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Hundreds protest in Davenport over Iowa's proposed gender-affirming care ban on transgender youth

This bill would prohibit doctors from providing medical treatment such as puberty blockers or gender-affirming surgeries to trans minors.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Chants of "we say gay" filled the sidewalk of VanderVeer Park in Davenport Saturday afternoon. Hundreds gathered to protest Iowa's proposed gender-affirming care ban on transgender youth.

A similar protest was held at the Iowa State Capitol earlier this week

The bill, which is waiting to be signed on Gov. Kim Reynolds' desk, would prohibit doctors from providing medical treatments such as puberty blockers or gender-affirming surgeries to those under 18.

Under such legislation, health care professionals in Iowa would be forbidden from prescribing transgender minors these medications or said surgeries. 

"I was really shocked," drag artist Ivy Grey said. "I didn't think it could happen so close to home. I thought we were a lot safer than we are."

Grey transitioned when she was eighteen and said doing so saved her life. She performed a cover of Apashe's 'Feeling Good' at the protest. 

High schooler Collin Duncan would be directly impacted by the bill. He is currently on hormone blockers and says he transitioned when he was 13, but knew he felt like a boy by 6 years old. Under the legislation, kids like Duncan who are on puberty blockers or hormones would be required to stop taking them.

"I'm afraid that I'm gonna have to wait until for like another several years to be able to take this medication," Duncan said. "Transgender people are just trying to live their life and be happy and be who they want to be and feel comfortable in their own skin."

When performing, Duncan says he feels free and happy, and that all of his stress goes away. Much of that stress comes from those who don't accept him for who he is. 

"There's people that have problems with somebody being themselves which is infuriating and stressful, and affects the mental health," Duncan said.

Life-long Iowans Dave and Peg Iglehart were outraged when this ban passed Iowa's House and Senate. Their middle child is gay, and they fear he will never move back to Iowa because of these potential laws.

"Absolute complete horror and embarrassment," Iglehart said. We've been proud residents of the state of Iowa ever since we finished college. I've been a resident of Iowa since I was born and this is disgusting turn of events for the state." 

The State Senate also passed a bill Tuesday to prohibit transgender kids from using school bathrooms that don't align with their biological sex.

Iowa Republican State Sen. Jeff Edler supports the bill. He said Iowa has a duty to protect children, and that they should not receive "experimental medical treatments."

Similar bills in other states have faced legal challenges. In Arkansas and Alabama, laws to ban adolescent puberty blockers and hormone therapy are temporarily blocked by the courts. It remains to be seen if Iowa will face a similar fate.

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