Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed into law legislation that bars trans girls and women from participating on female sports teams in school.
Before signing the bill on Thursday, Reynolds repeatedly referred to trans girls and women as "males," as she spoke to those who had come to the signing ceremony.
"This is a victory for girls' sports in Iowa," Reynolds said, according to TV station WHO. "No amount of talent, training, or effort can make up for the natural physical advantages males have over females. It's simply a reality of human biology. Forcing females to compete against males is the opposite of inclusivity and it's absolutely unfair."
All school levels in Iowa are affected by the bill, including colleges. It doesn't, WHO notes, apply to club teams that are not affiliated with schools.
During the signing, advocates with LGBTQ+ group Iowa Safe Schools silently stood behind the governor in protest.
\u201cToday, we stood in solidarity with our trans students at the Iowa Capitol. Flanked by the American and Iowa flags, we stood silently behind @IAGovernor as she signed this discriminatory bill with the same flag that flew over the State Capitol for Trans Day of Remembrance in 2019\u201d
"With the stroke of a pen, Governor Kim Reynolds has made it clear that the lives of transgender children in Iowa do not matter," Iowa Safe Schools' executive director, Becky Smith, said in a statement. "After our trans students and their parents requested a meeting with the governor over a week ago, she ignored their pleas to have their voices heard. The passage of this bill will directly result in increased suicidality, disparate mental health outcomes, and further isolation."
Smith added, "Our most vulnerable children deserve love, affirmation, and support -- not to be bullied by the highest officeholder in the state."