A misdemeanor – which can carry a jail sentence of up to a year and/or a $5,000 fine.
Because this is a short legislative session, please consider acting soon – most of these bills will pass by early February.
Find your Indiana State Legislator
The Indiana Legislature website has a form that lets you look up your representatives. Even if you are remaining anonymous, knowing your rep will help you.
Anonymous or Open – Talk to your friends and Family
If you are not comfortable being open about your gender identity – consider asking friends and family to write letters, call elected officials, do phone banks or any of the activities that you might not feel safe doing yourself. They can help share your story in a way that is safe – and they can explain why you are afraid to be open about who you are.
Anonymous or Open – Volunteer
Freedom Indiana needs help in all sorts of activities that would not put you in the spotlight but will give you a way to be active on your own behalf. Working on a phone bank, stuffing envelopes and other volunteer activities are available.
Anonymous or Open – Write a letter to the Editor
Some newspapers will accept anonymous editorial letters – check your local paper online and see if they have a letter to the editor form that lets you speak out about your experiences even if you don’t feel safe saying your name.
Anonymous or Open – Tweet your thoughts on Twitter
Sign up for an anonymous account, find some hashtags that make sense to you, (we suggest #ordinaryTransHoosier or #anonymousTransHoosier and #IndSB100, #IndSB344 and #IndSB35) and tell your personal story of being discriminated against, or of your fears. Follow Indiana Transgender Network on twitter and we’ll retweet your words. In your tweets, include the twitter accounts of members of the Indiana state legislature. – here are some of them: @insenaterepublicans, @inhousegop, @insendems and @inhsedems.
Anonymous or Open – Post your thoughts on Tumblr
Sign up for an anonymous account, find some tags that make sense to you, (we suggest #ordinaryTransHoosier or #anonymousTransHoosier and #IndSB100, #IndSB344 and #IndSB35) and tell your personal story of being discriminated against, or of your fears. Follow Indiana Transgender Network and we’ll reblog your words.
Anonymous or Open – Donate
Open – Write to your elected officials
Freedom Indiana provides an easy form that lets you look up who your state legislator is and send them a message. They provide a good template of bullet points, but your personal story about your experiences of discrimination (or even just your fears about what could happen) are very moving. Legislators are looking for a personal connection with the people in their districts.
Open – Call your elected officials
Request a Constituent Meeting with your legislator
Constituent Meetings are the most effective way to communicate with a legislator on our important issue.
The following steps outline how you can do this very easy task that will have a big impact:
- Call the legislator’s office.
- When the Senator staff or voice mail answers, you should:
- Introduce yourself
- Say that you live in your Senator district in ______________________ (your town). Also provide your phone #.
- Ask to schedule a constituent meeting with the Senator to discuss adding gender identity and sexual orientation to the state’s civil rights law without exemptions. If they ask who will attend, it will be you and a few friends.
- After you make the request, the legislator’s aide will respond.
Open – Contact the media and ask them to interview you
Television, newspapers, online news sources and even national news outlets might be interested in what you have to say. Start by writing down your key points, keep it short and make sure you get your ideas across.