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A hothouse for homophobic hauteurs: Iowa inhospitable

Iowa skyline where residents affected by these laws live Photo by Liv Klassen | Photo Editor

I will not live in Iowa after graduation unless there are drastic changes to this state’s respect for its citizens and the kaleidoscope of identities who live here. Iowa has a lot of good things going for it, but I will not stay if I or my friends feel unsafe.

I hope Drake students are aware of the hateful and harmful legislation that has been introduced in the Iowa legislature. Most of it has been struck down or expired, but Iowa lawmakers have restricted the rights of transgender individuals in an effort to gain popularity among voters.

Needless to say, they have not gained any brownie points with me or parts of the Drake community.

The laws that Iowa lawmakers – namely Republicans — have introduced are outright dangerous and make mountains out of molehills. These officials are following the lead of states across the country by passing laws that most voters disagree with.

At the same time, Iowa Republicans are bypassing issues that concern most Iowans. There hasn’t been much discussion about infrastructure, roads and gun safety because the Iowa Senate and House are too busy trying to ban drag queens and books that feature diverse representation.

Books written by non-white and non-heterosexual authors are NOT the threat Republicans want to think they are. 

People I love and care about are unwilling to live in a state where Republicans are making laws that fit their conservative social agenda. I won’t make my home in any Republican-dominated state if my rights as a woman of color are threatened.

I will have turned 20 years old just days before this article is published. 10 years ago, I was learning to write in cursive and sharing my Hogwarts house quiz with my friends. In another 10 years, it’s possible I’ll have more than just myself to worry about.

I’ve wanted to be a parent for as long as I can remember. I respect others’ decisions to make this choice for themselves, but I love kids. My jobs as a babysitter and summer camp counselor fulfill that wish now, but someday, when I am financially responsible and have a partner to co-parent with, I want to become a mother.

However, I will not subject my children to schools where the state government cares more about banning books than assault rifles. I will not sacrifice my kids to a system that doesn’t care about their education or their safety. 

The most recent Iowa legislative agenda proves that they don’t care about either of these issues.

Let kids read whatever books they desire. Don’t leave teachers and students without the resources they need to succeed.

Most importantly, allow kids to explore their identity. Let students be who they truly are.

There are stories from every major news source in Iowa about families fleeing the state because their children don’t feel safe living as their authentic selves in schools. Our state will lose many bright young minds and their contribution to society all because of Republican lawmakers’ fear.

What makes them so afraid?

I think those lawmakers are afraid of losing control. I think those in power know they have to cheat to win, but the state of Iowa is being cheated out of growth and progress.

There are many talented individuals at all levels of our education system who will not remain in Iowa if things don’t change. They will leave, and they will take their potential with them.

I understand that some people don’t like to talk about politics, but this isn’t just politics anymore! Iowa Republicans are gambling with people’s lives to earn votes. The bills that Gov. Kim Reynolds has already signed are a direct threat to inclusion and safety.

I think there are communities on our campus that have strived to create an inclusive, supportive and welcoming environment. However, I won’t stay in Iowa if those same qualities aren’t part of this state’s culture once I graduate.

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