WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL)- Several dozen students at Waterloo West High School walked out of class on Thursday afternoon, protesting a law recently passed by the state banning transgender athletes.
Governor Kim Reynolds signed the bill into law on March 3. It requires student-athletes to compete under the sex assigned to them at birth.
The law took effect immediately, and Iowa is now one of 12 states to limit transgender girls' participation in sports. It includes college and university athletes as well as k-12 student-athletes.
The signed bill states, "only female students, based on their sex may participate in any team, sport or athletic event designed as being for females, women, or girls."
Republican lawmakers and supporters of the law argue preventing transgender girls from competing in girls' sports is a fairness issue. Reynolds said allowing biological girls and transgender girls to compete together takes away opportunities from biological girls.
During the roughly 30 minute walkout, some students shared their experiences. Others spoke out against the law and said it is harmful to young transgender women and deepens discrimination against them.
"I feel like the transgender bill shouldn't be a thing," Waterloo West Senior Sandi Hasanagic said. "I feel like every person, or human being should have the equal right to play with others, and we shouldn't put people in their own section just because like they're, you know, transgender."
The walkout coincided with International Transgender Visibility Day on Thursday. The annual day celebrates transgender people and raises awareness of the discrimination they face.