Students in Iowa will not be allowed to use public school restrooms for the opposite gender following the passage of a bill on Thursday. The bill, which only received support from Republican legislators, was argued to be necessary to protect children from feeling uncomfortable sharing a restroom with somebody of the opposite gender.
Republican Rep. Steven Holt said that the bill “applies to everyone equally” and that children have traditionally used different restrooms based on biological and physiological characteristics. Democrat Rep. Jennifer Konfrst, however, argued that the bill was unnecessary and could lead to harassment against transgender students.
“I do understand and empathize with a child that may not feel comfortable using the bathroom of their biological sex. Accommodations should be made when possible to keep that child comfortable as they change or use the restroom,” Holt said. “However, that cannot be done or should not be done at the expense of the privacy and safety of our daughters.”
The bill was passed by the House 57-39, with five Republicans joining the 34 Democrats in opposing it. The Senate had approved the bill a week prior. Governor Kim Reynolds, who has been supportive of similar measures, is expected to sign it. This is in line with other states with Republican leadership that have passed similar legislation, including Arkansas, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.