Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds Signs Bill Protecting Girls Sports from Transgender Athletes

Penn transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, right, dries off after warming up with the team befor
AP Photo/Josh Reynolds

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds joined the fight to protect female sports when she signed a bill on Thursday that will require athletes to compete on school, college, and university sports teams corresponding to their biological sex.

House File 2416, which takes effect immediately, essentially will require “school-sponsored athletic events to be designated as a men’s, women’s or coeducational sports,” according to USA Today. In women’s sports, athletes looking to compete will need to have “female” listed on their birth certificate; no requirement will be made for men’s sports.

“The law allows students to sue if they believe they have suffered “direct or indirect harm” based on a school violating the law,” noted the outlet. “The Iowa attorney general’s office will represent schools and school employees in lawsuits, and the state will pay any legal costs.”

Legal experts believe Iowa’s law is likely headed for a legal challenge. Over the past two years, such laws in Idaho, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Florida have been embroiled in court battles.

Kim Reynolds called the matter a “fairness issue” for women’s sports careers.

“Girls have dreams and aspirations of earning a scholarship to help pay for college. Girls have dreams and aspirations of one day competing in the Olympics,” Reynolds said. “So it’s a fairness issue.”

Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, dives into the water to swim in the 200 yard Medley Relay for the University of Pennsylvania at an Ivy League swim...

UPenn transgender swimmer Lia Thomas (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

Republican Party of Iowa Co-Chair Linda Upmeyer hailed the bill as a success for female athletes.

“Republicans in the legislature and Gov. Reynolds are leading and standing up for Iowa’s female athletes. This is inherently a fairness issue,” said Upmeyer. “Young girls should not be discouraged from participating, or succeeding, in athletics because competition is out of their ability to compete. Wokeness does not have a role in our schools or athletics.”

Democrat Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls called the law “appalling.”

“She is showing once again that she’s more interested in scoring political points than caring about the impact of legislation on some of the most marginalized kids in our society,” he said in a statement.

Sam Ames, director for advocacy and government affairs at the Trevor Project, said the bill aims to “isolate transgender youth.”

Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, ties her hair back before putting a swim cap on and swimming the for the University of Pennsylvania at an Ivy League...

(Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

“This bill is not about fairness in sports, nor has it ever been,” Ames said in a statement. “This is an effort to further isolate transgender youth in Iowa by lawmakers who should know better than to use their most marginalized constituents as political pawns.”

In early February, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed a bill restricting biological males from competing in women’s sports up through college. Speaking with Fox News, she said the law was about “leveling the playing field.”

“It is true that your girls will have a level playing field,” she said. “They will get the chance to compete only against other biological females, as reflected on their birth certificate because we want them to have a chance to be successful.”


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.