Iowa passes anti-trans sports bill, sends to governor

Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines. (Image by David Mark from Pixabay)

The Iowa State Senate has passed a bill that would bar transgender teens from playing on school or college teams that match their gender identity.

The Des Moines Register reported that the Senate voted 31 to 17 along party lines. The House had passed the bill just last week.

Indiana passed a slightly less restrictive bill on Tuesday. Unlike the Iowa bill, Indiana won’t apply the ban to college and university athletics.

One Iowa Action, the state’s LGBTQ lobbying group, has issued an action alert to tell Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, not to sign the bill. Reynolds, who has a large national profile in conservative politics, is expected to sign the bill.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has denounced the bill.

“Just hours after Governor Reynolds told the nation that ‘parents matter,’ anti-equality Iowa legislators voted to make it even harder for parents of transgender youth to ensure their kids grow up feeling respected and valued for who they are,” said HRC Senior Vice President of Policy & Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof. “The hypocrisy is staggering.”

Iowa Starting Line, a online outlet covering state politics, reported that one of the bill’s House proponents called trans people “mentally ill” last month during debate.

Opponents of this and similar bills in other states have said the laws target the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community, trans youth.

“Iowa would be the first state in the country to roll back protections already on the books,” Winterhof said. “What a shameful legacy. The legislators promoting this bill have called transgender people mentally ill and LGBTQ people a ‘cancer.’ We call on Governor Reynolds to veto this discriminatory bill.”