On April 21, the Drake University Student Senate passed a resolution declaring their support for the transgender community following the Iowa Legislature’s passage of a bill impacting transgender women in sports.
The resolution, which was written by SJMC Senator Madeleine Leigh, reads, “We, the members of Drake University Student Senate, in accordance with our duties and responsibilities to the Drake community and to promote the ideals of responsible global citizenship, do hereby condemn transphobia in Iowa, affirm trans members of the Drake community and call on Drake University to act.”
Leigh said that the resolution is in response to the passage of House File 2416, which aims to ban transgender women from competing in female sports at Iowa schools, colleges and universities, including Drake University.
“This bill is clearly an act of hate against the transgender community, and when our state government signs off on these things, and says ‘yes, these are our opinions and this is what we believe should happen in our state,’ it is a statement on their part that transgender people are not welcome here, and further, is a way for them to encourage transgender people to stop being visible here,” Leigh said.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said that the law addresses an “issue of fairness” in girls’ sports, according to a video published by the Des Moines Register.
“…And we want to make sure that they can compete and have the same opportunities,” Reynolds said. “Is there girls’ sports or is there not girls’ sports?”
The student senate resolution is only a public statement and does not guarantee that action will occur, but the statement strongly urges multiple parties on campus to act.
“…the Drake University Student Senate alone does not have the power to fight this law and laws like it, but is still compelled as a representative of and advocate for the student body to call out bigotry in all its forms, to support the transgender community at Drake, and to call for action from Drake’s administration and various community members,” reads the resolution.
The resolution includes multiple examples of ways that Drake can further support transgender students, including the modification of the Drake statement of principles to include gender identity.
“What I hope it does is start the conversation, encourage people to recognize things like transgender day of rememberance, the transgender day of visibility, to attend events that celebrate the transgender community’s identity, or potentially even start those events themselves,” Leigh said. “These are ways that the Drake community can become involved, because it’s easier to condemn bigotry from other people than it is to combat that with the love that is necessary to really make people feel supported and make them feel like they’re a part of the community, so I think the most important part of the resolution is the one that encourages the Drake community to embrace and celebrate trangender people.”
Andrew Kennard contributed to this article.