Bill to repeal protections of transgender Iowans introduced in Iowa House of Representatives


The Transgender Pride Flag flies on the Foreign Office building in London on Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20, 2018.

Logan Metzger

Editor’s note: On Wednesday evening, Rep. Steven Holt, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, announced on Twitter that he would not be advancing this bill. 

Protections for transgender Iowans may be at risk with a new proposed bill in the Iowa House of Representatives.

On Wednesday, Iowa State Representatives Dean Fisher, Anne Osmundson, Terry Baxter, Tedd Gassman, Thomas Gerhold, Phil Thompson, Tom Jeneary, Skyler Wheeler and Sandy Salmon released House File 2164, a bill which seeks to repeal all protections for transgender Iowans and remove them from the Iowa Civil Rights Act entirely.

The “Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965” currently prohibits discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, credit, public accommodations and education. Discrimination, or different treatment, is illegal if based on race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, physical disability, mental disability, retaliation, age, familial status or marital status.

Protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity were added to the Iowa Civil Rights Act in 2007, according to the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa.

House File 2164 is a bill that proposes “removing gender identity as a protected class under the Iowa Civil Rights Act,” according to the bill.

“Such legislation would leave transgender Iowans vulnerable in the areas of employment, education, credit practices, housing and public accommodations,” according to a One Iowa press release. “Removing an entire class from a state civil rights statute has never happened in United States history.”

Keenan Crow, director of policy and advocacy for One Iowa, said this bill would affect around 10,000 Iowans if it went into effect.

“All of the protections are extremely meaningful because we know that discriminations happen in Iowa and we know that these protections are in fact working and deterring instances of discrimination,” Crow said. “What this bill does is that it allows people, across the board, to discriminate against transgender Iowans in whatever way they see fit.”

Currently, the bill has only been introduced and has not moved anywhere within the Iowa House of Representatives.

“The current legislation removing gender identity is mean-spirited and harmful,” said Connie Ryan, executive director of Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, in a press release. “Iowans understand our state provides civil rights protections to ensure the rights of those who have historically faced discrimination are not infringed. Iowans also know that our state should never be in the business of taking away civil rights protections.”

At the time of writing this article, none of the representatives who introduced the bill could be reached.