Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill that prohibits transgender females from participating in girls high school sports and women’s college athletics into law on Thursday.
Reynolds signed the bill during a special ceremony just a day after receiving it. It passed the state House and Senate with only Republican support, as the opposition argued that the bill would harm children in order to “solve a nonexistent problem.”
“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.”
Reynolds went on to explain that she felt the restrictions on transgender females participating in girls sports were needed. The bill requires that student-athletes participate with others of the gender listed on their birth certificate and allows civil lawsuits to uphold the law.
Iowa Democratic leaders strongly pushed back against the bill and its effective immediate nature. School board advocates said the bill puts administrators and educators in a predicament when it comes to choosing to follow the new state law or the federal law that prohibits discrimination of gender in sports.
“Because the legislation would go into effect as soon as the governor signs it, she is showing once again that she’s more interested in scoring political points than caring about the impact of legislation on some of the most marginalized kids in our society,” Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls said, per the Star Tribune.
“Today the state of Iowa bought into unsupported myths about transgender girls and women participating in sports — myths fueled by ignorance and fear,” American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa executive director Mark Stringer said.
Reynolds is not the first governor to sign a similar transgender sports ban into law. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem did so in February, while Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee and Texas all have similar laws that passed in 2021.