oneiowa

LGBTQ lives cannot be compromised

One Iowa Action: “We should not be encouraging half-measures and disparate treatment of our fellow Iowans.” -promoted by Laura Belin

Des Moines Register Opinion Editor Kathie Obradovich’s recent column sets out a laudable goal; protecting both religious liberty and the LGBTQ community (What if Iowa could protect both religious freedom and LGBTQ rights?).

Unfortunately, the substance of the piece misses the mark by pulling from erroneous source material that equates Utah and Iowa, two states with very different legal and political landscapes. In doing so Obradovich implies, perhaps unintentionally, that LGBTQ Iowans need to start from a place of compromise when their rights and freedoms are threatened.

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Reflecting on Donna Red Wing's legacy

On April 16, members of the LGBTQ community lost one of our most passionate and impactful trailblazers. Donna Red Wing passed away after a courageous battle with lung cancer on that day.

Donna’s legacy of service for the LGBTQ community is unparalleled. She was a national leader in the fight for LGBTQ equality, dedicating over three decades of her life to advocating for our community. Over the years, she held leadership roles at organizations like Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, the Gill Foundation, Interfaith Alliance, and others. While directing the Lesbian Community Project in Oregon, she was featured in a Sundance Award-winning film about the 1992 struggle (and victory) against Ballot Measure 9, a proposed amendment to Oregon’s constitution that, among other things, compelled public schools to teach youth that being LGBTQ is “abnormal, wrong, unnatural and perverse”. She also advised both President Barack Obama and Howard Dean on LGBTQ issues.

Donna moved to Iowa in 2012 to begin her tenure as One Iowa’s executive director. Despite living here for a relatively short time, she made an enormously positive impact in the fight for LGBTQ equality in our state. In addition to leading One Iowa for four years, she launched an LGBT Advisory Council while serving as a Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commissioner and briefly served as director of the Eychaner Foundation during her time in Iowa. The Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission recently renamed their Lifetime Achievement award after her to honor her extraordinary work championing equality for all in our state.

Over the past few weeks, One Iowa staff who worked with Donna during her time with our organization have been reflecting on our work with her, the enormous impact she had on our community, and our personal connection with her. We’d like to share some of those reflections with you:

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Difficulty and danger for transgender Iowa voters

One Iowa explains why the Republican voter ID bill would threaten voting rights for transgender Iowans. -promoted by desmoinesdem

House File 516, a bill that will make photo identification a requirement for voters at the polls, is on the Iowa House floor for debate today. This bill may seem innocuous on the surface, but in fact disenfranchises many Iowa voters like people of color, people with disabilities, elderly people, and many others in the name of solving a problem (supposed voter fraud) that does not exist. Many of those people are also part of the LGBTQ community, and at One Iowa, we’re appalled that this bill would make it more difficult for them to take part in our democracy and exercise their right to vote.

Another group of voters who will face unique challenges because of this policy are transgender Iowans. Requiring a photo ID at the polls will cultivate an environment that will not only make it difficult for many transgender Iowans to vote, but potentially dangerous as well.

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Iowa’s Outdated Medicaid Ban Fails Transgender Iowans

Thanks to One Iowa executive director Donna Red Wing for explaining a little-known problem for transgender Iowans. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Amerigroup, one of Iowa’s private Medicaid providers, agreed last month to cover gender-affirming surgery for Andrew Evans, a transgender Iowa man and client of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

While we are happy Evans will receive the surgery he needs, we realize that it means only one thing: Evans’ surgery will be covered. The Medicaid provider refused to acknowledge the medical necessity of the surgery, instead agreeing to coverage in order to “amicably resolve” the situation. In plain English, they didn’t want to tangle with the ACLU.

Exclusions for transgender surgery and other trans-related health care continue. Iowa’s Medicaid ban on transition-related surgeries remains.

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America Needs Lesbian Farmers

Donna Red Wing, executive director of the advocacy group One Iowa, explains what really happened at the recent LGBT Rural Summit in Des Moines. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Rush Limbaugh is all a-twitter about what he describes as an invasion of lesbian farmers. His conspiracy theory includes imagined government payments designed to recruit lesbians to leave urban America and flood ‘red’ states to farm.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Of all of the events in the LGBT Rural Summit Series since it began in June 2014, it was our 2016 event in Iowa, the 15th in the series, that really ticked him off. Why Iowa? Why our event?

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