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Iowa Legislature seeing record volume of LGBTQ bills

Legislation trackers have identified over 350 bills involving the LGBTQ+ community filed nationwide.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Bills involving Iowa's LGBTQ community have been a hot topic at the legislature this session, but just how many are there? 

According to One Iowa, there's been a record-setting amount of bills proposed specifically impacting queer Iowans. But this is one case where the Hawkeye State isn't totally unique.

"If you just count bills introduced in one year, the record for that before this year was 15. Now we're at 20. So, this is absolutely record-breaking," said Keenan Crow, Director of Policy & Advocacy for One Iowa.

One of those bills, House File 348, bans discussions of gender identity in schools

House File 290 would prevent transgender Iowans from changing their gender marker on government documents like driver's licenses.

Erin Reed tracks LGBTQ legislation across all 50 states. During the current legislative session, she's identified over 350 of these bills.

"This recent explosion of anti-trans and anti-gay legislation seems to be targeting trans people and queer people in new and different ways than it ever has in the past," Reed said.

So how many Americans would be impacted by this legislation? According to Gallup, about 7% of people in the United States identified as LGBTQ in 2022. That's about 23 million people. And many of them are keeping a close eye on their statehouses.

"In states that propose and pass legislation, spikes for the word suicide appear immediately after that legislation is proposed and passed. These spikes go down wherever the bills are defeated, and so people are paying attention," Reed said.

Reed has been following legislatures for four years, and she's used to getting messages from worried LGBTQ people, but she told Local 5 that she still tries to stay hopeful.

"I feel their pain so strongly. And, you know, I hope that as many of them as possible can just hold on," she said.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, of the more than 300 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in the United States in 2022, over 91% failed to become law.

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