Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds Signs Transgender Women's Sports Bill Into Law

Photo: Office of Governor Kim Reynolds

(Des Moines, IA) -- The Iowa House bill requiring athletes to have female listed on their birth certificate to participate in girls' and women's sports is now law.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed the bill Thursday at noon in the Iowa State Capitol Rotunda.

“This is a victory for girls’ sports in Iowa. No amount of talent, training or effort can make up for the natural physical advantages males have over females. It’s simply a reality of human biology,” said Reynolds. “Forcing females to compete against males is the opposite of inclusivity and it’s absolutely unfair.”

HF 2416 applies to all organized sports in K-12 girls' sports in Iowa's public and non-public schools, and to women's sports for all universities and colleges in Iowa as well. Iowa's transgender girls and women will still be able to compete in boy's and men's sports.

Democrats say the bill segregates Iowa's transgender population.

"The state of Iowa should never discriminate against a child, or a group of children. We're better than that. If we're not, we should be," says State Representative Mary Mascher. The Johnson County Democrat believes the bill will be harmful to the well-being of the transgender population as well.

"Transgender children are 40% more likely to try to commit suicide. It's not because of who they are. It's because of how they are treated," says Mascher.

A Republican Senator views the situation differently.

"The foundational argument against the bill is that trans girls are girls, and trans women are women. This argument is not true," says State Senator Jeff Taylor. "No matter how many times we hear two plus two equals five, two plus two does not equal five, and will never equal five."

The Republican from Sioux County says the bill is about leveling the playing field for female athletes.

A Polk County Democrat argues if the bill is about fairness, then the Iowa Legislature should be considering different legislation.

"If this bill was about fairness, we'd be talking about having weight and height classes for every girls' team competition," says State Senator Janet Petersen.

Governor Reynolds says the bill continues an Iowan tradition of advancing efforts to bolster women's rights. She says the following:

"Our state has an impressive legacy of advancing women's equality, but what would it say about a commitment to this principle, if we let actual playing fields of youth and collegiate sports be tilted in favor of biological males. Today's bill ensures that this question remain a hypothetical one."

The bill does not affect transgender athletes on women's teams from schools out-of-state. They will still be able to participate in competitions in Iowa.

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