top of page
  • Protect My Innocence

Gender Identity in Iowa - a legislative history

Updated: Dec 11, 2021

Iowa has long been synonymous with small town family values. How is it that our state has come to this point in time where children are now increasingly sexualized, resulting in the destruction of their childhood innocence?

Join us here as we unveil the decades long encroachment on our children’s innocence.

1980’s – The foundations were laid

As early as the 1980’s, lawmakers began their efforts in favor of including both sexual orientation and gender identity in the Iowa Civil Rights Act. However, these efforts failed due to a lack of bipartisan support.

1999 – Governor Vilsack signs executive order prohibiting state employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

In September 1999, Governor Vilsack’s signed Executive Order # 7 (one of his fifty-one executive orders) to prohibit the discrimination of people in state employment based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. However, in the following year after conservative lawmakers began a campaign to have the order rescinded, a judge struck down the order as unconstitutional in light of the fact that the Iowa Civil Rights Act did not at that time prohibit discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. A report by the Williams Institute questioned this move stating, “…how far do you go in setting up special classes of people?”

Find Governor Vilsack’s executive order here: 966171.pdf (

Judge shoots down Governor's executive order on gays - Radio Iowa

2002 - Iowa Safe Schools founded.

Iowa Safe Schools is a public school program and curriculum that was promoted to prevent bullying. However, their current mission statement claims a more specific goal, “To provide safe, supportive, and nurturing learning environments and communities for LBBTQ and allied youth through education, outreach, advocacy, and direct services.”

Discover more here: About Us - Iowa Safe Schools

2005 - First Iowa Governors Conference for LGBT+ Youth is held.

This conference, founded by Iowa Safe Schools, has nothing to do with the Iowa governor but instead, offers workshops on drag 101, inclusive sex ed, and normalizing homosexual behavior.

Find details here: About | The Governor's Conference on LGBTQ Youth (

2007 – “Sexual orientation” and “gender identity” is added to the Iowa Civil Rights Code.

Before this time, the protections included discrimination for other protected classes including age, sex, race, etc. but now was expanded to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected characteristics. It is now illegal in Iowa to discriminate against a person because of his/her actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

How are these terms defined in the Iowa Code?

“Sexual Orientation” means actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality.

Gender Identity” means a gender-related identity of a person, regardless of the person’s assigned sex at birth.

“LGBT” means lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender

Iowa’s Civil Rights Laws as they pertain to sexual orientation and gender identity can be found here: SOGIEmpl.pdf (

2009 - Iowa Supreme Court legalizes same sex marriage.

Read the details of gay marriage here: Gay Marriage Laws in Iowa - Marriage -

2016 – Laws proposed to add gender identity as an Iowa hate crime

The Iowa Senate votes to go as far as including gender identity in Iowa’s hate crime statute but the bill does not move forward in the Iowa House.

Iowa Legislature: Add Gender Identity to Iowa's Hate Crime Laws - Iowa Safe Schools

Iowa Churches file lawsuits as they push back against potential demands of the Civil Right Code

Iowa Churches Counter Gender Identity Law | Faith And Culture |

2017 - Orange City, Iowa hosts its first, annual Pride Festival

Pride Orange City back for fifth year | News |

One Iowa is formed

One Iowa is currently the state's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization. It, “seeks to support equality for LGBT individuals living in Iowa through grassroots organizing and advocacy.” They do a great job of following the bills that seek to protect Iowans from ideology that is harmful to innocence.

The complete list of “anti-LGBT” bills can be found here including the latest one (HF 167) that calls for an opt-out to the teaching of gender identity to elementary students - “Anti LGBTQ” Bills of 2021 – One Iowa Action

2019 – Iowa Republicans oppose state funded gender reassignment surgery

Iowa Republicans pass a bill that states government officials are not required to pay for gender reassignment surgery through the state funded Medicaid program claiming, “this is an elective surgery that if Iowans want to do, that’s fine but not with our taxpayer dollars.”

Good v. Iowa Department of Human Services :: 2019 :: Iowa Supreme Court Decisions :: Iowa Case Law :: Iowa Law :: US Law :: Justia

Iowa Republicans begin calling for the removal of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” from the Civil Rights Code.

Rep. Fisher wants to remove gender identity from Iowa Civil Rights Code - The Iowa Standard


Pella, Iowa experiences it first public nudity as a direct result of the Iowa code.

Dutch, “Christian” City in Iowa Allows “Trans” Teen Girl to Go Topless in Public Pool - The New American

An Iowa judge rules state funded healthcare must pay for gender reassignment surgery

The court rules that the 2019 state law passed by Republicans prohibiting Medicaid coverage for sex reassignment surgeries for transgender residents violates the Iowa Civil Rights Act and the Equal Protection clause of the Iowa Constitution

Judge: Iowa Medicaid denial of sex change surgery unlawful - ABC News (

Iowa City Pride celebrates 50 years

This long running festive is complete with an annual parade and other events.

'A great respect for Iowa City': Pride celebration returns with community march, 50-year milestone (

Find more details on case law, specific legislation in various Iowa cities, and more in this report:

Iowa – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Documentation of Discrimination

Iowa â•fi Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Documentation of Discrimination (

102 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page