Bill Passed in Iowa to Prohibit Transgender Women to Play in Women’s Sports Team

As per a bill passed on Wednesday by the Iowa Senate, transgender girls will not play women’s sports at Iowa schools and colleges. Unfortunately, that means all the transgender girls will have to quit their sports- or play with boys.

Gavy Smith, 15, a transgender woman, says, “Being able to play volleyball, to be a part of a girls sport… has helped me engage with my friends, other people, and just be included.”

According to House File 2416, transgender girls will be prohibited from being a part of women’s sports at Iowa’s K-12 schools, community, public, and colleges, and every other institution coming under National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), National Association Athletics (NAIA) or the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). 

The house gave a green signal to House File 2416 last week. The Iowa Senate votes 31-17 to pass the bill Wednesday after 2 hours of debate and discussion. 

Gov. Kim Reynolds requested the Legislature to take action against transgender girls in sports in 2021. The proposal is expected to be signed into law soon. Once signed, many transgender girls like Gavy will be prohibited from participating in the girls’ team.

Republicans said the framed proposal was “fair” since transgender women have a biological advantage over cisgender girls. Sen. Dawn Driscoll, R-Williamsburg, praised her two daughters for their achievements in the field of sports and also said that it was “so unsettling” to think about the advantage transgender women have and how their opportunities were being “constantly taken away from them” by the transgender women. 

However, Senators did not mention any instances of transgender Iowans beating cisgender women in competition; instead, they pointed to such cases in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. 

On the other hand, the bill was called discriminatory against transgender girls by opponents of the legislation. Sen. Janet Peterson, D-Des Moines, said that bill had no understanding about Iowa’s kids who are transgender. The bill was criticized for showing a lack of knowledge. 

“They deserve to feel like they belong,” Petersen said. “They deserve to be included, not excluded.”