The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Transgender community members, supporters make demands to IC City Council

Many of the same speakers from the council’s March 19 meeting showed up again to express demands and share personal experiences with the council.
Ethan McLaughlin
Members of the Iowa City City Council hear proposals during a city council special format meeting on Tuesday, April 2, 2024.

Transgender community members and supporters showed up again to an Iowa City City Council meeting to demand the city take steps to become a sanctuary city for its transgender residents.

At the March 19 city council meeting, around 20 community members showed up to make these demands and share their experiences as transgender individuals or supporters of the transgender community in the state during the public comment session.

About the same amount of speakers showed up once again to the April 2 meeting to make the same demands.

Many speakers demanded the city create a policy that would make Iowa City a “non-enforcement” or sanctuary city, meaning the city would refuse to prosecute those who break new state laws related to transgender issues

Sacramento passed a similar law on March 27 to become a sanctuary city, which is the only city in the state of California to do so. The legislation protects those seeking gender-affirming care in Sacramento. 

In 2018, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed Senate File 491 into law, which cracks down on the city’s ability to create sanctuary cities.  The law bars funding to cities that create legislation that counters the state.

In Iowa City, similar demands were stated at the city council meeting Tuesday night.

This public comment session was promoted by members of the community on X, formerly known as Twitter.


A topic that was also brought up at both the Tuesday and March 19 meetings is the issue of affordable housing in Iowa City. Emma Denney, a transgender community member, said Iowa City cannot be a safe space for any community if people can’t afford to live there.

“If we are to make Johnson County and Iowa City a safe haven for trans people — as many in the community already consider it to be — then people need to be able to afford to live here,” Denney said.

Just as in the last meeting on March 19, each commenter’s speech was met with snaps, applause, and cheers of agreement from those in the crowd and in line to speak. When the public comment session concluded, the majority of commenters left the chambers shouting “No justice, no peace.”

City councilors did not respond to or engage with speakers during public comment, which is the norm during public comment sessions.

Jack Moore contributed to this report.

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About the Contributor
Isabelle Foland
Isabelle Foland, News Editor
Isabelle Foland is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication and minoring in Spanish. She is a second-year news reporter at The Daily Iowan, reporting mainly on Iowa City City Council. She is from Missouri Valley, Iowa and has reported for her hometown paper prior to her time at The DI.