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October Events

Alphabet Soup: LGBTQ+ Adult Support Group Every Tuesday from 6-8pm, Multicultural Center

RuPaul’s All Star Drag Race Thursday Oct. 13, 6-9pm, Fife’s Bar

LGBTQ+ All Ages Game Night! Thursday Oct. 13, 6-8pm, The Smokestack

Walk to Set Free Saturday Oct. 15, 10am-12pm, Roshek Building

Detox & Ivy Winters from RuPaul’s Drag Race Saturday Oct. 15, 9pm-2am, Studio 13, Iowa City

Co-zy Movie Night Wednesday Oct. 19, 6:30-9pm, Inspire Cafe

Halloween Spook Saturday Oct. 22, 4pm-2am, The Smokestack

New Orleans LGBTQ+ Halloween Trip Wednesday Oct. 26-Wednesday Nov. 2, New Orleans, LA

02 Oct. 2016

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Co-ZINE is a monthly, online publication that CALL FOR WRITERS AND ARTISTS is published by Co Dubuque. The publication is on codbq.org. Anything published in Co-ZINE We consider submissions from is a reflection of the authors, not the views and members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies. policies of Co Dubuque and its staff. Any ad- • Articles vertisements involving products or services are • Personal Experiences not investigated by Co Dubuque. Co Dubuque • Opinion Pieces • Photography/Art does not claim responsibility for the products • Journalism • …and more! or services. All material is copyrighted © 2016 Co Dubuque. All rights reserved.

Headquarters

Co Dubuque 1900 John F Kennedy Rd, Dubuque, IA 52002

President

Luis Morteo

Vice President Cindy Lewis

Photography LAW-Photo

Marketing

Luis Morteo Cindy Lewis

Secretary

Darren Oakes

03 Oct. 2016

Submit to codubuque.cozine@ gmail.com Applicants will be notified of acceptance by October 19, 2016.

Editor

Volume 1 #1

Travis Nelson Andrea Becker

Journalist

Leonard Ballosh Andrea Becker

Volunteers Andie Donnan Antonio Pirillo Ceasar Valdez Shane Norton Lenny Benhke Aaliah Fondell Indigo Channing Tori McGrath

Co Dubuque 4. Where do you Co? 8. Resources Unite. 9. Far From Home. 14. New to DBQ. 15. Literature. 16. Zodiacs. 19. Let’s talk about

STD’s and STI’s. 22. V.P. Cindy Lewis 23. Gay-Straight Alliance. 25. One Boy’s Journey to the outside. 26. Dungeons & Dragons. COntact Co 28. Conversion Therapy. codubuque.cozine@gmail. 30. Luis’ Closing Remarks. com

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Photo Credit LAW-Photo

Luis Morteo

Where do you Co?

It began when I moved back to Dubuque, Iowa. I had “kidnapped” my partner from LA and transplanted him to Iowa. We had just finished traveling across the country, working for an entertainment company that puts on live shows all across the world. Dubuque is my hometown; I moved back here to help my sister by nannying and homeschooling my niece. I also wanted to help my mother renovate and remodel her house so it could be put on the market. I didn’t plan on being involved with anything or anyone other than my family. My partner, Lawrence, began working at one of our local coffee shops and saw a group of LGBTQ+ individuals gathered there for a game night. He asked them about it and met Cindy Lewis. She told him that it was an LGBTQ+ game night held by Dubuque’s LGBTQIA Social Group, and invited him to the first Alphabet Soup support group meeting at the Multicultural Family Center. Lawrence was excited when he came home and invited me to join him. I honestly did not want to go and told him so many times. I had had a frantic week and I know what support groups are, so I resisted. I did not feel

04 Oct. 2016

that at that moment I needed any support. I was happy, healthy and busy juggling multiple jobs, while also nannying and homeschooling my niece. I didn’t want supports, I wanted more caffeine. He told me that it was extremely important to him to be involved with the LGBTQ+ community and begged that I attend, so I gave in and decided to go. It was everything I anticipated it would be. Lawrence had also invited a lesbian couple he’d met to join. A group of nine or so individuals attended... many meeting for the first time. We had met new people before, and as it generally happens in support groups, we each took turns introducing ourselves. Meetings were designed with a one hour sharing segment, a brief break, and a one hour positive feedback segment. It was, and still is an amazing thing for a community to have. It’s very important work and valuable to anyone who is in need of support within their community. As we made our way back home, Lawrence told me he thought it was an LGBTQ+ group meeting, where individuals discuss issues and the LGBTQ+ community. He had never been to a support group and didn’t realize how

