Protecting LGBTQ youth in 4-H

This petition made change with 1,176 supporters!

We request that the Iowa Civil Rights Commission investigate whether Iowa 4-H and Iowa State University Extension have created a hostile climate against LGBTQ individuals (including youth, volunteers and staff) and if they are fully compliant with Iowa Civil Rights Law which expressly protects LGBTQ persons from discrimination.

Over the last few months several news articles (Including the Des Moines Register, NPR, the Daily Beast, Slate and USA Today) have uncovered a pattern of exclusion against LGBTQ youth and adults in Iowa’s 4-H program, which is part of Iowa State University Extension. After receiving pressure from the Trump Administration, Iowa State University Extension rolled back protections for LGBTQ youth in the Iowa 4-H program, when the Iowa 4-H Executive Director resisted they fired him.  

Iowa State’s public response has been to roll back LGBTQ protections because they were “controversial” and because they did not allow individuals (especially donors and elected officials)  to discriminate when they felt "uncomfortable".

As reported by the Iowa State Statesman (Iowa State University student newspaper), John Lawrence, Vice President Iowa State University Extension stated -- “In my opinion, I think the policy was controversial because it got into details about pronouns and bathrooms and just because someone doesn’t like it they can’t do anything about it,

We are most concerned about the new “accommodation” requirement (which frames beeing LGBTQ as a disability) where Iowa 4-H mandates that only an adult parent or volunteer can request an accommodation. This step in the new 4-H policy will exclude youth from using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity without parental consent and approval by the County Extension Office and Iowa State. In simple words they must disclose their status as LGBTQ before they ask to  use the toilet.


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