The real obscenity is punching down on marginalized kids

On this Transgender Day of Remembrance, I should be writing about the 46 transgender or gender non-conforming people who have been killed in the United States so far in 2021—the most recorded in a single year. Most of those murder victims were people of color; young Black trans women are especially at risk.

Iowa Republicans didn’t speak out today for ensuring the safety or equality of trans or gender-nonconforming people. When GOP politicians acknowledge LGBTQ Iowans exist, it’s usually to portray them (and any attempt to accommodate them) as a threat to straight white Christians, whom Republicans value above all others.

Governor Kim Reynolds scored points with her base by scapegoating trans athletes in the spring. More recently, conservative politicians and their activist allies have demanded that high school libraries remove books that explore sexual themes, especially queer sexuality. They are also targeting books by authors of color that supposedly contain obscenity or portray some institutions in a negative way.

Iowa Senate President Jake Chapman announced this week that he is having legislation drafted “to create a new felony offense” in Iowa for educators who disseminate “what I believe to be obscene material.” Chapman promised his bill will have “additional mechanisms to force prosecutions or allow civil remedies.”

Continue Reading...

Iowa detains Black youth at highest national rate

No state in the country has placed a higher proportion of Black youth in juvenile facilities than Iowa, according to a new Sentencing Project analysis. The Black youth placement rate in Iowa was more than double the national average in 2019, and young African Americans in Iowa were nearly nine times as likely as their white peers to be committed to facilities such as “detention centers, residential treatment centers, group homes, and youth prisons.”

Josh Rovner was the lead author of Black Disparities in Youth Incarceration, which the Sentencing Project published on July 15. The two-page report included statistics on youth placement in Washington, DC and the 36 states where at least 8,000 residents are African Americans between the ages of 10 and 17.

Continue Reading...

Five things that are not "fairness"

Governor Kim Reynolds thrilled conservatives when she announced on Fox News last week that she wants to sign a bill banning transgender youth from competing on sports teams not matching their gender assigned at birth.

Defending the discriminatory policy during a news conference on May 5, Reynolds claimed five times that concerns about “fairness” are driving her commitment to address the issue.

This mean-spirited play to the GOP base has several dimensions. None of them are grounded in fairness.

Continue Reading...

Anti-LGBTQ bills are dead, but their message lives on

First in a series on where things stand after the Iowa legislature’s first “funnel” deadline.

State lawmakers set a depressing record this year for attempting to undermine the rights of LGBTQ Iowans.

Although all fifteen of those bills failed to meet a key legislative deadline last week, three had previously made it through Iowa Senate subcommittees. And none were condemned by Governor Kim Reynolds or GOP leaders in the House or Senate.

Until powerful Republicans disavow efforts to target the LGBTQ community, queer Iowans and particularly trans Iowans face the prospect of more attacks in the GOP-controlled legislature.

Continue Reading...

Tanner Halleran for Iowa Democratic Party vice chair

Bryce Smith chairs the Dallas County Democrats. promoted by Laura Belin

As a young Iowan, I got active in Democratic politics during the 2012 re-election of President Obama.  Obama inspired me, and to this day, I find joy and comfort in knowing my volunteerism within his campaign made a difference for so many across Iowa and the country.

I have remained active in Democratic politics since 2012, even running for the Iowa House in 2016. Although I came up short in that election, the campaign pushed me to become even more engaged in the Democratic Party. Since 2017, I have been humbled to be the chair of the Dallas County Democrats. I have found great joy in working with fellow Democrats from across the state to better our party, grow together, elect Democrats and fight the good fight.

Continue Reading...

Why Tanner Halleran is running for Iowa Democratic Party vice chair

Tanner Halleran is a college student, chair of the Keokuk County Democrats, and 2nd Vice Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party. -promoted by Laura Belin

About Me & My Political Background 

For those reading this post, I will personally know some of you and be unknown to others. I include this section to give you insight into my life—past & present—so that by the end, you can hopefully have a better sense of my character, my determination, and grit for/within this party.

Continue Reading...
View More...