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deep and real they conversations could be. Not much later, Cindy Lewis invited us out and we also met with the lesbian couple. We had some drinks and began to chat. Lawrence asked Cindy, “So where is the LGBTQ+ community here?” I laughed and did a double take… and then realized I should probably answer his question. “Oh, you’re serious? There really isn’t one .” Cindy agreed. I recalled what I knew to them, “Dubuque used to have a great community that was able to come together when the bar One Flite Up was open. Once it closed, the LGBTQ+ community scattered. There were multiple, different attempts to reconnect the community, and many efforts were put forward, but it hadn’t been successful. “Because of collaborative efforts of personalities, the groups split up creating new groups and so the cycle continued. I had been away for five years however, my family lives here so I had always been back and kept up-to-date with where the community stood. “I know a great deal of the people who were part of these groups, and I’ve always kept up-to-date with feuds and happenings. It’s just sad that the community has been scattered.” Another drink in, Cindy expressed that it would be nice to have a community, and Lawrence said that he wanted that. That’s why I went to the support group even though I didn’t want to go. I implored, “Why don’t we create our own?”

the country for two years, I believe that drag shows shouldn’t be the only activity in the community. There were so many more things we could and can do, also. So Co did. Our first event was our Come Out, a Pride event. During planning, something horrible happened. The Orlando shootings put our community on high alert. All of our community groups met together at the Multicultural Family Center; we all discussed our thoughts, feelings, and began discussing what we should do about it. The unanimous decision was to do an Orlando candle light vigil in honor of those precious lives lost. Tragedy brought more of the community together, and a sense of unity rose up within us. We held our pride event, followed by the Orlando vigil the next day. All groups appointed Co Dubuque as the LGBTQ+ hub group of Dubuque. We are so honored that the community has embraced our efforts, as we continue to make them for our community. Because of this we have grown rapidly, allowing us to create Co-ZINE. I am very grateful to give what I can for my community at large. My goal is to go nationwide, so that any LGBTQ+ community member can have access to our website for resources, information, education, entertainment, and a voice to be heard within our Co-ZINE. I am very blessed and grateful for this opportunity. This was unplanned and has been a very exciting and unexpected Journey we have embraced.

So we did. I took the initiative and arranged our first meeting at Inspire Café. There were six of us in attendance. Inspire’s other patrons overheard our discussion and wanted to be involved, to observe. We began as a group that wanted to create its own events so we could have our own community and meet people. When even six individuals come together to discuss what they seek from the community, ideas are born and it begins to grow into something greater, something exciting that inspires and gives everyone momentum.

“We’re Co.”

At each meeting, we created more and more and became a nonprofit organization called Co Dubuque. New LGBTQ individuals joined as interest continued to spread. The community loved it and it arrived serendipitously – that is, at just the right moment. There was such low demand for LGBTQ community events and activities, so we brought it to the overall community and included educational workshops.

“After coming out full-time and being who I am, I found a lot of great support in the community. But the way I came out, I was always googling for help. And I noticed right away that there were no gay bars in this community. Nothing really popped up on transgender. One of the top hits for ‘gay Dubuque’ was, like, a Mines of Spain cruise spot (which isn’t even done anymore). Stuff like that. So Co comes into existence because always in the back of my mind I was like, what the hell. Who else is out there looking for support, not living the life they would like and not knowing where in the hell to go. Why isn’t there a website?”

