DES MOINES, IOWA — State lawmakers listened to public input today on on House File 8, a bill that restricts LGBTQ education in grades kindergarten through third.
The bill was passed out of the Iowa House education subcommittee today, moving it closer to debate on the chamber’s floor. During subcommittee meetings, members of the public are allowed to speak on the specific bill being debated, and this legislation brought out people on both sides of the issue.
“I have seen the positive impact of teaching kids at a young age about queer experience and identities they can have and when you give the chance to learn more about themselves they are able to find connections with others. But most importantly learn to love and find acceptance with who they are, something I did not have growing up,” said Andy Sarcone.
“I would like to ask that you consider a revision in grades 4-12 as these are very impressionable years,” said Anita Fisher with Protect My Innocence. “90% of the child I speak with who talk about changing their gender or transitioning, they are confused. When I ask them why they felt the need to take the step they replied with ‘I don’t know it’s what others are doing,’.”
“When this bill was created no pediatricians in the state were contacted to consult on whether or not this is good for child health, there is no science behind this bill. The science indicates that children who are free to express their gender and learn about their gender are safer,” said Dr. Amy Shriver, a pediatrician in the metro.
“If you want to have these conversations at home with your kids you’re welcome to, if you don’t want to have conversations at home don’t have conversations at home,” said State Representative Skyler Wheeler, (R) District 4 from Orange City. “But the conversation should not be taking place at school.”
The house version restricts education on LGBTQ topics from kindergarten through third grade, but plenty of people speaking in support of the bill want to see it branch out further. The senate republican version prohibits instruction in grades K-8, so there will need to be an agreement among republicans before debate on chamber floors begin.