Iowa newspaper accuses Gov. Kim Reynolds and GOP of taking a 'victory lap' for exclusion over anti-trans bill

Iowa newspaper accuses Gov. Kim Reynolds and GOP of taking a 'victory lap' for exclusion over anti-trans bill
Kim Reynolds in August 2011, Wikimedia Commons

In Iowa, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed into law a bill that bars transgender females from participating in girls’ high school and college sports. The Des Moines Register’s editorial board, in an editorial published on March 3 and updated on March 4, is vehemently critical of the law — arguing that Iowa Republicans who support it have been mean-spirited in their treatment of trans girls.

“Throughout hearings and debates about a law barring trans girls and women from playing girls and college women's sports,” the Register’s editorial board explains, “Republicans concocted menacing-sounding scenarios of cisgender girls losing races, games, scholarships, and roster spots to a crush of Iowans with unfair advantages. A couple used offensive language to refer to trans girls and women and equated trans gender identity with mental illness or delusion.”

The Register’s editorial board continues, “Many ignored or rejected witnesses' repeated reminders that there has never been a problem in our state in girls’ competitions with people who were assigned male at birth. Similarly unmoving was testimony that trans Iowans are disproportionately subject to bullying and other discrimination.”

The Register’s editorial board calls out Iowa Republicans for the insensitive “victory lap” they took when Reynolds signed the bill into law on Thursday, March 3.

The editorial board argues, “It's one thing to take a victory lap after lowering taxes…. On Thursday, Republicans threw a party for exclusion. It was reminiscent, of course, of the midnight signing of the law prohibiting mask mandates last spring. That caused needless confusion the following morning and delivered an unmistakable ‘COVID is over, you cowards!’ message to those on the wrong side of the vote. COVID was not, in fact, over.”

The only Republican in the Iowa House of Representatives who voted against the bill, according to the Register, was Rep. Michael Bergan.

“What now? Trans girls who started track practice last week will have to either quit or join the boys' team, even though they are girls,” the Register’s editorial board laments. “Golf, tennis and soccer players can no longer look forward to the official March 14 start of practice. Litigation is all but certain.”

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