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Iowa lawmakers consider bills dealing with gender identity

Two subcommittees discussed separate measures which would limit discussion and instruction surrounding gender identity in schools.

DES MOINES, Iowa — A collection of proposals focused on gender identity are making their way through the Iowa Statehouse. 

On Tuesday, the Senate Education Subcommittee passed through Senate File 83, which prohibits school instruction or curriculum on gender identity in grades K-8.

In the House Education Subcommittee, lawmakers gave the green light to House File 9, which prohibits a school from accommodating the student's gender identity if it differs from what's on their birth certificate, and they don't have parental approval. 

It also prevents school teachers and counselors from withholding information on a student's gender identity or plans to transition from their guardians. Both measures head to full committee. 

Before lawmakers gave the green light to SF 83, speakers shared opinions on both sides of the issue. 

"We don't' want to have to worry about what pronouns to use from day to day from children, and we don't want to worry about boys intruding on girls in the bathrooms and vice versa," said Patty Alexander. 

Another woman in support believed allowing children to transition is wrong. 

"This is wrong. This is wrong at all levels. We have got to come back to our common sense. school is not the place to be teaching gender, confusing the children," she said.

"Every suicide, every school shooting, every act of bullying, every sexual assault is a result of the woke agenda they have presented to us," added Nicole Hasso

A number of speakers spoke against the measure. One was a young person who uses the pronouns they/them/theirs. 

"As a member of the LGBTQIA community and as a kid in Iowa schools, I deserve to be valued and protected. But this bill does the exact opposite," they said.

A mom with a young transgender daughter also spoke up against the measure. 

"I fear this enormous stress will be too much for our queer youth who already experience elevated rates of depression, absenteeism, homelessness, thoughts of self harm and even worse, suicide," she said. "If we are serious about protecting kids, we didn't protect all kids. This bill will not stop trans kids from existing, it will just make it harder for them to keep on living."

Local 5 News also spoke with Kristian Maul, a parent in Urbandale, who said he's concerned about how this measure will impact his family.

"I don't know who would be afraid of a suburban dad that volunteers with the scout troop and basketball teams every weekend. And that's who I am. And I'm a transgender person," Maul said. 

Maul also has a child who is genderfluid. He's afraid of the message these measures are sending to transgender and gender-nonconforming youth.

"Over 50% of our transgender and gender-nonconforming youth have seriously contemplated suicide in the past year. I'm getting kind of emotional, because again, that's just heartbreaking. Thinking about all the potential lost lives," Maul said. 



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