Living in Society

LGBTQ? Not if Republicans Can Help It

Vote board at the Iowa House of Representatives on Feb. 21, 2022

During last night’s Iowa House of Representatives debate on HF 2416, regarding eligibility for girls’ athletics, Rep. Jeff Shipley (R-82) repeatedly referred to supporting LGBTQ students as “affirming a mental illness.” He also compared being LGBTQ to “spreading cancer that will continue to grow.” He voted for the bill, which said in part, “Only female students, based on their sex, may participate in any team, sport, or athletic event designated as being for females, women, or girls.” The usage of “sex” means sex at birth as it pertains to trans-gender girls.

Shipley’s Republican colleague, the bill’s floor manager, Rep. Skyler Wheeler (R-04), said the purpose of the bill was protecting “biological females” from “biological males.” HF 2416 passed the House 55-39 and was messaged to the Iowa Senate, where it is expected to be approved. Governor Kim Reynolds was willing to sign the bill into law, although she wanted to see the final version before committing. Last night, Iowa made mockery of its motto, “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.”

Should the bill be signed into law, there is likely to be a lawsuit. Janice Weiner, candidate for state senator and current Iowa City City Councilor, posted on Twitter, “Expect at least one lawsuit to be filed as soon as it passes. And likely will request a preliminary injunction. This is federal legal territory, not a state legislative culture wars playground.”

I have a t-shirt that says, “Love is Love.” Well not in Iowa where being LGBTQ is a malignancy, and trans girls are discriminated against, and potentially bullied. Why won’t Republicans leave children alone?

I wrote a post “Republicans Sweep Big Grove” after the 2020 election, in which I laid out my beefs with the Iowa Democratic Party. Since then there have been multiple announcements of Democratic legislators departing the Iowa legislature at the end of the 89th Iowa General Assembly. According to Laura Belin at Bleeding Heartland, nearly 40 percent of current Iowa House Democratic lawmakers are either retiring or running for a different office. While legislators like my State Senator Zach Wahls, House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst, and Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn have not given up, the consensus is Democrats will be unlikely to build a coalition to defeat Republicans in the 2022 midterm elections, or even in the 2024 presidential election.

The plain truth is Iowa politics is so toxic, few voters want to engage and even fewer are willing to volunteer in campaigns. Legislative capers of the patriarchy like HF 2416 don’t add anything positive to the political climate. Republicans seek to divide the electorate and have been relentless in the pursuit of prejudice against LGBTQ citizens.

We can’t let HF 2416 stand. It is a long, difficult road to overturning the Republican agenda, although try, we must.

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