Last Thursday, Iowa became the 11th U.S. state to outlaw the inclusion of trans-identified athletes from competing in female sports.
Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed House File 2416 into law following approval from the State's House and Senate.
"This is a victory for girls' sports in Iowa. 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," Reynolds said in a statement. "Forcing females to compete against males is the opposite of inclusivity and it's absolutely unfair."
Under the new law, schools at all levels must designate sporting events as male, female, or co-ed. Students wanting to compete in female sports must show proof of their biological sex as marked on their birth certificates.
The Family Leader, an Iowa-based conservative group that supported the bill, celebrated the news on the same day HF 2416 was signed into law.
"Protecting girls' sports isn't political; it's biological reality," the group contended. "Allowing genetically male athletes to compete in women's sports puts our girls at an undeniable physical disadvantage and threatens their athletic opportunities. Our high school girls and college women deserve to compete on a level playing field, and today, that playing field is protected."
As reported by The Christian Post, LGBTQ advocacy groups denounced the ban, calling it discriminatory towards trans athletes.
In a statement released last week, the American Civil Liberties Union's executive director of the Iowa chapter, Mark Stringer, argued that HF 2416 was a "cruel law" that "violates the civil rights of transgender girls [biological boys who identify as girls] and women in our state."
"Our legislators and the governor heard from vulnerable Iowa kids and their families, and about how important participation in school sports is to them in living fully as themselves in all aspects of their lives," he said. "Elected officials have ignored their pleas and have instead passed a law that actively marginalizes and isolates these kids. They are scoring political points at the expense of transgender girls who just want to play team sports along with other girls."
According to the new law, "sex" is defined as "a person's biological sex as either female or male, and provides that the sex listed on the student's official birth certificate or certificate issued upon adoption may be relied upon if the certificate was issued at or near the time of the student's birth."
Iowa follows ten other states – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia – that have banned trans athletes from competing in female sports.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Nicky Ebbage
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.