Iowa’s first female governor, Republican Kim Reynolds, signed into law this week a bill barring biological males from playing females’ sports. Fresh off her delivery of the GOP rebuttal to President Biden’s State of the Union Address, Reynolds’s signature means that athletic programs must be men’s, women’s or co-ed and participation is based on the birth gender of the athlete.
Has it gotten to this?
Female athletes surrounded Reynolds as she signed the bill into law and said it is a women’s rights issue to keep females from being “sidelined in their sport.”
The GOP governor said the issue is “a reality of human biology” and notes that forcing females to compete against males is “the opposite of inclusivity.” And as a mother of three daughters and grandmother of three girls, Reynolds said she did not understand how anyone who cares about women’s rights “could support anything less.”
The law applies to athletic events for public and private schools and colleges and universities on all levels of athletic competition.
Carlisle High School track star Ainsley Erzen, the state record-holder for 800 meters who has a track scholarship at the University of Arkansas, said girls can pursue records, positions on teams and scholarships now “to the best of their abilities” thanks to the new Iowa law.
Iowa Safe Schools Executive Director Becky Smith displayed a transgender flag at the signing ceremony to show solidarity with transgender students as she said, “their rights are being infringed upon.”
Democratic State Senator Janet Petersen, the law changes how students are treated during the school day and then in athletics afterward, declaring “a girl is a girl during the day” but then at practice is “treated like a boy.”
The ACLU criticized the legislation as a violation of the “civil rights of transgender girls and women” and says it passed because of “unsupported myths fueled by ignorance and fear.”
One Iowa parent said she is “extremely disappointed in the new law and calls it “gut-wrenching.”
Critics say enacting the law comes with a cost to Iowa taxpayers, which conveniently ignores that it’s their frivolous lawsuits that create the exact price they breathlessly warn against. And while transgender girls and women will be forced to play against boys and men, the law does not address transgender boys who are free to compete against male athletes.
Ten other states have enacted similar laws to protect girls’ and women’s sports.