One Iowa Action recognizes that transgender Iowans are particularly vulnerable to discrimination and harmful policies. We prioritize the policy needs of transgender Iowans.

Hate Crimes

Under Iowa’s current hate crimes law, gender identity and gender expression are not protected classes. This means if someone commits a crime against a transgender person because they are transgender, they cannot be charged with a hate crime on a state level.

More than one in four transgender individuals will be targeted by bias-driven assault in their lifetime, and that number is even higher for transgender women and transgender people of color. In 2017, more deaths were traced to transphobic violence in the United States than any other year in at least a decade.

The lack of protection for transgender Iowans under the law is unacceptable.One Iowa Action aims to add gender identity and gender expression as protected classes to Iowa’s hate crimes law.

Voter ID

Iowa passed a voter ID law last year that requires voters to present approved identity documents at the polls. The new law also includes language specifying that a voter can be challenged at the poll if they don’t resemble the photo on their identity document.

Eighty-one percent of transgender Iowans reported not having identity documents that match their name and gender according to a 2015 survey from the National Center for Transgender Equality. By requiring these documents, the new voter ID law could subject transgender Iowans to undue scrutiny and potential discrimination from poll workers.

One Iowa Action advocates for the repeal of this law. In the meantime, we are monitoring the implementation of new voter ID rules.


So-called “conversion therapy” is a dangerous, discredited practice aimed at changing a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation. It is most commonly aimed at young people.

This fraudulent practice uses rejection, shame, and psychological abuse to force a young person to try to change who they are. This can lead to depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, and even suicide. The nation’s leading mental health associations including the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and many others have issued position statements warning about the dangers of conversion therapy.

One Iowa Action aims to ban conversion therapy for minors in our state.


Both sexual orientation and gender identity are protected classes under the Iowa Civil Rights Act. This means LGBTQ people are legally protected from discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodation, education, and credit practices.

Iowa is one of less than half of the states in this country with comprehensive anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. We are very proud of this fact; everyone deserves equal protection under the law.

One Iowa Action aims to defend the Iowa Civil Rights Act from any efforts to dilute or alter its protections. The law should apply to everyone, and citizens should not be able to pick and choose which laws to follow.


Healthcare Access

LGBTQ Iowans, particularly transgender Iowans, experience health disparities due to the system’s unequal treatment of people with minority sexual orientation and gender identities. For example, 23 percent of transgender Iowans responding to a National Center for Transgender Equality survey experienced a problem with their insurance related to their transgender status, such as being denied coverage for care. 35 percent of respondents to the same survey said they have not seen a doctor when they needed to in the past year because they could not afford it.

One Iowa aims to improve LGBTQ Iowans’ health outcomes by eliminating barriers in our state’s healthcare system.

Syringe Exchange

Syringe exchange programs provide access to sterile syringes and other sterile injection equipment free of cost, facilitate safe disposal of used needles and syringes, and provide wrap-around public health services in a community-based environment for people who use drugs.

These programs are an effective component of a comprehensive, integrated approach to HIV and hepatitis prevention. In November 2017, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) declared that Iowa is at risk of an HIV outbreak if legislators do not move quickly to legalize these programs.

As part of our commitment to HIV prevention, One Iowa Action aims to legalize syringe exchange programs in our state.

To learn more about syringe exchange programs (also called needle exchange or syringe service programs), visit the Iowa Harm Reduction Coalition’s website here.


Stop Taxpayer-Funded Discrimination

In 2018, One Iowa Action analyzed the policies of Iowa’s K-12 private schools, and found that 45 percent of these schools have policies that explicitly discriminate or reserve the right to discriminate against LGBTQ students, staff, and families.

97 percent of Iowa’s private K-12 schools are religiously affiliated, and these schools have the right to conduct business according to their beliefs. However, they cannot receive taxpayer dollars (e.g. voucher programs) and continue to be allowed to discriminate.

One Iowa Action is committed to stopping taxpayer-funded discrimination in Iowa schools.

Comprehensive Sex Education

Well-designed and well-implemented sex education reduces risky behavior for youth and helps reduce teen pregnancy and STI rates. In order for LGBTQ youth to experience the benefits of sex education programs, their identities and experiences must be included in the curriculum.

Iowa’s sex education programming must ensure all students, including LGBTQ students, receive the information they need to stay safe and healthy. One Iowa Action is committed to ensuring all students receive inclusive and comprehensive sex education.


A fair and independent judicial system is necessary for a functioning democracy and plays a particularly important role in securing equality under the law for the LGBTQ community. When state and federal legislators pass discriminatory laws, the courts are often the last resort in protecting LGBTQ rights.

The Iowa Supreme Court struck down a discriminatory statute in favor of statewide marriage equality in 2009, and the U.S. Supreme Court struck down similar laws on the national stage in 2015, leading to nationwide marriage equality.

One Iowa Action aims to ensure that our courts are diverse, fair, and impartial so that they continue to uphold the inalienable rights of all Iowans.