The good news, however, is that the bill already looks set to fail.
Republican lawmakers in the Iowa House of Representatives have introduced House File 2164, which aims to remove protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In doing so, this would mean that transgender people would have to use the bathroom of their biological sex.
The bill already has the support of a dozen lawmakers in the House, and the Christian group The Family Leader.
According to The Des Moines Register, when introducing the bill, its sponsor Rep. Sandy Salmon, said: “What the bill just says is that schools and businesses are allowed to take action to protect women and girls by preserving access (to toilet facilities and locker rooms) based on biological sex.”
One of the bill’s co-sponsors, Rep. Stephen Holt said: “You can talk about people living their lives as they see fit.
“I get that completely. But as a parent, you tell me that I should be OK with my daughters being forced to use restroom facilities with someone that is biologically a male? I don’t accept that.”
The bill was quickly condemned by other lawmakers. Aime Wichtendahl, Iowa’s first trans lawmaker, said: “This is an answer in search of a problem.
“The gender identity protection in the Civil Rights Act has been included for more than a decade. Has there been a problem of people harassing women in the bathrooms since then? No.
“This is simply a tactic of the extreme right who will use any excuse they can to harass and intimidate us out of public life,” she finished.
Kerri True-Funk, the associate director of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, also slammed the bill, saying that its premise that it would protect women and girls was a “fallacy.” She then reiterated the fact that trans women were “at a high risk” of assault, due to their gender identity.
And Nate Monson, the executive director of Iowa Safe Schools, said that he was “completely disheartened” by the bill, and that he saw it as another attempt by the “far right” to attack the LGBTQ community.
“This bill is just meant to hurt, not to help Iowa’s kids, so we are going to find ways to fight this bill and support LGBTQ youth and others across the spectrum,” he said.
In the past, Texas and North Carolina have either introduced a similar bill, or tried to. The Texan bill failed, and although the North Carolina one passed, many sporting events pulled out of the state in protest. Although the bill was later repealed, its worst aspects are still in place.
And as it stands, the Iowa bill could face a similar fate. Rep. Zach Nunn, the House Judiciary Committee Chairman, said: “We’ve got several hundred bills assigned to Judiciary, and we’re going to be looking at all of them.
“At this point, I don’t see that (bill) being in the top tier.”