Senator Chuck Grassley sits in the Senate.

Iowa, What Are You Doing? A K-12 ‘Don’t Say Trans’ Bill While Also Loosening Child-Labor Laws?

Iowa? What are you holding behind your back?

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Don’t get smart with me Iowa. I saw you pick something up and put it behind your back. You’re gonna march on over here and show it to me on the count of three.

One.

Two.

Good. Now what is this crumpled-up piece of paper? And why does it smell like Mitch McConnell’s aftershave?

IOWA. IS THIS ANOTHER DON’T SAY GAY BILL? IT IS, ISN’T IT? DON’T YOU LIE TO ME.

Iowa, I’ve had it with you. You’ve been spending far too much time around Florida lately. She is not a good influence on you. Why can’t you hang out with one of the nice states? Like Vermont? She’s been spending all of her time making Bernie Sanders teddy bear mittens and giving the proceeds to children’s charities. I think you two could be friends.

Now forget all about this nasty little bill and go play outside, I’m just going to throw it in the trash.

Iowa … what’s that in your back pocket?

Iowa is that a bill that LOOSENS RESTRICTIONS ON CHILD LABOR LAWS?

GET BACK HERE RIGHT NOW. I AM GOING TO WASH YOUR MOUTH OUT WITH SOAP.

Iowa, be honest, whose idea was this horrible ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill?

I want you to rat them out Iowa. They’re not good people. They aren’t your friends. Who put you up to this?

The Republicans in the Senate? I should have known. I’m going to have a very candid conversation with their parents.

Alright Iowa, I just got off the phone with the moms and dads of the Senate Republicans. They told me that this bill would prohibit teachers from discussing gender identity with children from grades K through 8. What was the exact phrasing one of the supporters said? Oh yes, it was…

“As a Christian family, our belief is that God created man and woman. The Bible is the only history my family needs when discussing God’s creation … The opposition will try to portray us as being anti-LGBTQ, but that simply is not true. I just want to be able to discuss these matters at home with my children in the way that I see fit, as it is my God-given right to do.”

Now that doesn’t sound very much like separation between church and state, does it Iowa?

It also doesn’t sound very Christian either. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Isn’t that what Jesus said? Well, how would you feel if you were a transgender kid and your teacher couldn’t address your needs without risking termination or arrest? I don’t think you’d like that very much now would you? Besides, we already teach “gender identity” to children, even in conservative Christian schools. If you were to tell a second-grade boy to use the boy’s bathroom and not the girl’s bathroom, you would be teaching him to act according to his gender identity. With this bill, Republicans aren’t “protecting children” from discussions of gender identity, they’re simply ensuring that no one is having the “wrong kind” of discussions on gender identity. And that, Iowa, is a load of malarkey.

And loosening child labor laws, Iowa? How is that protecting children?

I’m sure those Republican Senators made you think that they have children’s best interests at heart. But if that’s the case, why did they give you this other deplorable bill? If this bill were to pass, children as young as 14 would be allowed to work in previously prohibited jobs like logging, mining, and animal slaughtering. MINING, Iowa? Do Republicans really want to make miners out of minors? Mining was one of the main reasons why child labor laws exist in the first place! It’s dangerous! Mines blow up! People get horrible lung diseases! Children were historically used to crawl into tight spaces that they sometimes couldn’t get out of! Iowa what are you THINKING?

And where else does this bill say children will be allowed to work? Be honest, Iowa. I promise I won’t get mad.

INDUSTRIAL FREEZERS AND MEAT COOLERS? IOWA, I PROMISED I WOULDN’T GET MAD BUT I AM STRUGGLING RIGHT NOW. WHAT ELSE ARE THEY GOING TO BE ABLE DO? OPERATE HEAVY MACHINERY? USE CIRCULAR SAWS?

WAIT, THEY’LL BE ABLE TO DO THAT TOO!? IOWA I WAS BEING SARCASTIC. NOW I’M HYPERVENTILATING. I NEED TO CALL THOSE REPUBLICANS BACK AND GIVE THEM A PIECE OF MY MIND.

Iowa I just got a Twitter notification … This tweet says that this bill would also allow children as young as 14 and a half to drive themselves to work … I don’t need to explain to you the myriad reasons why that is a terrible idea, do I? Good.

Also, I see here that this bill would additionally prevent businesses from being liable if a minor injures themselves on the job. No Iowa, I’m not angry anymore. I’m simply stunned into catatonic shock.

You do realize that these bills were all enacted in an era where children often lost life and limb on the job, right? Do you want to go back to that era? Because I don’t.

Iowa, you need to get your priorities straight.

Listen Iowa, there are plenty of other adjustments that you could make to your labor laws. Why not raise the minimum wage? Why not use your money to create a social safety net? Why tamper with child labor laws? No good will come of this.

You say that you want to “protect children,” but you need to protect them from things that can actually hurt them. Discussing gender identity in a classroom environment isn’t going to hurt a child. Getting an arm ripped off by heavy machinery definitely will. Why do you insist on listening to a party that wants to turn America’s future back into America’s past? Oppressive, exploitative, narrow-minded. Is that what you want for America, Iowa? Because if you do, I am going to march down to your friend Florida’s house and give her a real piece of my mind. Then I’ll be back for you.

(featured image: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)


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Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.