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State Troopers Kick LGBTQ Students Out Of Iowa Capitol

LGBTQ high school students left the Iowa Capitol building in tears this afternoon, with some experiencing panic attacks on their way out, after state troopers forced them to leave because some had used Statehouse bathrooms of the gender they identify with. Iowa Safe Schools had organized a group of over 100 students today to lobby legislators on issues impacting LGBTQ youth.

“Four state troopers forced us out, including myself, they pushed me, forced all the students out,” explained Iowa Safe Schools Executive Director Nate Monson. “We had some students still in the Capitol, we had to find them, it was pure chaos.”

One trans student who identified as male who wished to remain anonymous told Starting Line that he was using the men’s restroom and had a small amount of makeup on around his eyes. A man in the restroom questioned his makeup and reportedly told him, “You’re in the wrong bathroom.”

Several other students who identify as male were soon after told they couldn’t enter the men’s restrooms by state troopers, who had begun to gather around them.

“I witnessed a state trooper what I consider verbally assaulting one of my students,” said Andrew Krischel, a teacher and GSA adviser at Southeast Polk High School. “He was yelling at him, saying he wasn’t allowed to use the restroom because he’s a little girl, and if he went in the restroom he’d be sexually assaulted or something like that.”

In a video shared with Starting Line, four state troopers can be seen in the second floor rotunda confronting Monson and telling him that they all needed to leave the building. Monson insists to the troopers that the Iowa Civil Rights Act covers public accommodations, including public restrooms.

“That is not a gender-neutral restroom, it is a male restroom,” one trooper can be heard telling Monson.

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“Leave or you will be arrested,” the trooper said shortly after.

Monson told Starting Line he started hearing about issues with troopers confronting students around 1:00. A little over a half hour later, they were told to leave.

“They started rounding up any kid that was wearing rainbow, essentially,” Monson said of the state troopers. “They got in my face and told me I had to be quiet. It was quite intimidating.”

Krischel said that he was trying to help one of his students who was dehydrated and having health issues, but was told by a Capitol official to get water on the way out of the building or they would be arrested.

“We weren’t doing anything wrong and we just got kicked out,” 17-year-old Victoria Sampsel of Des Moines, said through tears afterward. “I’m angry … We were advocating for LGBTQ youth. I wish everyone would understand what LGBTQ youth go through.”

An Iowa State Patrol spokesperson sent out the following statement to media afterward:

“At approximately 12:30 p.m. today, the Iowa State Patrol and Capitol Security received citizen reports of multiple people occupying one of the male restrooms in the Iowa State Capitol. The concerned parties expressed concern because the occupants included both adult and minor females. On three separate occasions, Capitol Security requested the adult and minor females discontinue the use of the male restroom and directed them to the gender-neutral restrooms located in the Capitol should they so desire. The group refused to comply with the requests and were escorted from the Capitol by members of the Iowa State Patrol without incident or arrest.”

Earlier in the day, the students found success in their lobbying efforts. A Senate subcommittee advanced legislation to ban the “gay/trans panic defense.” The Iowa House had passed the bill unanimously earlier in the week, a rare success for LGBTQ issues at the Republican-controlled Legislature.

“I think the troopers need to all be terminated that were involved, and I think the Capitol needs to have a serious conversation with all their staff and legislators to make sure it’s a space where everyone can feel included,” Monson said. “It’s their building, and they were told it wasn’t today.”

Staff with Iowa Safe Schools attempted to calm down the students after they exited and gathered on the Capitol steps. Several Democratic lawmakers, including Janet Petersen, Todd Prichard, Liz Bennett, Ross Wilburn, Jennifer Konfrst, Heather Matson and Chris Hall, as well as State Auditor Rob Sand, all came outside to speak to and reassure the students.

“I wanted to make sure you know, that you were just on the floor of the House, that is where you belong,” Konfrst told the students. “You have every right to be here and we’re very grateful you’re here. There are people here who love you and want you here.”

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Many of the students hugged one another and fought back tears while waiting outside.

“I’m overwhelmed because it hurts to see my students treated like this,” Krischel.

“‘You are never welcomed back at the capitol again,'” Krischel said one trooper told him. “And I said, ‘we’ll see about that’ and left.”

Monson predicted there would be serious legal fallout over the incident.

“The state of Iowa may have about 150 lawsuits on their hands,” Monson said.

 

by Pat Rynard
Posted 3/12/20

26 Comments on "State Troopers Kick LGBTQ Students Out Of Iowa Capitol"

  • As one of the students that were involved I am absolutely horrified by the way we were treated. We are all human and did not deserve to be treated like that. I am thankful for everyone who went, we got through it together ❤❤

  • Good grief! Am sick and tired of every wannabe “victim” playing the tired and overplayed “victim card”

  • Well, Pat Kinnick, as one of the students who attended that trip and didn’t get kicked out because my group wasn’t wearing rainbows, I respectfully disagree

  • I first want to respond to the ignorance and lack of empathy displayed by Pat’s comment above. Our transgender students have every right to visit the Capitol to advocate for themselves. They are incredibly brave and patriotic for doing so, and the violence displayed toward them by these state troopers was both inhumane and an assault on the democratic process. Secondly – for those of us who would like to request an immediate review of this situation and a disciplinary process against these troopers – who do we call?

  • What occurred is terrible, but it is a direct result on Monson use the safe schools initiative to advance his personal agenda with respect to trans issues. Monson needs to be replaced by someone who will focus on the ENTIRE LGBT community and work in a collaborative manner rather than a adversarial one.

  • I am reading this article and wondering why things needed to go this far. Everyone needs to have their needs meant so if a person in the men’s restroom who is a man – he should be able to be there without a female and a female should be able to use a women’s restroom without a male being there. Until a transgender person changes to how they identify they should show respect and use a family or a transgender restroom out of respect for themselves and others. Throughout life we have to show respect for others to receive respect from others.

