Aquatic Center

The Pella Aquatic Center as seen on Wednesday, June 30, 2021.

PELLA — Some local citizens have worked to form a new committee that will petition the Iowa legislature to repeal a portion of a 2007 Democratic law that included gender identity among Iowa's civil rights.

The group will be called Iowans for House File 272, in reference to a bill that was introduced by Rep. Dean Fisher that would remove gender identity from Iowa's civil rights legislation that was signed into law by Gov. Chet Culver in 2007.

The effort comes after a summer controversy that developed at the Pella pool when a transgender male used the men’s locker room at the Pella Aquatic Center in June. Many local citizens registered their dissatisfaction at a special city council meeting, and at other meetings afterward.

Among the issues the group took with the incident, and the city's handling, was a statement they felt prematurely closed the matter. A statement posted on the city's Facebook page shortly following the incident said, “The City of Pella has received concerns related to the swimming attire of a patron who recently visited the Pella Aquatic Center. The City has reviewed the matter with legal counsel and no further action will be taken. The City considers this matter concluded.”

Many parents have voiced concerns over the issue, including citing what they believe are potential dangers and harm to their children by what they deem indecent exposure.

The ‘matter,’ however, is not concluded according to Chairman Helena Hayes.

“Other incidents around the state have also occurred in Sioux Center, Jefferson, and other Iowa communities where other transgender exploit the civil rights law and indecently expose themselves in public," said Hayes. 

The group will circulate a petition in an attempt to draw concrete support for striking “Gender Identity” from the current civil rights law.

Pella Books located at 824 Franklin St., has made the petition available to review and sign. Anita Fischer is in contact with legislative officials and a recruiter for petition circulators around the state.

“We are looking or for hundreds of statewide volunteers who are willing to circulate petitions and collect signatures to preserve morals for the next generation,” Keith Hoksbergen said. 

“We expect to garner massive support and present it at the next legislative session in January 2022,” Fischer said.

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