Iowa Legislature Plans Last Second Attack on Transgender Youth
Last night in a Fox News Town Hall, Governor Kim Reynolds announced that the Iowa Legislature was working on a proposal to ban transgender youth participation in athletics and that she believed it would be on her desk by the end of the legislative session. She also indicated that she would sign the legislation if it made it to her desk.
As a nation, we decided long ago that discrimination is wrong and that everyone should have the same opportunities to succeed in life—and that should include transgender youth. Schools across the country know that transgender students, like any student, thrive when they’re treated with dignity and respect. When school officials recognize that a transgender girl is a girl during the school day but then treat her as if she’s a boy when sports practice starts, it’s hurtful to the student and disrupts the school’s policy of treating all kids fairly.
Legislators introduced similar bills earlier in the session, but they failed to advance. Any last-second maneuvers to pass such legislation would prevent the children and families being targeted from testifying against it.
One Iowa Action Executive Director, Courtney Reyes, responded to Governor Reynolds in a statement: “Governor Reynolds, I’m a mom too. I see every day how important sports are for kids, and the joy and sense of purpose playing organized sports brings. Just like other students, transgender children deserve the same chances to learn teamwork, sportsmanship, leadership, and self-discipline and to build a sense of belonging with their peers. That’s what playing sports is about. When we tell transgender children that they can’t play on a team with their friends, they lose out on those important life lessons. Please, do the right thing. Let these kids participate in the same way our kids can.”
Iowa Safe Schools’ Executive Director Becky Ritland issued the following statement condemning the legislation:“In continuing this year’s trend of attacking transgender children, the Iowa Legislature has made it clear that trans students should not feel safe or included in school. We are extremely disappointed that the Governor has endorsed discrimination in this state. Contradicting the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa High School Athletic Association, and Title IX, this effort to segregate trans students sets a dangerous precedent. According to the Trevor Project, over half of all transgender students have seriously considered suicide, with more than one in five attempting suicide. Legislative proposals like this only continue to dehumanize and bully trans youth, while also exacerbating the already high rate of suicidality, self-harm, and major depressive disorders.”
One Iowa Action is a 501(c)(4) organization working to preserve and advance the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) Iowans through grassroots efforts, voter education and advocacy.
Iowa Safe Schools provides safe, supportive, and nurturing learning environments and communities for LGBTQ and allied youth through education, outreach, advocacy, and direct services.