Memories of One Iowa’s “You Be You”

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When U of I grad James Year first took these photos in April 2019, TRM was running thousands of printed copies all around Iowa. We never got around to posting this stunning collection online. I knew we would return to celebrate them one day. And here we are, at a time in history when finally it feels like something other than torture to remind ourselves of the joy of gathering.

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All photos here are from James Year. You can find more of his work at jamesyear.com.

One Iowa’s “You Be You” show was groundbreaking in so many ways. It symbolized the potential of a connected eastern Iowa like never before, led by One Iowa’s “liaison” program that now reaches statewide. It was a celebration of gender and racial diversity, self-expression, and glamor outside of the “drag show” ambience that defines so many LGBTQ+ cultural experiences. The show featured more than a dozen community leaders from throughout eastern Iowa. Year has a style that is almost always layered and both “in your face” and filled with subtlety, transcending the line between capturing reality and consciously painting a picture. One Iowa, meanwhile, is more needed than ever now. This past year, One Iowa Action partnered with Iowa Safe Schools this year to raise the public’s awareness of 15 anti-LGBTQ bills, none of which made it into law. Week after week, One Iowa hosts virtual events addressing all kinds of community needs, seeking to appeal specifically to seniors, transgender people, youth, health care workers and more. Their work continues year after year; you can support One Iowa here.

Enjoy James Year”s special touch in these photos — ethereal, built around moments — and see some of Iowa’s key community and business leaders in a different light.

— Christine Hawes, Editor of TheRealMainStream.com

(Editors’ note: Apparel, make-up, hair and more by Revival Clothing StoreWhite Rabbit Iowa CityKulture Vaccine, RAYGUNshirts, Found+Formed, Clothworks, Zach Owens, K8E Official, and  Urban Vintage Hair Studio + Spa. Not pictured: Canishia Williams)

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