At the time Co was created, Dubuque had drag shows, but that was all. I like a good drag show, but after living in Chicago for three years and traveling across

05 Oct. 2016

Cindy Lewis The following are excerpts from a conversation with Cindy Lewis, one of the co-founders of Co. We talked about Co. We talked about Dubuque. We talked about community. Her words are here, but you must imagine for yourself the grandiose Cindy-esque hand gestures accentuating the most accentuate-able points. On coming out:

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On founding Co: “I told them [Luis Morteo and Lawrence Jaime] about Fife’s. They didn’t even know we had a place where gay people hang out on Fridays and Saturdays.” “Eventually, we all started meeting at Inspire Café. And that’s kind of how Co formed. Basically starting from, well, we need to start doing events. And you know what? We need a website. We need this. We need that. We need resources. We need support. I want someone to be able to google ‘Dubuque gay’ or ‘Dubuque lesbian’ or whatever and have local resources and LGBT support pop up.” On community: “When I say community, I mean my home. This is where Cindy was born. Cindy was born in Dubuque, Iowa. She got her name changed in court here. She gets her HRT on Dubuque Street in Iowa City. She got baptized in Dubuque. None of that happened in Missouri or Minneapolis where I lived in the past. It was here. This is my community.” On the Pride event: “It was beautiful. To see all these people come together. Including allies. Straight people. I mean, I saw people from work and it was all, ‘I never thought I would see you at a Pride event!’ I mean I know they’re not gay or lesbian or transgender. So I thought that was really cool.” “I loved the photo booth. I love taking pictures. And dancing. And just being [enormous hand gesture]. Just enjoying life.” On future Co events: “Let’s freaking have some fun [extra-enormous hand gesture]!”

Co Is Community Travis Nelson

As important for me, though, is the opportunity Co has provided to get to know a whole community of amazing people (including my straight-up fantastic boyfriend) that I might not otherwise have met. This includes gay people and straight people. Cis people and trans people. Funny people, weird people, religious people, artistic people. All of these people have made my life richer and helped me to realize that diversity comes in many, many, oh-so-many different forms. And that’s what Co is all about for me. Co is about embracing the diversity of our community and about being a community for one another in all of our diversity. I grew up in small-town Minnesota (Lake Wobegon, basically) where community is a bedrock value. Community is important to me. Co is community.

Lawrence I am Lawrence Jaime, creator of LAW-Photo and member of Co Dubuque. I became interested in Co Dubuque because I learned in my recent move to the Midwest that the LGBTQ+ community in this area has become somewhat scattered. I wanted to help. I now serve as Co Dubuque’s photographer and graphic designer, and I utilize my talents to capture and promote events. Co has given me an opportunity to showcase my skills [law-photo.com and lawnishika.tumblr.com] for the community. Especially as a new member, it means a lot to be a part of something that helps my community. I am grateful that my art can shine through Co. I feel that Co has already made progress in bringing the community together. Its pride events were my first realization that Dubuque and the tri-state area really are home to many LGBTQ+ people. It was great to see them come together, and it was great to really feel like a community again -- like the one I used to know and love in Los Angeles. I look forward to many more Co events, community activities, and educational workshops.

In the past year, I did a lot. I got tenure. I bought a house. I caught a groundhog. I traveled to China twice. And Poland once. I learned how to caulk a bathtub and polyurethane a floor. I also came out of the closet as a gay man. And I can tell you that all of the inherent weirdness of coming out at age forty in a post-Obergefell, current-social-media world was made so much easier by my involvement in Co. Part of that is the acceptance and support that are clear values of the organization. That’s a big deal. Co has undoubtedly helped me feel a pride and ease in my sexuality that was difficult to imagine a year ago.

06 Oct. 2016

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By Travis Nelson

Why have Co Events?

“COME OUT” and PRIDE 2016 Night of Pride & Orlando Vigil: More than anything else, the one-two punch of these events made it clear why Co is important. Necessary. The Pride event was full of freedom and life. Ora spun fire. Miss Tracie represented. We danced. We danced. We danced. If you want to understand the joy of this event, just look at the photo booth pics. You will see L’s, G’s, B’s, Q’s, T’s, +’s, and others wearing their masks and hats and boas and being free. What a benefit to our community (in all senses of that word) to have this event and to have a place like Smokestacks to host it. Orlando Candlelight Vigil 2016 The Orlando vigil was just as important and was a stark reminder of why Pride is vital. We as a community gathered to remember the 49 people who were massacred at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. I cried as I saw and processed the pictures of the men and women and mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and more who had dreams and lives cut short. I felt overwhelmed in the best possible way by the number of allies from all walks of life who showed up to demonstrate their support. I felt proud of my community.

