Monday, April 22, 2024

20 anti-LGBTQ bills fail as Iowa legislative session adjourns

The LGBTQ community received a wonderful bit of good news in Iowa and LGBTQ activists and journalists are hoping that it is the sign of a new trend.

In state after state, GOP-dominated state legislatures are adjourning without passing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. Now, Iowa has become the latest state to fail to pass any of the numerous bills introduced this session. 

 . . .Iowa Republicans saw bill after bill fall this session despite prioritizing them. A last-minute effort to push one through as an amendment to another bill also collapsed. More than 20 bills were introduced during this session. Some were introduced by the governor herself. 

 One bill tried to remove trans people from the state’s civil rights laws and declare them “disabled” instead. Another would have redefined the word “equal” in state law to specifically exclude trans people from the standard definition of “same” or “identical.” A third bill would have banned transgender from bathrooms that match their gender identity. 

One of the worst, known as the “pink triangle law,” would have required special markers on trans people’s birth certificates and driver’s licenses. The proposed change to Iowa’s civil rights law was so drastic and loathsome that even Republicans refused to entertain the idea. A crowd of hundreds erupted into cheers when the members of a subcommittee who had heard an hour of testimony against the bill announced they would not advance it any further. 

 Trans blogger and activist Erin Reed pointed out in The Washington Blade that though Iowa was the latest state legislature which failed to pass anti-LGBTQ bills this year, there is still work to be done.

 Iowa is not the only state to witness significant victories over anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-trans legislation this year. Earlier, all explicitly anti-LGBTQ+ bills—20 in total—were defeated in Florida, prompting a statement from local HRC advocates that “The tide is turning.”

 Similarly, over 20 bills failed in West Virginia, leading to celebrations. In Georgia, every anti-LGBTQ+ bill also failed, despite similar last-minute attempts to amend anti-LGBTQ+ legislation into entirely unrelated bills. 

 Although attacks on trans and queer individuals have encountered significant obstacles in Iowa and other states historically targeting LGBTQ+ people, some states are advancing with particularly severe legislation.  These states include Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, all of which have introduced bills that would ban transgender people from bathrooms, allow individuals with religious objections to adopt LGBTQ+ children, and more.

Meanwhile, Ohio is moving forward with a bathroom ban that could affect transgender adults in colleges, and Utah has already passed a sweeping bathroom and locker room ban this year. Additionally, the United States presidential election is already witnessing political attacks on transgender individuals, which may intensify in the coming months.