Why newspapers matter

The suspicion of media among LGBTQ people and people of color runs deep. So deep, that even a lesbian reporter writing a supportive piece about the LGBTQ community, for an LGBTQ-identified paper or column, can find herself getting verbally slapped in the face. When you’re trying to write regularly about both LGBTQ issues and those relevant to people of color, it can feel like a minefield. Case in point: I once wrote about an endeavor to bring a transgender health conference to Iowa City. With the death toll against transgender…

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‘Kinky Boots’ enlightens

ROCK ISLAND – Brett Hitchcock calls it one of the “edgiest” shows the Circa 21 Dinner Playhouse has ever put on in its 43-year history, comparable only to “The Full Monty.” “Kinky Boots,” the award-winning creation of Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein, is on stage four to five shows weekly through March 14. The story features a quartet of drag queens who join to support their leader, Lola, as she helps a shoe designer create a line of erotic footwear to save his factory. “The message of the show is…

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The Project aims for health equity in the Quad Cities

QUAD CITIES – During a recent visit to a local shelter for people experiencing homelessness, staff members of The Project of the Quad Cities (TPQC) encountered a person who tested positive for HIV. Within days, TPQC diagnosed and treated the client, said Tomika Abram, case management program manager. The Project also helped the person sign up for insurance and find a home. “If we couldn’t meet people where they are, this would not have happened,” she says. That philosophy, of meeting people where they are, is at the heart of…

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

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

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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To step into your writer self, read your own story

I constantly have conversations with people who commend me for being a writer and within the same breath, assure me that they could never be one. Here’s a story about one of those people. A student of mine, we’ll call her June, regularly attends the weekly IC Speaks workshops at her school, and it’s undeniable–nearly contagious–how excited she is about writing and performing.  One week, she brought a friend (or more accurately, dragged her friend) into the workshop by the wrist, amidst groans and protests.  When I asked our visitor…

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More hate fliers hit Quad Cities

QUAD CITIES – Hate fliers continue to appear on posts and wrapped around freely distributed newspapers in Iowa City and throughout the Quad Cities. Iowa City has been hit at least four times in the past year with fliers that either encourage people to report their neighbors to ICE, or that reference “white babies.” In the Quad Cities, newspapers including this one and Little Village Magazine have been used as transmission devices to carry hateful flier, which are wrapped around the papers and thrown in people’s yards. Shopper inserts in…

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Escaping domestic violence when LGBTQ can be complicated

QUAD CITIES — If you’re a gay man trying to escape from domestic violence, your path out can seem almost impossible. “The police may not understand,” says Mona Ritemon, the new LGBTQ domestic violence advocate for the Quad Cities. “If a man gets beat up by his boyfriend, they may just look at him and say, ‘Man up. What’s the problem?’ “ Or what if you’re a lesbian who realizes you’re being abused by your partner? Sometimes, threats of outing you to your family, co-workers or church may lead you…

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Proteus celebrates 40 years serving migrant workers

DES MOINES — Proteus, a Des Moines-based nonprofit that helps immigrant farmworkers find support to live safely and securely, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Named after the Greek God that transforms to the needs of the people, Proteus focuses on Iowa’s migrant farmworkers, many of whom work sunup ‘til sundown and are therefore rarely seen in their greater communities. The nonprofit estimates it has served 75,000 people since 1979. “Working with the clients and patients we do, these are the most hardworking and grateful individuals I have ever…

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One Human Family offers brochures on tracking, reporting hate

QUAD CITIES – A Quad-Cities collaboration between a Christian Church and a synagogue is encouraging Quad-Cities residents to make use of new brochures that guide people on how to respond to hate incidents. One Human Family QCA has introduced a tri-fold that: • Defines hate crimes • Defines hate incidents • Guides people on how and where to report both hate crimes and hate incidents • Connects readers with other resources to understand hate speech and replace it with unity “It is ‘hard times’ for a lot of people in…

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