Governor’s bill restricts gender changes on Iowa driver’s licenses

By O. Kay Henderson (Radio Iowa)

Governor Kim Reynolds has introduced a bill that would require the gender listed on an Iowa driver’s license or birth certificate to match the person’s gender at birth — preventing transgender residents from changing the gender listed on those IDs.

Reynolds said women and men have unique biological differences and the move will protect women’s health, safety, and privacy in spaces like rest rooms and domestic violence shelters. The bill also requires that when the state, schools or local government agencies collect health and crime data, it may only use male or female designations.

Similar laws have been passed in Montana and Tennessee. Florida officials implemented the policy on driver’s licenses last week.

One Iowa, a group that advocates for the rights of LGBTQ Iowans, says the governor’s bill would force transgender Iowans to out themselves when showing an I-D to do things like buy alcohol at a grocery store or vote. The executive director of Iowa Safe Schools says the bill makes it crystal clear that transgender people are not welcome in Iowa.

On Wednesday, a subcommittee in the Iowa House defeated a bill that would have removed protections against discrimination toward transgender Iowans from the state’s Civil Rights Act.


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