The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

Staff Profile
Sadie Bodzin
Sadie Bodzin
Culture Co-Editor

STAFF EDITORIAL: What’s In a Name?

The Little Hawk rises against anti-trans legislation and new name law
STAFF+EDITORIAL%3A+Whats+In+a+Name%3F
Rosangel Flores-Rubio

A new legislation accompanies the new school year, with controversy surrounding it. Senate File 456 states that if a student wants to use a name that is different from their legal name and gender identity, then administrators must notify parents and get their approval. This law hinders transgender students’ autonomy under the guise of not keeping secrets from parents.

With the rise in conservative politics, LGBTQ+, especially transgender youth, have been under fire as new laws come out. Just a year ago a law was passed that prohibited transgender students from using school bathrooms and locker rooms that do not align with their sex at birth, and prohibited Iowa doctors from prescribing puberty blockers or hormones to transgender minors. Political tension rises as laws like this keep getting passed, and protests from the people it will hurt, ignored.

Along with these laws, The Trevor Project, a non-profit organization founded in 1988 that is focused on suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth, reported a rise in poor mental health and suicide risk in 2022. They reported that 52% of transgender and nonbinary youth in Iowa seriously considered suicide last year, with 22% actually attempting suicide. Additionally, 54% of transgender and nonbinary youth in Iowa who wanted mental health care were not able to get it.

Iowa Safe Schools is a small non-profit based in Des Moines that serves all 99 counties in the state of Iowa. They work in a few different ways, including supporting local Gender and Sexuality Alliance’s (GSA) and LGBTQ+ students, especially those who have experienced bullying. They have an education department that works with adults, educators, and corporations to do professional development. They also have an external relations department that goes up to the Capitol during sessions, talks with our lawmakers, and advocates for LGBTQ+ youth policies that benefit them.

They have been doing their best to support students suffering under this new legislation.

“Throughout session, we had lobbyists up at the Capitol every single day, talking to lawmakers and trying to educate them about what these policies would do,” GSA Coordinator Hannah Mitchell said. “Unfortunately, the policies were still passed, so since then, we’ve been working to build guidance for educators so they can follow the law and maintain their professional responsibilities while also creating a safe environment for students.”

Jennifer Barr, the teacher who runs City High’s GSA, has been advocating for students. She has seen first-hand how this new law is affecting students.
“I’ve had at least one student talk about being afraid to say their real name to teachers, and asked me to advocate for them. I had another student who came to our GSA after school and was like, ‘I’m free to be myself here, but I’m not free to be myself anywhere else.’ I worry about the pressure that students might feel if they keep going like this for a long period of time without being able to express themselves,” Barr said.
While lawmakers claim this new law is intended to prevent students from keeping secrets, they ignore the harm this brings to transgender students. Students are being forced to hide even in schools. What more will they have to be subjected to?

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Little Hawk
$1975
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Iowa City High School. For 2023, we are trying to update our video and photo studio, purchase new cameras and attend journalism conferences.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Isabella Young
Isabella Young, Opinion Co-Editor
"Shake it off"
Rosangel Flores-Rubio
Rosangel Flores-Rubio, Executive Editor
DALE
Donate to The Little Hawk
$1975
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Little Hawk Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *