You can’t be punished for being who you are
In June 2020, the United States Supreme Court recognized in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, 2020 WL 3146686 (U.S. June 15, 2020), that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects individuals from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Learn more here.
Iowa was ahead of the rest of the country when it came to LGBTQ rights. Since July 1, 2007, it has been illegal in Iowa to discriminate against someone in employment (as well as education, public accommodations, credit, and housing) on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Harassment based on either protected class is also illegal.
This does not give employees who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, queer, or anything in between “special rights.” The law protects all people—including straight people—from being harassed or discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.
Gender identity is the personal sense of one’s own gender, which can be the same as the individual’s assigned sex at birth or different. It is the inner concept of who you feel you are, which can be male, female, both, neither, or fluid (meaning, it changes). It is not the same thing as sexual orientation; however, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against an individual on either basis.