Trans activists occupy Iowa state house to protest legal definitions of man and woman

The bill explicitly defines sex as "a person's biological sex, either male or female, at birth."

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC

On Monday night, hundreds of activists descended upon the Iowa state Capitol in Des Moines to protest a new bill that, if passed, would codify a biology-based classification of gender into law.

Opponents have been vocal in their desire to see HSB 649 nixed; however, it already passed the committee process and is set to be debated in the House of Representatives.

Footage of the protest, which took place as lawmakers were holding a public hearing on the matter, showed attendees chanting "We will never go back" while holding signs with various slogans.

"End trans genocide," one sign read, while another stated, "Fight the cistem!"

Another slogan chanted was, "Separate but equal, that's really f*cking evil," in relation to sex-segregated spaces. 

The crowd also shouted, "F*ck you fascists," as the Iowa lawmakers were discussing the bill in committee

The bill was proposed by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds who told the Des Moines Register,“Just like we did with girls' sports, this bill protects women’s spaces and rights afforded to us by Iowa law and the constitution." 

"It’s unfortunate that defining a woman in code has become necessary to protect spaces where women’s health, safety, and privacy are being threatened like domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers. The bill allows the law to recognize biological differences while forbidding unfair discrimination.” 

According to the Iowa Capital Dispatch, Republican state Rep. Skyler Wheeler led the public hearing, and had to pause proceedings on numerous occasions when speakers were overpowered by the screaming mob outside.

Wheeler vowed not to give protestors a "heckler's veto," noting that he and his colleagues "have been able to hear people even if we disagree with them."

The bill explicitly defines sex as "a person's biological sex, either male or female, at birth," though it does provide exceptions for those who are "born with a medically verifiable diagnosis of disorder or difference of sex development," per the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"The term 'woman' or 'girl' refers to a female and the term 'man' or 'boy' refers to a male," it continues, laying out similar definitions for "mother" and "father."

The bill would keep certain spaces such as bathrooms, locker rooms, and shelters segregated by sex, and require birth certificates of those who had transitioned to list both their biological sex and the gender they identify after sex change surgery. 

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