  • This is horrible. Clearly there has not been adequate training of the Capitol Police on the rights of individuals. My question is, where should that training have happened? The Academy? The Patrol’s higher officers? Department of Administrative Services? Department of Public Safety? The Governor’s office? The Legislature?

  • Call Lambda Legal and ACLU. This is exactly what they fight against. Stand up for your rights and get those state troopers fired as well. This is unacceptable and the Pat Kinnacks that like to melt like snowflakes really should get a grasp on reality. Get some education girlfriend

  • Pat’s comments are 100% stupid. They weren’t playing victim because they ARE victims of assault by State Troopers. My school’s HS club went there and I was horrified when I hear about what had happened. I can’t believe those Troopers would disrespect such an amazing group of students that are voicing their opinions. I hope those Troopers learn their lesson and be more respectful next time they think of trying this stunt next time. I send my love to the LGBTQ+ community for all they suffered and so pray things get better for them.

  • As one of the students, I would like to thank people who are supporting what happened. It was traumatizing but also shows how far away we are from changing something.

  • I disagree that Nate was adversarial. His response was proportionate to the way the kids were being treated by the officers. When someone’s rights are being violated, we should not have to respond passively and comply. That’s un-American and inconsistent with the Constitution. The offender should be required to stop violating their rights. The fact that all 3 officers escalated the situation into throwing the group out is unconscionable.

  • Said they felt intimidated but told the cops they will be back. These spoiled brats aren’t intimidated, they are entitled. This is why Trump won the first time and this why Trump will win again. Pat was right, this country is full of victims that think they can do whatever they want. You don’t want to follow the laws but you want to be dictators telling everyone else how to be and think. Enjoy 5 more years of Trump, people like this are why he will easily win again.

  • ” I’m not in the mood” Well I am sorry that your JOB to PROTECT was in the way. Our children should not be lead by this example. If it was a “safety issue/concern” why was he voice raised ? Why did many of the young ones leave scared and or panicked ?? If it was “safety issue/concern” why did MORE than 1 state trooper address a restroom break as it was unacceptable ? #FREETOPEE #EVERYONEPOOPS

  • No, this is untrue. We told the cops we’d be back because we are standing up for our rights. It’s an Iowa right to use whichever bathroom you prefer.

  • He did protect. He told them multiple times to use the neutral bathroom and warned them they were breaking the law. I guess if you don’t have to follow the law than there is no reason for anyone to follow any law if they disagree with that law. If people with xy and xx chromosomes only want to be in a bathroom with other people that share the same chromosomes, you should respect that. They created a gender neutral bathroom but that’s not good enough I guess. 1% seems to think they can dictate what the other 99% of the population has to believe. If they just used the gender neutral bathroom, the issue would have been over. But based on the comments, it appears this group even in the comment section just wants to bait people and force their way of life on everyone else. As I mentioned before, Trump is going to easily win again because of stuff like this. If anybody disagrees or thinks differently, they are attacked as deplorable. Well, that won’t change conservatives. In fact, it will just push them farther to the right. Next time you get pulled over for speeding or not wearing a seat belt, be sure to tell the cop you can do whatever you want because you disagree with the law. Then complain they put you in handcuffs and sent you to jail, which is apparently physical assault according to the people supporting this story. Getting kicked out of a building because you refused to follow the law is how the world works. They could have taken you to another building called jail.

  • “un-American”

    Communism is un-American but you probably support that. The country was built on capitalism. Funny how communist/socialists are telling capitalist Americans that they are un-American. Weird….

  • to all the bigots and complete imbeciles out there who wish to defend the officers, even if the first child he berated for no reason is guilty of something, to round up all the others wearing rainbows and target them for enforcement violates no fewer than 3 constitutional amendments. i ask you cop lovers: why do you hate america?

  • “Jackson”
    1. Being unconstitutional is being un-American.
    2. It is not illegal in Iowa to use the restroom of the gender you identify with.
    3. You don’t know their chromosomes or how their gender is expressed physically. And under the law, we are not allowed to check or assume.
    4. You would be surprised that it is more than 1% of the population who are not gender binary.

  • It sounds like some people need sensitivity training about the behaviors that naturally occur with teens. They are trying to figure out who they are. They can be dramatic, argumentative and weepy. They can behave like Barak Obama one minute and a punk rocker the next. Plus they are sorting out gender and relationship issues. If the world ran the way the troopers wanted, then teens wouldn’t be allowed out of their bedrooms until they were 21.

    The argument about women in men’s restrooms being sexually assaulted, what is so special about that location? Women are assaulted at every type of location at one time or another.

  • It’s pretty clear that these kids went to the Capitol with an agenda of provoking a reaction so they could get attention and be offended. We’re all God’s children and I wish these kids all the best and hope they choose Jesus.

  • For all of those who are saying that they told us to use the gender neutral bathroom. Their was no gene neutral bathroom. Their was NONE. Key word their. As a trans* student who was not only pushed but terrified during this situation, I can assure you the only bathroom you could even try to consider a gender neutral bathroom would be the bathrooms for the disabled- So please don’t accuse us of not listening. We did, we even talked to The Who set it up and asked what to do, he told us to use the bathroom on the third floor sense the bathrooms where right next to each other… so what did we do, we went to the third floor to use the bathroom. Guess what… we where still kicked out. I would understand if they kicked the people using the bathrooms out but…. kicking every student wearing any sign of lgbtq+ that’s not right. I’m pretty sure my bisexual female friend didn’t go to the men’s bathroom, sense they don’t identify as a male. Just saying. Go ahead and call me whatever you want for this I don’t care. I believe this situation should have been handled better. That’s all I had to say.

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