This morning, Iowa Starting Line and Bleeding Heartland released articles detailing the contents of a television ad campaign opposing Phil Miller, Democratic candidate in the special election for House District 82. As Fairfield Community School District school board president, Miller voted to approve guidelines allowing transgender students to use bathroom and locker room facilities that match their gender identity. These guidelines are in accordance with the Iowa Civil Rights Act and a 2015 Iowa Department of Education guidance that says students “cannot be forced to use a bathroom for which they do not identify.”
The ad in question refers to Miller’s decision as “poor judgment” and the guidelines as “out of touch liberal policies”. Harris for Iowa and Republican Party of Iowa began running the ad in mid-July according to Iowa Starting Line, approximately one month after a transgender Fairfield teen died by suicide.
One Iowa Action Executive Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel issued a statement condemning the ad campaign.
“The fear-mongering tactics used in this ad campaign are not just unacceptable, but dangerous as well. The ad relies on harmful and untrue stereotypes about the transgender community, targeting young students in particular, and scapegoats them for political gain.”
“By creating and publicizing this ad, Harris for Iowa and the Republican Party of Iowa are recklessly fueling rhetoric that contributes to harassment and violence that transgender people face. This malicious ad should be pulled from the airwaves immediately, and Harris for Iowa and the Republican Party of Iowa should publicly apologize for their blatant disregard of transgender Iowans’ lives and safety.”