116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday indicated she would likely sign into law banning transgender girls from competing in girls athletics in Iowa, should state lawmakers send such a proposal to her.
During a news conference at a Catholic school, where she was highlighting another legislative proposal, Reynolds was asked by reporters about the transgender student-athletes bill working it way through the Iowa Legislature.
While maintaining her usual stance of saying she will not decide whether she would sign a bill into law until it reaches her desk, Reynolds made clear she supports the concept and said she “probably” would have signed a similar bill had it passed last year.
“I said it’s a fairness issue last year, and if it landed on my desk, depending on where (the bill is) at, I would probably sign it,” Reynolds said. “I believe it is a serious issue.”
Supporters of a ban on transgender girls competing in girls sports echo that sentiment — that it’s an issue of fairness — and some have suggested, as Reynolds did Tuesday, that the lack of such a ban will lead to the end of girls’ athletics.
Advocates for LGBTQ individuals argue examples of transgender girls dominating high school and college athletics are rare — none have been reported in Iowa — and that policies banning such competition discriminate against transgender children.
Keenan Crow, director of policy and advocacy for One Iowa, said school districts and the organization that oversees high school girls athletics in Iowa have policies that address transgender student-athletes and that transgender girls have competed in Iowa without incident.
“There are a number of reasons why this is a bad policy, but overall what we’re talking about is discrimination against children,” Crow said.
As of the end of last year, nine states — all with full Republican control of the state lawmaking process — had enacted laws that prevent transgender students from competing in school sports against other students of the gender with which they identify, according to U.S. News and World Report.
South Dakota has a similar policy, but it came through an executive order from Republican Gov. Kristi Noem.
In Iowa, House File 2309 has been approved by majority House Republicans at the subcommittee and committee levels, making it eligible for consideration by the full House. If it passes there, it would then go through the Senate, which also has a Republican majority.
If it passes both the House and Senate, the proposal would go to Reynolds.
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