Coralville mom captures the emotion of her teen’s gender transition with “He”

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“Basically, I am a gay mom who is also raising a 13-year-old trans guy. Being the parent of a trans kid is a unique experience, but seeing your child bloom into exactly the person they were meant to be is one of the most rewarding things any parent can witness. There are so many highs and lows, and it’s a massive learning curve. But I wouldn’t trade my guy for anyone.  “A lot of people have questions about parenting a trans kid and have a hard time imagining what they…

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Cedar Rapids models success of the ‘peaceful protest’

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The protests in 1,700-plus American communities since George Floyd’s May 25 murder have ranged from violent, to peaceful, to showy, to subdued. That includes the protests in Iowa. In Des Moines, clashes between police and demonstrators have been tense. In Iowa City, a mostly youthful protest group opted for more “in your face” tactics like shutting down interstates and marching to council members’ homes. The Quad Cities is dealing with deaths related to random violence that occurred after and near peaceful protest sites. Tiny towns like Fairfield, Washington, and West…

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Iowa Freedom Riders: Beyond the spray paint and marching

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Four nights of spray-painting and road-blocking throughout Iowa City, by a group now known as the Iowa Freedom Riders, has inspired the gamut of reactions: anger, support, frustration, sadness, and confusion. But protest leaders are now entering a new phase, which includes a detailed explanation of their demands for steps they believe local institutions should take to help end systemic racism. Read this column from Mandi Nichols, director of the Corridor Community Action Network, authorized by protest leaders to help educate the public on how the Freedom Riders’ requests are…

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UIHC staff nurse: We can say ‘protest better,’ or we can be better

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Not what I expected when I came into work at the hospital tonight. We are starting our night shift, when we learn that the movement many of us have thrown our complete (well, almost complete) support behind is outside vandalizing our building. We gathered for George Floyd, put out statements of solidarity, shared support on social media– I know nurses who even served as medics during Iowa City protests. We were confused, some of us angry. Many still are. Healthcare workers who otherwise are allies to the movement asking: “What…

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Coming out after age 40 today brings unique challenges

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Coming out is a long and individual process at any age. When you’re coming out after the age of 40, you have a unique set of challenges. You may have a history of being in a heterosexual marriage. You grew up and discovered your sexuality under oppressive policies like “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” or the “Defense of Marriage Act.” (which I’ll explain later for you younger readers). Older LGBTQ people of color have it the worst. They face discrimination both as a queer person and someone who isn’t white, and…

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A Positive Way to Set Start-of-Year Goals

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Thank god we’ve made it through another January. It’s my least favorite month, with December and February following closely behind. The snow. The long, dark months of cold. The post-holiday trauma from curt conversations with family. The influx of patrons overcrowding my local gym. And New Year’s resolutions. This time of year (and even into February), advertisements and social media bombard us with messages that we have to do better than we did last year. Most resolution messaging also focuses on weight loss and health — which leaves a bitter…

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Black History Month events in Iowa, Illinois, top TRM’s Best Bets

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Looking for ways to honor Black History Month? Here’s a rundown of events throughout Iowa and Illinois. You can also find our monthly Best Bets for progressive events in the areas of spirituality, spoken word, personal development, LGBTQ-oriented events, and women-focused events throughout February. This list is compiled by Cheryl Weatherford and Christine Hawes. Sat.– Sun. Feb. 8-9, Black Arts & Music Festival,  Artistic and cultural contributions of African and African American visual/performing artists. 10am-4:30pm, Ames Public Library, 515 Douglas Ave, Ames IA Sat., Feb. 8 and every Saturday through…

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ICE raids inspire new Mount Pleasant PFLAG

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MOUNT PLEASANT — The greatest inspiration for a new PFLAG chapter in Mount Pleasant, a town of less than 8,700, was not an LGBTQ-related incident. Bob Mueller, founder of Mount Pleasant PFLAG, says ICE raids that led to the arrest of 32 people in March 2018 inspired him. “Back in Illinois, the LGBTQ+ and immigrant rights groups often worked together as we had many of the same issues,” said Mueller, who moved to Mount Pleasant from Westmont, about 20 miles outside of Chicago. Mueller said he felt called to stand…

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Toxic masculinity can affect victims, too

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When I was a child, bullying was part of my existence. I had buck teeth and a stutter, making me a target for all kinds of bullies. I was called names, hit, kicked, spit on, etc. I had my possessions taken and destroyed. I dreaded going to school. As a sixth-grader, I remember playing shirts and skins basketball and noticing I had bruises going up and down my arms from being punched. I didn’t know it at the time, but a lot of kids – up to 77 percent of…

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