Last week, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed legislation banning transgender athletes from high school sports, and in some cases, college and elementary school sports throughout the state. This new legislation is one of many anti-trans political moves taking place across the country that directly targets the transgender and nonbinary youth population – a population already at risk.
The Iowa City Council has issued a statement denouncing this harmful legislation and supporting trans athletes in the Iowa City area and beyond:
"This bill was a solution in search of a problem. It is aimed at one of our most vulnerable populations, the trans community. Trans youth face bullying, abuse, and isolation as part of their daily lives, with discrimination and lack of support having a devastating impact on mental health. These negative factors play a key role in the alarming rate of suicide among their numbers, with 52% seriously considering ending their lives, according to data provided by a 2020 study taken by The Trevor Project.
School sports are an important opportunity for growth and learning and are intended to be inclusive. Student-athletes compete to learn important skills, including teamwork and leadership. Athletics are also significant components of physical and mental well-being. Providing access to these activities, that include a safe and nurturing space for our youth to thrive without fear of discrimination and abuse is vital to our community, regardless of gender identity.
Additionally, this bill, now law, 'others' trans girls and women. It denies local entities and schools the ability to make their own policies. It sends the message that it is 'okay' to single out and discriminate against a vulnerable group. And it furthers the oldest of patriarchal notions: the need to 'protect' and 'save' girls and women.
As State Senator Pam Jochum said during the debate, throughout our history, 'time-honored boundaries' have held us back - whether women, gay, people of color, people with disabilities. When the government strips away the rights of one group, it can do the same to others."