DES MOINES, IOWA — Republican majorities in the Iowa House and Senate on Tuesday advanced two bills out of committee that would place new restrictions on LGBTQ youth in schools and on diversity topics in curriculum.
One bill would require schools to inform parents if a child chooses to identify as a gender different than what is listed on their birth certificate. Another bill would block some LGBTQ curriculum from being taught before 9th grade.
Lawmakers heard from an overflow crowd of Iowans who were mostly opposed to the two bills.
“Me and some of my friends got made fun of and called homophobic slurs,” said an unnamed teen in the LGBTQ community during the senate subcommittee meeting. “I feared waking up on a school day and sometimes even begged my parents to let me stay home because of these kids. One thing that helped me is when my teacher and principal were supportive listeners.”
“As a gender fluid kind in 6th grade I have many friends who trust the school counselors and are struggling to come out to teachers, and I don’t want them to feel even more uncomfortable,” said another unnamed teen during the house subcommittee meeting.
Parents, teachers and more students spoke about their experience in opposition to the bills. There was also a lot of people there in favor of the legislation.
“Children are the soul responsibility of the parents. A teacher is not the parent the teacher works for the parent and the school that he or she is employed with. We need educators, schools and administrators to stay in their lane,” said Patty Alexander, who says she taught for three decades during the house subcommittee.
“Gender identity and sexual orientation do not need to be taught in schools,” said Pam Gronau, a concerned parent in favor of the bill. “This is a conversation that is best to be had between the child and parents, where the school should focus on core subjects like reading and math.”
Both of the bills passed subcommittee and move forward to each chamber’s committee.