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Iowa just introduced an anti-trans bathroom bill

Josh Jackman February 1, 2018

(Facebook/state representative Sandy Salmon)

Iowa has introduced a bill which would allow schools and business to stop transgender people from using their bathroom of choice.

The state’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives is looking to throw out protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

House File 2164 has support from a dozen House Republicans, as well as the Christian conservative group The Family Leader.

Representative Sandy Salmon, who sponsored the bill (Facebook/state representative Sandy Salmon)

The bill’s sponsor, Representative Sandy Salmon, used language consistent with the rhetoric in similar legislative anti-trans campaigns in other states, like North Carolina and Texas.

Bathroom bills in these two states have been defeated, though in North Carolina’s case only after the law had stood for a year.

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,” according to the Des Moines Register.

Salmon at the 2016 RNC (Facebook/state representative Sandy Salmon)

The myth that allowing trans people to use the bathroom which matches their gender identity will increase attacks on women has been repeatedly used by Republicans to push for anti-trans policies.

The state’s first openly trans lawmaker, Aime Wichtendahl, condemned the bill.

She said: “This is an answer in search of a problem.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 25: Protestors demonstrate during a rally against the transgender bathroom rights repeal at Thomas Paine Plaza February 25, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rallies are also being held across the country in support of the Affordable Health Care Act. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
(Getty)

“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 added.

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 25: Demonstrators protest for transgender rights on February 25, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The demonstrators were angry with President Donald Trumps recent decision to reverse the Obama-era policy requiring public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
(Getty)

The argument that a bill of this kind protects women and girls from sexual assault was a “fallacy,” said Kerri True-Funk, associate director of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

Instead, it was trans women who were “at a high risk” for sexual violence because of their gender identity, she explained.

“The scenarios that some legislators have suggested perpetuate dangerous stereotypes of strangers hiding in bathrooms or jumping out of bushes, rather than addressing the underlying issue of sexual assault head-on,” said True-Funk.

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 25: Demonstrators protest for transgender rights on February 25, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The demonstrators were angry with President Donald Trumps recent decision to reverse the Obama-era policy requiring public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“Legislation like HF 2164 does nothing to make survivors safer.”

Nate Monson, executive director of LGBT group Iowa Safe Schools, said he was “completely disheartened” by the bill.

“What this comes down to is the far right has lost on marriage equality and on other civil rights and they are looking for ways to attack the LGBTQ community,” said Monson.

(Facebook/state representative Sandy Salmon)

“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.”

The good news is that the bill is unlikely to see the light of day in the House.

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 03: Demonstrators protest for transgender rights with a rally, march through the Loop and a candlelight vigil to remember transgender friends lost to murder and suicide on March 3, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The demonstration was sparked by President Donald Trumps recent decision to reverse the Obama-era policy requiring public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“We’ve got several hundred bills assigned to Judiciary, and we’re going to be looking at all of them,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Representative Zach Nunn.

“At this point, I don’t see that (bill) being in the top tier.”

More: gender, house of representatives, Iowa, North Carolina, Politics, Texas, Trans, Transgender, US, US

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