DES MOINES, Iowa — An Iowa educator believes state lawmakers are creating bills targeting Iowa’s LGBTQ youth. Now he is speaking out against the proposed legislation.
“I’m outraged that they are targeting the most vulnerable of communities in our state. These are kids,” said Daniel Gutmann, a teacher within Des Moines Public Schools.
Currently, state lawmakers are working on various bills that could impact Iowa’s LGBTQ youth.
Senate File 80 would require students to receive parental or guardian permission before identifying as a different pronoun while at school.
House File 193 would make it illegal for minors to receive gender reassignment surgery.
House File 187 is legislation that would allow others to refuse or deny access to a toilet facility, locker room, living facility, or other public areas designated for use by persons of one sex.
House File 184 would allow students to only participate in sports based on their gender.
House File 170 would allow discrimination against LGBTQ Iowans based on religious and moral beliefs. The bill would only recognize marriage solely between a man and a woman.
However, Gutmann is most concerned about Senate File 167. The bill would require students to receive parental permission before learning about gender identity at school.
“The bill requiring parental consent to discuss any issues around gender is the one that I find most concerning. It takes away tools that teachers may have to talk with children about gender,” Gutmann said.
Moreover, he said the family structure has changed. According to a study, 27% of LGBT Iowans are raising children. Gutmann fears that if any legislation is passed, much of the state’s LGBTQ youth could potentially isolate themselves.
“I want to save some children from that. Simply being able to talk about gender or being able to talk about different family structures is not going to turn anybody gay. That’s not going to turn anybody into a different gender. But it will build a sense of community and build a sense of acceptance,” Gutmann said.
He said it is important for LGBTQ allies to speak out against these bills.
“We need allies to speak up. I need my loved ones to speak up. I need my coworkers to speak up. And it’s not just for me. I’m an adult. I have the tools to deal with hate. They don’t have the tools,” Gutmann said.
Gutmann created the Facebook page I LUV U Week. On that page, people show their support for Iowa’s LGBTQ students.