Groups will rally in Cedar Rapids to support transgender kids, while Mike Pence campaigns at CR Pizza Ranch

Trans Kids Are Kids

Wednesday at 2:15 p.m., Ladd Library, 3750 Williams Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids

An attendee holds a sign reading, “Someone you know is trans, we are here!” at the Transgender Day of Visibility Rally at Public Space One’s Close House on Saturday, April 2, 2022. — Adria Carpenter/Little Village

A coalition of community organizations will hold a rally in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday in support of transgender students, as political attacks on those young people by state and national Republican leaders continue.

Multiple bills targeting transgender students, designed to restrict support schools and teachers can provide, and aiming to ban books touching on gender issues as well as related discussions, are currently advancing in the Iowa Legislature with the support of Gov. Kim Reynolds.

“Transgender students just want to go to school and learn in a supportive environment like any other students, but if these new bills pass they will be forced to worry about if their teachers will even correctly use their preferred names and pronouns, let alone if those teachers will be allowed to tell other students why they need to use that name and those pronouns,” Linn-Mar High School student Dani Kallas said in the statement announcing the rally.

Kallas is president of Spectrum, the school’s gay-straight student alliance. Joining Spectrum in the rally are the Advocates for Social Justice, CR Pride, Indivisible Cedar Rapids Metro, Marion Alliance for Racial Equity and Stonewall Democrats Linn County.

On July 11, 2018, LGBTQ Iowans and allies protested an event featuring then-Vice President Mike Pence at Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids. — Jav Ducker/Little Village

Wednesday’s rally is also serving as a protest against Mike Pence and his support for policies targeting transgender students in Iowa. The former vice president is scheduled to hold a rally with his organization Advancing American Freedom, which is supporting a lawsuit by conservatives seeking to prohibit Linn-Mar Community School District schools from continuing to offer confidential advice and support to transgender students, and respecting the student’s choice of name and pronouns.

The Associated Press reported last week that Pence and his group will be launching a campaign including “digital ads, rallies, canvassing and perhaps radio and television spots” in Iowa, promoting anti-transgender policies, in an attempt to appeal to Iowa conservatives before announcing a run for president.

It would seem Pence is less than confident about turnout for his rally in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday. Instead of holding it at one of the many event spaces available, Pence will meet with his supporters at the Pizza Ranch on Westdale Drive.

The rally in support of transgender students will be held at 2:15 p.m. outside the Ladd Library at 3750 Williams Blvd SW, about a tenth of a mile from Pence’s Pizza Ranch.