Despite opponents’ argument that it was a nonexistent problem, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill into law on Thursday that prohibits transgender girls and women from participating on female sports teams from kindergarten through college.
Reynolds signed what she called a “celebration of victory for girls’ sports,” just a day after lawmakers sent it to her desk. The measure passed the state Senate 31-17 on Wednesday after passing the state House last month by a vote of 55-39. It passed the House and Senate with only Republican support. Her signing made Iowa the eleventh state to pass a transgender sports law.
The Republican Governor was surrounded by young female athletes during the signing ceremony at the Iowa Capitol, according to NBC affiliate WHO of Des Moines, and appeared to refer to transgender women and girls as “males” as she addressed the crowd.
“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,” Reynolds said. “Forcing females to compete against males is the opposite of inclusivity and it’s absolutely unfair.”
Iowa Safe Schools, and LGBTQ youth advocacy group, called the legislation “a solution in search of a problem” to score “petty political points at the expense of Iowa’s children.” The organization also tweeted, “Today is a dark day in Iowa’s history and will be remembered by our students, their families, and voters alike.”
Republican leaders made the bill effective immediately, so any transgender students playing sports may be required to immediately stop. It wasn’t clear how many students it would affect, but it’s believed to be no more than a handful in Iowa.
Carlisle High School Senior Ainsley Erzen, who set the state 800-meter track record and has appeared at committee meetings to support the bill, said the law will protect female athletes.
“Iowa girls today and every generation to come will be able to pursue the things they love to the best of their abilities,” Erzen said. “Whether that’s chasing titles, records, scholarships or earning a starting position on a team. No girl will be sidelined in their own sport.”