Governor Kim Reynolds first mentioned a week ago during a Fox News forum that she wants the legislature to ban transgender athletes from competing in girls sports and Reynolds says she’s still working with GOP legislators to decide what the state has the authority to do.
“I think it’s an issue of fairness. Do we have women’s and girl’s sports or not? So I believe that,” Reynolds said during a news conference Wednesday. “…I have had conversations with the leadership. We’ve looked at various languages. We want to make sure that we try to get it right.”
Reynolds suggested Iowa girls could lose out on college scholarships if they’re competing against transgender athletes who were born male, but identify as female.
“That’s a part of the discussion,” Reynolds said. “They have a right to compete and to be entitled to scholarships and they should be able to compete with girls.”
Iowa Safe Schools executive director Becky Ritland said it’s frustrating that the governor is bringing this up late in the session.
“In the state of Iowa, we have had zero cases of a transgender student participating in sports in an unequal way or using any sort of advantage to advance their athletic career,” Ritland said.
Ritland said the governor’s effort sends a message to trans youth that they don’s belong and that’s bad for their mental health.
Five other states have passed laws on the topic this year. South Dakota’s Republican governor vetoed part of a ban that applied to girls sports in college over concerns the NCAA would cancel tournament games scheduled in South Dakota. Des Moines has been picked to host first and second round games in the NCAA men’s tournament in 2023.