07 Oct. 2016

Photo Credit Andrea Becker City Hall, Buffalo, New York

Here is what one of the volunteers, Anna Stremlau, had to say about the event: “For days after the shooting, I could not stop crying. I grieved for the loss of family I had never met. I grieved for the sense of safety I had lost. I felt crushed by the weight of understanding that this is what the Black community must feel. Every. Single. Time. I will forever be grateful to those who coordinated and attended that first meeting afterwards. I had no idea our community was so large and supportive. The vigil as a whole (gathering supplies, promoting, volunteering, meeting other volunteers, etc.) gave me a way to make sense of the world I was now living in. There were hugs and how-are-you’s from people who understood. I no longer felt alone in my grief.” Pride. Freedom. Community. Support. This is why Co is important to me. Poké-Co Pub Crawl 2016 Although both have been explained to him several times, your humble author understands not Pokémon or Pokémon Go. “Charmander,” “Squirtle,” and “Bulbasaur” are mysterious assemblages of letters. “Pokémon Gym” is a phrase that is either nonsense or an oxymoron. The whole thing is baffling. But none of that matters! This event captured a moment. People were catching (?) their Pokémon(s) (?) together. There was joy. There was laughter. There was community. There was Co.

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Resources Unite:

“We are a connection center.” By Josh Jasper The process of connecting people to resources and volunteer opportunities is important for us at Resources Unite, but it’s not what drives us to be our best every single day. No, it’s about the actual connection; the relationship we hope to build with the person.  Our greatest strength is probably listening more than anything else.  We want to hear your story.  With every answer provided, we’ve got another question to ask in hopes of learning more.  Your story is important to us.   We were delivering water to complete strangers in Flint Michigan when the power of connection became clearer than ever before.  Over and over again, people would refuse the free water.  “Thank you, but I would prefer you give the water to my neighbor and just spend some time with me.  I feel alone and forgotten.”   People were choosing connection over clean water. At the beginning of every presentation about our work, we share what we believe about people.  We know with absolute certainty that people want to get involved in their community and make a difference.  This is what matters most.  It’s not about how much money we make or the things we collect along the way.  No, we want to be able look back on life and know that we made an impact.   There’s more to that though.  A lot more.  I think about the years I was in the Marine Corps.  I was, and still am, very proud of my work in the Marines.  There was no question that we were making a difference every single day that we laced up our boots.  But what’s stayed with me more than anything now twenty years removed, is the relationships I made during that time.  They became my brothers.  I would be on a plane tomorrow if I received a call today from one of those guys if they called saying they were in need.  Without hesitation.   And so when I think about the people who come through our doors at RU asking for resources or suggestions of places to volunteer, I know that most often they are asking for connection.  They are asking for something that we all so often take for granted and don’t have the courage to ask for ourselves.   This is who we are.  We are a connection center.  Stop in.  See what we’re all about and don’t be surprised if you leave feeling like you just made a new friend. Josh Jasper President/CEO josh@resourcesunite.com www.resourcesunite.com 1900 JFK RD. Dubuque, IA 52002

08 Oct. 2016

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Far From Home: Conversations about Sex, Gender, Sexuality and Discrimination in the Motherland Original questions and commentary by Andrea Becker Interview conducted, translated and transcribed by Sasha M.

H

ow is my life the same as and different from the lives of other women around the world? In many ways, I hold a position of great privilege. I am a straight, cisgender woman living in a progressive and prosperous country. When my partner, Alexander, began to talk with me about feminist issues in Russia, I got curious. His longtime friend, Alyona, belongs to one of Russia’s hundreds of ethnic minorities and lives with her girlfriend in Saint Petersburg. Thanks to Sasha’s patient translation, I was able to interview these brave and progressive women; I hope this article helps you draw connection to and compassion for the global community, too. The interview begins in Iowa’s late morning, but it’s already late afternoon in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Alyona* and Mariya* are home for the day, but that doesn’t mean they are totally at peace – one of the first sounds we hear is their cat in heat, wailing in the background. They’re happy to see Sasha and catch up; they laugh and make jokes about the cat. Sasha knows a lot about them already: Alyona used to be a voice actor on the Simpsons, for instance, and her current gig is the reception desk at an erotic massage parlor; Mariya practices law – so he dives right in. At first, Alyona shares and Mariya listens, but soon they are both sharing. I wasn’t able to interact with Alyona and Mariya in real time because I don’t speak Russian, but that doesn’t mean the dialogue ends with them – it continues here, between you and I. Of course I’ll never understand the full spectrum of issues, since in my privileged place they don’t all harm me, but I am even more privileged now to work through them with the people of my own community.

