Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, a
Republican, on Thursday signed a bill into law that bans transgender
women and girls from playing on sports teams that match their gender
At her signing ceremony held at the
Iowa Capital rotunda, Reynolds claimed that the law would advance
“Forcing females to compete against
males is the opposite of inclusivity and it's absolutely unfair,”
told the assembled crowd.
The law covers public schools and
Iowa joins 10 other states with similar
The law also allows students who
believe they have been harmed by a violation of the law to sue their
school districts or athletic associations. That is, private
educational institutions that allow transgender athletes to
participate could face lawsuits.
Sam Ames, director for advocacy and
government affairs at The Trevor Project, which provides crisis
intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth, said
that the law would hurt transgender students.
“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 alarming rates,” Ames said.
A small group of protesters with LGBTQ
group Iowa Safe Schools attended Thursday's ceremony. They silently
held signs that said “protect my innocence” and a transgender