Iowa restricts gender identity instruction in schools

The new law also states that teachers must inform parents if their children claim to have a sex different from that of their birth.

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a new law Friday that states that teachers will not be allowed to teach lessons on gender identity or sexual orientation in Iowa schools.

SF496_GovLetter by Santiago Adolfo Ospital

The regulations cover school districts, charter schools and innovation zone schools. In addition, it will affect students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

A school district shall not provide any program, curriculum, test, survey, questionnaire, promotion, or instruction relating to gender identity or sexual orientation to students in kindergarten through grade six.

Schools will not be allowed to lie or mislead parents about their children's professed gender identity or about their intention to begin a gender transition process. Moreover, school staff must inform parents if the student requests "an accommodation that is intended to affirm the student's gender identity" or to be called by a pronoun or name other than the student's birth name.

With rules such as the above, the law aims to give parents more control over their children's education. Another provision that serves the same purpose requires adult consent before a minor participates in any activity, such as a survey or evaluation, that reveals the political affiliations of their family members or religion.

"Education is the great equalizer and everyone involved – parents, educators, our children – deserves an environment where they can thrive," Reynolds said in a press release after approving a package of seven laws that regulate education, including the one on instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation.

States in action

Iowa had previously passed a law to prevent students who identify as transgender from using locker rooms or bathrooms that do not correspond to their birth sex. The state consolidated its position alongside states, such as Florida and North Dakota, which adopted similar laws to regulate the gender ideology teachings in schools.

In addition, earlier this year Iowa joined the list of states that enacted laws to ban minors from receiving gender reassignment treatment.