Letter to the Editor | Future teachers support LGBTQ+ students right to exist in school

An education bill would harm LGBTQ+ students and push educators out of the state – tell Reynolds not to sign this bill.


Grace Smith

A parade participant walks with a sign saying “This is 4 you” during the Iowa City Pride Parade in Iowa City on Saturday, June 18, 2022. The Revaux family’s close friends, Lauren Magnani, 39, and Tomeka Magnani, 32, who have a daughter Addie’s age, also emphasized how important the exposure of the LGBTQ community is for young children. When Lauren was younger, she did not get to see different types of families or people. “It’s just really good because then [children] feel like they’re just as valid as any other person or family,” she said.

As Senate File 496 makes its way to be signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds, Aspiring Educators at Iowa stand in deep opposition to the bill.

As pre-service teachers, we’re training at one of the best Colleges of Education in the country, ranked the best in the state of Iowa. While we are being taught to affirm and celebrate LGBTQ+ youth in our classrooms, the Iowa Legislature is making this practice illegal.

SF 496 prohibits any “instruction relating to gender identity or sexual orientation to students in kindergarten through grade six” and requires teachers to inform parents whenever a student “requests an accommodation that is intended to affirm the student’s gender identity.”

The bill was passed in the House and Senate on party lines.

According to the Trevor Project, LGBTQ+ kids are some of the most vulnerable students in our classrooms. A recent study shows 44 percent of LGBTQ+ youth in Iowa seriously considered suicide in the last year compared to 18 percent of non-LGBTQ+ youth. Additionally, 73 percent of LGBTQ+ youth in Iowa experienced discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender.

By banning discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation K-6 and forcibly outing trans youth, SF 496 endangers the lives of LGBTQ+ youth and contradicts best teaching practices.

With this bill, Reynolds is pushing future teachers out of the state. In the wake of a severe teacher shortage, the Iowa Legislature has decided to attack public education rather than fund it.

Despite growing up in the state, most of us plan to seek jobs outside of Iowa where teachers are respected, and LGBTQ+ people are celebrated.

  • Tommy Stevens, Aspiring Educators

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.