Guest Blog by Beth Clawson

Nathaniel and Beth Clawson with their daughter, Kirin.

My name is Beth Clawson. My husband and I are the proud parents of a nine-year-old transgender daughter, Kirin, in Indiana. 

Kirin amazes me. She is strong, confident, loyal, a defender of the underdog, precocious, brilliant, funny, and full of sass.  

We are lucky to live in a progressive city with a supportive family, school, and community. But, now that lawmakers are attacking trans youth to score political points, we see and hear adults complaining and angry about their children being “exposed” to my daughter. 

When my husband called to tell me that Governor Holcomb had vetoed House Bill 1041, I screamed (squealed might be a better word). I was so pleasantly surprised! 

Yet, Indiana legislators are still trying to ban Kirin and other transgender girls from participating in K-12 school sports, by vowing to override the Governor’s veto. 

It is infuriating to listen to people debate our child’s rights. It has been hard for her to listen to people who don’t know her make decisions about her life. It has taken a mental toll on our whole family and the emotional toll seeps into all areas of our life. 

There isn’t an issue anywhere in Indiana of transgender girls “taking over” girls’ sports team. The IHSAA already has a very stringent policy in place to ensure that these unfounded fears couldn’t come true.  

I want proponents of this bill to remember that we are talking about kids playing sports with their peers – the majority of whom are not fighting for scholarships or becoming elite athletes.  

Playing sports isn’t only about winning. Playing sports teaches goal making, teamwork, commitment, how to win and lose graciously. Playing sports helps to keep all children healthy physically and emotionally. Playing sports helps children develop good time management skills and prioritization.  

Indiana legislators are hurting the most vulnerable population by telling trans children that they are not worthy of being acknowledged as real. They are telling all transgender people that there is something wrong with them and that they aren’t welcomed. 

If the attacks on transgender children continue, I am terrified that we will have to leave the supportive community that we have worked so hard to make for Kirin and our family. I worry about the families that don’t have the resources to make that move. 

A veto override of HB 1041 would be devastating for our family because we know how harmful it would be for Kirin and so many others.  

Kirin is resilient and will survive, but she will have to live knowing that misinformation has been spread about her. She will have to live with an understanding that, as a child, not only are Indiana lawmakers not protecting her – they are actively targeting her for simply being herself.

People always tell us what good parents we are and how lucky Kirin is, but really, my husband and I are the lucky ones. She has taught us so much in her nine years. 
We are fighting to stop HB 1041 so that trans girls like Kirin can be themselves in all areas of their life. No one should be denied the opportunity of playing sports, if they choose. We will not let state legislators get away with harming our child or anyone else with this fear-based, hate-ridden attack on trans children.  

I want lawmakers to see that WE WILL NOT BACK DOWN.