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Iowa state police eject LGBTQ students over restroom use

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DES MOINES — About 150 LGBTQ students were kicked out of the Iowa State Capitol after trying to use the bathroom on Thursday.

According to the Des Moines Register, students with Iowa Safe Schools, an advocacy group for LGBTQ students, were told by state police that they couldn’t use the restroom of their gender identity. When Iowa Safe Schools executive director Nate Monson told the police that the students could use the restroom, he was told that wasn’t the law.

“I went up to the trooper and said, ‘No, that’s not what the law says,’ ” Monson said. “The civil rights code includes gender identity. He told me it did not. Then I told him yes, it did. And he said, ‘Well it doesn’t include bathrooms.’ ”

The Register said that under Iowa state law, people can use the bathroom of their gender identity.

One Iowa condemned the action.

“Iowa law states that Transgender Iowans have the right to access restrooms that match their gender identity,” One Iowa executive director Courtney Reyes. “For these troopers to violate these children’s rights is unconscionable. To double down and eject them from the Capitol for asserting their rights under the law is unimaginable. We call on the Iowa State Patrol to issue an apology to these students and commit to training to better inform them of the protections afforded to LGBTQ Iowans so that this never happens again.”

Iowa Safe Schools declared their support for the students on their Facebook page.

In an email to the Register, public information officer Sgt. Alex Dinkla said that troopers at the capitol had received multiple reports of people in the men’s room.

“The concerned parties expressed concern because the occupants included both adult and minor females,” Dinkla’s statement said. The police ejected the students after asking them three times to use a gender-neutral restroom. He didn’t respond when the newspaper asked why they had to use the gender-neutral restroom.

Monson told the Register that he wants to see the officers fired and there would be legal action.

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