Gender reaffirming ban legislation threatens LGBTQ+ rights


The state of Iowa threatens the rights of transgender individuals.

Sumika Thapa, Feature Editor

In the past year, the rights of the LGBTQ+ community have faced numerous attacks from GOP politicians, with the passing of the “Don’t say gay” law. These laws and numerous accounts of discrimination force the LGBTQ+ community to live in fear for their lives and wonder what rights will be taken away next.

Iowa’s governor, Kim Reynolds, passed Senate File 538 in March, stating that people under the age of 18 are not allowed to receive gender-affirming care from doctors in the state. Gender-affirming care is a multi-step process that begins with coming out and seeking help from a mental health specialist for the diagnosis of gender dysphoria. Then, individuals can choose their path of care, ranging from hair removal and hormone therapy to surgery.

Transgender students already face immense discrimination in schools, and studies conducted by the National Library of Medicine have shown that 80% of transgender individuals have reported suicidal ideation. This alarmingly high percentage raises concerns about the well-being of trans youth in Iowa.

While many health professionals interviewed have discussed that gender-affirming care is life-saving for trans youth, Kim Reynolds believes that the science does not support it and that the care is dangerous. In an interview posted on KCRG news, Reynolds stated, “I’m a parent. I’m a grandmother. I know how difficult this is. This is an extremely uncomfortable position for me to be in. You know, I don’t like it, but I have to do what I believe is right now in the best interest of the kids.”

Trans individuals who were in the middle of treatment when the bill passed are allowed to continue for only six more months. Everyone else has to wait until they are 18 to even begin the gender-affirming care process. Although doctors in Iowa are not allowed to provide this care, they can refer their trans patients to out-of-state doctors to continue or start their treatment.

Corey Jacobson, the Board President of the nonprofit CR Pride, responded to the bill, stating, “By signing these bills into law, the governor has taken away a parent’s right to make medical decisions for their children and has exposed transgender youth to potential harm. To our transgender youth, their families, their friends, and their educators, we stand with you. We support you. We respect you. We value you. CR Pride will continue to advocate for equal rights for all.”

Families, health professionals, and loved ones are torn apart, and their hearts go out to the lives and futures of trans youth in Iowa.