How to Stop Anti-LGBTQ Legislation
Maddy Leahy (she/her) is the program coordinator for One Iowa Action.
Four horrific anti-LGBTQ+ bills were passed this year, but more importantly, nineteen were stopped. Iowa Legislators are attempting to legislate LGBTQ+ youth out of the state. One Iowa Action will continue to fight against every piece of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation they put forward. But we need your help to take this fight to their constituents.
During this year’s legislative session, we organized around many of the anti-LGBTQ+ bills. Through over 265,000 texts and phone calls, we contacted over 175,000 people about what their legislators intended to vote for. Thousands of people contacted their legislators opposing these bills, and hundreds called against every bill. But more importantly, thousands of people had their first conversation about queer Iowans.
Every week, volunteers worked tirelessly to help folks learn and grow, to answer their questions without judgment. While most of these folks didn’t have their minds changed from one conversation, we’ve laid the groundwork of trust to be able to have deeper conversations. During next year’s legislative session we will not let up. We will continue to organize around the onslaught of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. We will continue to have hard conversations with people who do not immediately see the humanity of LGBTQ+ youth.
The four bills that were passed have devastating consequences, which is why we decided to get involved in school board races for the first time. School boards have the power to minimize the harm in some aspects of the Governor’s education bill and the bathroom bill. School boards can create more gender neutral bathrooms, they can refuse to pull books off the shelves with LGBTQ+ characters, and they can ensure “Don’t Say Gay/Trans”’ is not expanded past sixth grade.
One Iowa Action endorsed thirteen pro-equality candidates across eight districts and organized for eleven races across six districts. Through over 150,000 calls and texts, all eleven candidates won, and all six districts now have school boards with a majority of members committed to not only lessening the harm done to LGBTQ+ students but also creating spaces where they are free to be themselves.
Next year, every seat in the House is up for reelection. It is crucial we bring our organizing power to these races. The only way to stop anti-LGBTQ+ legislation from being passed is to elect pro-equality legislators across the state. This is a long-term investment in education, compassion, and hope. One Iowa Action is ready to do the work.