Liberals Melt Down Over Iowa ‘Sharp Right Turn’ – Becoming ‘Florida of the North’

The Washington Post published a hit piece attacking Iowa on Monday, accusing the Republican state of “targeting the LGBTQ community” with “hurtful” legislation. The proposals targeted in the report include a statewide ban on transgender procedures for children, the prohibition of sex education in kindergarten classrooms, and the separation of bathrooms by biological sex. Washington Post columnist Annie Gowan characterized Iowa as taking a “sharp right turn” and transforming into the “Florida of the North.”

Gowan wrote in her column that Iowa Republicans have felt emboldened by the state’s red shift and have “embarked on an ambitious new agenda that includes a costly school choice bill and legislation targeting the LGBTQ community,” which she described as “a historic divergence from Iowa’s history as a civil rights bastion.”

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Gowan specifically took issue with three bills passed this month, which she says culminate with “a measure to ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth.” So-called gender-affirming care often includes puberty blockers, hormone therapies, and extensive surgery, including double mastectomies, all of which can have irreversible and life-altering effects. Banning children from having these procedures, Gowan says, is a far-right position to hold.

“Iowa has veered so far to the right in recent years that its political landscape is virtually unrecognizable from the centrist place that chose Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and was one of the earliest states in the country to affirm same-sex marriage. A joke among statehouse reporters is that Iowa is becoming the ‘Florida of the North’ — without the beaches.”

The Washington Post columnist also took a comment from “progressive” pastor Lee Schott, who has reportedly been lobbying Republicans against “transgender bills.”

“This isn’t the Iowa I know… [Republican-led Iowa] used to mean welcoming immigrants, helping refugees, supporting our great public school system. It doesn’t mean any of those things now. It’s ‘anti’ those things now.”

Gowan also quoted a February speech from Governor Kim Reynolds, where the Republican leader defended her state’s legislative agenda against critics,

“They think patriotism is racist and pornographic library books are education… They believe that the content of our character is less important than the color of our skin. They believe that children should be encouraged to pick their gender and the parents, well, they’re just in the way.”

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The Washington Post column then went on to detail the specific legislation that liberals took issue with. Gowan described that twelve bills “aimed at the LGBTQ community” are advancing through the Iowa legislature, “including proposals to prohibit spending on diversity and inclusion offices in state universities.”

“The House has passed a bill that would prohibit the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through sixth grade. Two bills, one that limits bathroom use in schools to ‘biological sex,’ and a curriculum and school library measure that removes the requirement to teach students about HIV, are awaiting the governor’s signature.”

Despite Gowan’s outrage, Iowa polling indicates that the state supports the new bills. A March poll by Selzer & Co. found that 54 percent of Iowa adults supported banning gender instruction and sex education in elementary school classrooms. The survey also found that 52 percent of Iowa adults were against “gender-affirming” care for children.

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