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Trying to figure out which events to attend throughout two states can be overwhelming and complicated — especially if you are LGBTQ+. We’ve found a way to make it a lot easier — 10 ways, actually.

The Real Mainstream‘s 10 new themed calendars help you find just what you want, and where you want it.

Wherever you live in Iowa or Illinois, and whatever type of event you’re looking for, these new calendars along with our filters help you sort through all the events asking for your attention.

Here’s a quick rundown:

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The upcoming Pride Paddle, an outdoor social and fundraising event by and for Clock Inc. LGBT+ Community Center in the Quad Cities, appears on five of The Real Mainstream’s 10 new themed calendars.

You can still refer to our familiar, massive Comprehensive Calendar to find all of these events in one place. And all 10 themed calendars are available to you on every single calendar page.

In addition, all of our calendars are filterable with 11 different criteria that enable you to narrow your search based on category or topic; region of either state; activities and arts elements to be featured; intended audience; conditions of the event; details like food and drink; admission requirements or recommendations; and time of day.

Here’s some of the new information, most of it currently relevant to LGBTQ communities throughout Iowa and Illinois, that you’ll find in these expanded, themed calendars:

  • events and gatherings for people interested in kink, Leather and BDSM, most of which are coming in September. This list includes two upcoming Iowa Leather Weekend events at The Blazing Saddle in Des Moines. Use the Kink and Leather filter (Topic), or look at the Hobbies and Passions calendar.
  • the latest on a new wave of Pride events coming, with the start of Cedar Valley PrideFest Aug. 27 and 28 in Waterloo, the Quad Cities Fall Pride Sept. 10-11, and several October Pride events in Belleville and Chicago in Illinois, and in Iowa City and Orange City in Iowa. Use the Pride Season filter (Event Category), or find these events sprinkled among Special Events, Social Events, and Arts & Entertainment.
  • support groups for almost every identity in the LGBTQ+ spectrum, including numerous online groups from the Brave Space Alliance in Chicago; in-person gatherings for teens and adults by Clock Inc., in Rock Island; gatherings for youth and adults by the Multicultural Family Center in Dubuque; teen opportunities from United Action for Youth in Iowa City; and an array of supportive events in Illinois communities including Bloomington/Normal, Champaign/Urbana, and Springfield. You can find all Support Groups for any age or identity on the Support Groups Calendar.
  • increased listings from LGBTQ+ nightclubs including Varieties Nightclub and Mary’s on 2nd in Davenport, and Studio 13 and the Iowa City Yacht Club in Iowa City , and the Kings and Queens Club in Waterloo. These events will always be found on the Social Calendar and often appear under Arts & Entertainment or Hobbies & Passions, too.
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Though most of the events on The Real Mainstream’s calendars are focused on intersectional LGBTQ+ events, the calendar is gradually featuring more events geared toward BIPOC people, including the upcoming Dubuque Latinx Fiesta Oct. 2.

We’ll soon be bolstering our listings of events geared toward Blacks, indigenous people, Hispanic/Latino people, People of Color, women, and people with disabilities.


Entertainers and community organizers work hard year-round to plan, produce and carry out events. Our new calendars and filters, plus all the work we invest every day year-round to curate and share this information, are part of our renewed commitment. They’re all part of our Mission to inspire productive discussions and historic actions throughout Iowa and Illinois on behalf of marginalized communities.

Please enjoy these calendars — and if you’re a group or organizer or entertainer putting on an event, share it with us here through this convenient link.