Iowa’s ban on transgender girls competing in female athletics signed by Gov. Reynolds


The Iowa Legislature approved, and Governor Reynolds has signed a bill to prevent transgender girls and women from participating in female sports at Iowa high schools, colleges, and universities.

The Iowa Senate voted 31-17 to approve House File 2416, which passed the Iowa House in February, 56-37. HF 2416 states that only female athletes, based on their biological sex, can participate in sports designated as being for females, women, or girls. 

Rep. Henry Stone, R-Forest City, is a co-author of the bill.

Stone proposed a bill last year that Gov. Kim Reynolds lobbied lawmakers to pass, but it failed to advance. Stone says that proposal was more about chemistry while HF 2416 has more to do with biology.

Rep. Jane Bloomingdale, R-Northwood, “for the girls playing sports (to) keep it a level playing field.”

This includes all educational institutions in Iowa, non-public districts, public districts,  schools governed by the state board of regents, higher education institutions located in the state, and members of the NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA.

Senator Amanda Ragan, D-Mason City, who voted against the bill, declined a KIOW Radio interview, but Democrats feel the bill is discriminatory and not fixing existing problems in Iowa. Senator Janet Petersen, D-Des Moines told the Des Moines Register, “When schools say a girl is a girl during the day, but then — under this bill — will have to say she’s going to be treated like a boy at 3:30 practice, it’s hurtful and detrimental to the student,” She continued by saying, “It should go without saying but trans girls are girls, and trans boys are boys.”

Rep. Stone says this isn’t an attempt at discrimination against transgender girls or stopping them from competing.

The nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency told lawmakers the state could lose federal funds if authorities find it is violating federal civil rights laws. The agency also said the bill might conflict with participation rules of the university, college, and junior college athletic organizations, risking the loss of eligibility and media rights or competition hosting revenues. The bill also may cost the state litigation expenses, but Stone says the state feels they’re on ‘solid footing.’

Stone cited Carlisle senior Ainsley Erzen as a prime example of the bill’s necessity. In July, Erzen ran a state record 2:06.52 in the 800 Meter race at The Outdoor Nationals in Eugene, Oregon.

In May, Erzen ran a 2:09.79 to capture the Class 3A title at the Iowa High School State Co-Ed Championships, while all four boys champions ran sub-two-minute times. The fastest was the 4A champ, Aniey Akok of Ames, who ran a 1:52.95.

Stone also mentioned they met with and talked to Jean Berger, the executive director of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, along with girls and district state-wide before advancing the bill.




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