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It appears a few individuals in the hierarchy of Iowa 4-H are seeking to impose their personal values on thousands of adults and youth across the state.

As a 4-H parent and volunteer leader for more than 15 years, I and so many other 4-H volunteers are in an ethical quandary created by the state 4-H organization’s draft LGBT Inclusion Policy. It clearly requires 4-H volunteers to enforce standards which may be contrary to our personal convictions, and undermines and usurps the authority of parents of minor children. According to the document, volunteers are required to accept and support a child’s preferred gender, “… even if youth members’ own guardians raise objections or concerns.”

Consider the consequences that granting similar power to minor children could have on other situations in which 4-H leaders are charged with member safety. I could be held personally liable for the outcomes, yet the policy under consideration would require me to defy the authority of parents in their own children’s decisions of gender.

I also have an obligation to keep all members safe, which this policy does not support. No consideration is given to the anxiety and emotional anguish that will be created for young people who are forced to shower and sleep with youth of the opposite sex.

4-H is an organization that was founded on the virtues of wholesome activities and experiences; safety; and healthy lifestyles. A powerful few are doing their best to single-handedly destroy an Iowa cultural institution.

Maureen L. Hanson

La Porte City, Iowa