Hundreds gather at Iowa City Ped Mall to support transgender rights

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Each of the nearly 200 people that came out for Sunday's rally had his or her own reason.

"To support my friends that are transgender," Ariel Koppel said.

"Well trans issues are important to be because I'm trans," John Ramsey said.

"To reassure transgender youth in Iowa and their parents that there are people watching out for them in the statehouse," Democratic Iowa House Representative Liz Bennett said.

But all working for the same cause: equal rights for transgender students, particularly when choosing which bathroom to use.

"I want to bring the opportunities to others that I didn't have," Ramsey said.

While Iowa law does protect transgender rights, many in the crowd say the recent federal guidance threatens trans-students in Iowa because they say it shows the federal administration doesn't value all students, or their education.

"I think that's a shame we should have a society and a culture where people can go about their daily activities," Bennett said.

So, Iowa Safe Schools circled a petition that will be sent to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos asking for the reinstatement of the previous federal guidance that allowed students across the country to use the bathroom of his or her choosing.

To ideally allow transgender rights back to the whole country..
And also to know that locally, all are accepted.

"Understand that you don't have to understand. If you try to dissect everything you'll realize the whole concept of gender is absurd and you can't assign labels to people based on physical exteriors," Ramsey said.