State, National Groups Condemn Iowa’s Girls, Women Trans Sports Ban

By Ty Rushing

March 3, 2022

Democratic elected officials and LGBTQ advocates widely criticized Gov. Kim Reynolds for signing a bill that bars trans girls and women from competing in school-sanctioned athletic events designated as being for females, girls, or women.

Reynolds, a Republican, signed HF 2416 on Thursday, a day after the bill passed in the Iowa Senate along party lines. It goes into effect immediately.

“This is a victory for girls’ sports in Iowa,” Reynolds said in a release. “No amount of talent, training or effort can make up for the natural physical advantages males have over females. It’s simply a reality of human biology. Forcing females to compete against males is the opposite of inclusivity and it’s absolutely unfair.”

Iowa is now the 11th state to prohibit trans girls from playing girls’ sports.

“State elected officials need to stop targeting youth and their families. As a parent, my heart goes out to all the young people in Iowa who were just cruelly kicked out of school sports by the unjustified law Kim Reynolds signed today,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.

GLAAD is an LGBTQ advocacy organization.

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It wasn’t the only national organization to bash Iowa’s new law. The Trevor Project is the world’s largest LGBTQ youth suicide prevention organization and the group says this bill will do harm.

“A blanket ban on transgender student-athletes is utterly unnecessary for Iowa youth, but it will have serious mental health impacts on the most marginalized among them,” said Sam Ames, The Trevor Project’s director for advocacy and government affairs. “Sidelining trans students will only contribute to social isolation and stigma that fuels bullying and mental health challenges for young trans people—issues they already face at alarmingly high rates.”

“To the trans youth of Iowa, please know that you are worthy of love and respect, and what is happening to you is wrong,” they continued. “But you are not alone. We are here for you and we will not stop fighting for you.”

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JoDee Winterhoff, a Walnut, Iowa, native, serves as the Human Rights Campaign Senior Vice President, Policy and Political Affairs.

“This is a shameful moment in Iowa’s history,” Winterhorff said. “With the stroke of her pen, and without even bothering to meet with transgender kids or their parents, Governor Reynolds has reversed years of progress and moved our state backwards.

“After years of moving closer towards equality of opportunity, Iowa is now the first in the country to make life harder for LGBTQ+ people who work, live, and go to school here.”

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Interfaith Alliance of Iowa executive director Connie Ryan said this bill disgraces Iowa’s civil rights history all for a loud minority of residents who have political agenda they want to enact even at the expense of children.

“Iowans of faith and all beliefs who believe in the worth and dignity of every child and every person, are not done with this fight,” she said. “We are here to say to all transgender children and adults across Iowa—our neighbors, friends, and family—we see you, we are here for you, we will fight alongside you, we love you, and you are welcome in Iowa.”

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Kyla Patterson, an Iowa trans-rights advocate, says this HF 2416 is a major setback.

“This bill is taking away success. Politicians who are for taking away trans girls/women’s right to play sports on the team that they identify with are using hate and ignorance,” they said. “We need cis athletes to speak up now more than ever over this injustice. Trans youth deserve joy and success.”

Becky Smith serves as the director of Iowa Safe Schools, the Midwest’s largest LGBTQ youth organization. Her response was succinct.

“With the stroke of a pen, Governor Kim Reynolds has made it clear that the lives of transgender children in Iowa do not matter,” Smith said.


by Ty Rushing

Iowa Starting Line is part of an independent news network and focuses on how state and national decisions impact Iowans’ daily lives. We rely on your financial support to keep our stories free for all to read. You can contribute to us here. Also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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  • Ty Rushing

    Ty Rushing is the Chief Political Correspondent for Iowa Starting Line. He is a trail-blazing veteran Iowa journalist, an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and co-founder and president of the Iowa Association of Black Journalists. Send tips or story ideas to [email protected] and find him on social media @Rushthewriter.

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