Iowa Republicans move forward bills to limit bathroom access for transgender students
DES MOINES, Iowa (KCCI) - Iowa House and Senate Republicans passed bills out of subcommittee Tuesday that would limit which bathrooms transgender students can use.
SF 335 and HSB 208 would require students to only use bathrooms which correspond to the sex on their birth certificate.
Lawmakers say they plan to expand this to include locker rooms, showers and other school facilities.
On Tuesday, parents, students, LGBTQ advocates and school staff made pleas in support and opposition to the bills.
Some opposed to the bills called them harmful and unnecessary.
“Transgender students in Iowa have been able to use the restroom that matches their gender identity since 2007,” Keenan Crow, with One Iowa, said. “And over that 15-year period, we haven’t seen any uptick in school restroom-related safety incidents. And let’s be clear, doing anything in a school restroom aside from using the facilities for their intended purpose is already illegal.”
However, supporters say the bills are proactive.
“My concern isn’t about transgenders. It’s not those individuals that are most likely to be sexual predators, but rather the sexual predators that could exploit this type of situation by posing as transgendered in order to gain access to women and girls,” said Iowa mom Amber Williams. “One assault would be one too many.”
Williams argues providing transgender students a single-occupant restroom would provide “a safe space for all.”
“I asked my 13-year-old son how he would feel if a girl who identified as a boy came into the bathroom if he was using it,” she said. “He replied that would be ‘super awkward.’ My-15-year-old replied that he would not feel comfortable remaining in the bathroom or a locker room [and] certainly not undressing or showering. This bill allows the districts to accommodate with single occupant bathroom.”
One of the bills would allow any Iowan to submit complaints if they believe someone is using the wrong restroom at school.
The plan directs the attorney general to investigate complaints.
Students in school districts across Iowa are set to take part in a walkout, protesting the bills, which they say discriminate against those in the LGBTQ community.
State lawmakers proposed more than 20 bills on these topics this session.
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