“Letter to Lori:” transgender man reaches back in time to former self

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Dear Lori, I know things are rough right now. I know that every day carries such an overwhelming feeling of dread and confusion. I know you’re afraid to go to school, that you feel sick every morning and think it’s hopeless, like it’s never going to stop hurting. I know it seems like the taunts will never stop, the things other students, even teachers, say to you. Things like “Amazon,” dyke, freak, linebacker, or lezzie. Like they’ll never stop asking you things like,  “Why can’t you just stop trying to…

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Surviving and thriving: a new family within the Leather family

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I have been to quite a few away-from-home events over the last couple of years and often have seen my Leather family posting about their “event drop.” But I’ve never really experienced it. I thought maybe I was broken, or maybe didn’t have my heart in it. Maybe that was why I was completely fine upon returning home from most events, ready to go with house duties, mom duties, work, and “let’s get it done.” This time is different, so very different. This time, I was helping kick off a…

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LGBTQ pride in one of the ‘Trumpiest’ counties in Iowa

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WHAT: Humboldt Diversity & Inclusion Pride Celebration WHERE: The VFW Hall in Dakota City, Ia., pop. 843, town seat of Humboldt County, pop, 4,753, and a county that voted 73 percent in favor of Donald Trump in the 2020 Presidential Election WHO: About 200 residents, mostly allies plus a handful of LGBTQ people. Coordinated by Mark Henderson, John Grause, and Humboldt County Pride and LGBTQ Awareness. WHEN: June 25, 2021 PHOTOS BY: TRM Team

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REMINISCENCE: An I.C. Kings Photo Gallery, courtesy of Hugh Jindapants

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Amanda Green (aka Hugh Jindapants) helped co-found the I.C. Kings of Iowa City 10 years ago. Here, their decade of performing as Jindapants — a crass, showy, sneering display of toxic masculinity — is captured along with several highlight group shots of the I.C. Kings. Enjoy this stroll through the memories — then check out Green’s tribute to the groundbreaking drag king troupe, where they reminisced, shared some joy and pain, and encouraged fellow drag performers to use their voice to support social justice in the way their character and…

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Happy headspace, with or without a handler, is the heart of human pet play

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I have a pet. A Pup. His name is Pup Who, and I adore him. I’m not talking about a normal pet, like you might have. Though I also own the kinds of pets YOU might own (cats and dogs), I’m talking here about the pets in my kink and Leather world. I’m talking about human pets. Like your pets, they are beautiful, loving creatures. They want to play, to be stroked, to cuddle, to be mischievous, to be kept safe. They are loyal and often full of service for…

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The mind behind drag king Hugh Jindapants on the I.C. Kings’ legacy of gender-bending service (GUEST COLUMN)

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It’s the end of June — but something feels, off. This Pride month is different, and many of the spaces — physical, emotional, spiritual — have been drastically altered.  We’ve felt the loss of live performances and underground glimpses of poignant art.  Instead, we’ve found a grieving for the face-to-face conversations yelled across a loud, dark room thumping with bass … and this looming sense of unarticulated loss, or of being lost.  It’s weird to even be a person right now.  I’ve forgotten how to be comfortable chatting in groups,…

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From minor league baseball, to allies, to the word ‘uprising:’ unsung heroes of Pride (TRM Blog)

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Tomorrow, you’ll read a column here from and about two icons of LGBTQ+ culture in the Midwest: the I.C. Kings of Iowa City, and one of their co-founders, the artist formerly known as Hugh Jindapants. Today 52 years ago — about right now, actually, in the wee hours of June 28 as I write this column — is the actual anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. At somewhere around 1:30 a.m. in New York City, on June 28, 1969, police launched the surprise raid on the Stonewall Inn that triggered the…

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New “Long Live Community!” showcases events, performers, audiences and organizers

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What’s a great way to honor and inspire community? Showing other communities in action! Long Live Community! is The Real Mainstream‘s new section devoted to pics and videos of intersectional, LGBTQ-affirming and progressive community events across Iowa and Illinois. Our first photo packages are from Davenport, Iowa City and Sioux City in Iowa, and Belleville, Buffalo Grove and Moline in Illinois. Take a peek at the event of your pick: In this new feature, you can submit pics and video of events you attended. You can submit pics and video…

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Quad Cities Community Happenings (NEW: Long Live Community!)

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WHAT: Michelle Nixon Memorial Scholarship Brunch WHERE: Mary’s on 2nd, Davenport, IA WHEN: June 5, 2021 WHO: Community members, plus friends and family members of Michelle Nixon, honoring her for her community service as a member of the Metropolitan Community Church of the Quad Cities and Quad Cities Pride Festivals. The event raised more than $5,000. PHOTOS BY: The Real Mainstream Team WHAT: OUTDOOR SERVICE AT METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CHURCH OF THE QUAD CITIES WHERE: Davenport, IA WHEN: Late April, 2021 WHO: Members of MCC of the QC, which is Iowa’s…

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