10 Oct. 2016

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What are your views on feminism? Are you acquainted with this term? Alyona: Hmm. I certainly do not view it the same way as it is presented in Russia. I would say that in the last five years, feminism started gaining popularity in a way. And many women use this term to describe themselves just because of its popularity, but they do not understand what it truly means. Mariya: There are many stereotypes of specifically feminist women in Russia – people view them as some strange young women with hairy armpits who do not take care of themselves or practice good hygiene, and who only became feminists because no one needs them and no one likes them. People often assume that women who consider themselves feminists are also lesbians or representatives of other movements. I don’t know about in Russia, but I have heard about American women dyeing their armpit hair. I don’t recall the name of this particular practice, but if your regular hair is pink, then your armpit has to be the same color. Looks somewhat gross to me, to be honest! Mariya laughs and mentions that she’s also heard of free-bleeding and can’t believe it’s real. In a lot of ways, taboos are still stronger in Russia than they are in the United States. While here we have begun to break the stigma surrounding things like menstruation, traditional gender roles, and LGBTQ relationships, most Russians (as you will see) still hang on a little tighter to traditional ideas. Please tell me about yourself – what defines your personality? What defines you as a woman? What is your age, social status, and where do you work? Alyona: What defines my personality? This is quite philosophical reasoning... but what can I say? If I say how old I am, I will just be talking about my age. If I say that I love listening to some type of music, that counts as my preferences. But who am I really? Woman – that is a gender feature. A Tajik – that is my nationality. But who am I really? Now, that is the question. I don’t know what to tell you about myself that you don’t already know, but looking at it from the perspective of an interview – I am an individual who wants to have equal rights with other people, to exist and to find my own path at the crossroads of several pathways, and to not go astray, and to not look back. I do not want to fear that I took a wrong turn. I want to find my place in life. I think these are all banal truths, but they are suitable for every human in a way. What do you love? Alyona: I love to open something new in myself. I like to learn something new and to understand that I am not limited by the amount of knowledge that I have. I like the feeling of moving towards something or going somewhere; it gives me hope for my pursuits. Unfortunately, I have a problem with finishing projects. 11 Oct. 2016

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What defines you as a woman? Alyona: This feels like a trick question because now I must provide a stereotypical answer. What is expected of me? That I say that as a woman I want a family or a husband? I want children and all that? I cannot say what defines me as a woman, but I can tell you what defines me as a human being. I don’t particularly see a distinction between men and women in this regard, for despite sex and gender, many life plans and priorities can coincide. Just because I was born a woman doesn’t mean that I have to live according to some specific plan. If a man says that he wants family and kids and to be a stay-at-home father, he can still identify as a man, and not a loser or dweeb. Qualities like nobility, honesty, courage can define all people. There should not be a specific rule that a woman holds a family home, but on the other hand I agree that, at least in Russia, mostly women do that. It is quite patriarchal. Traditionally, men are supposed to financially support their family, but there are women that support their families. Those and other women have many qualities that are not traditionally associated with women. I am getting carried away here. What is your age, social status, and where do you work? Alyona: I am 22 years old. I have a bachelor’s degree, but I do not consider myself ready to live an adult life. I am searching for a job right now, but whatever job I find, I will still feel like I haven’t received enough of something. Maybe that’s because I got a degree in Russian as a second language, which is something that I do not want to pursue in life. Who exactly are Turgenev’s girls? Ivan Turgenev was born in western Russia in 1818, and he created a famous literary character stereotype known today as a Turgenev girl. In many ways, she became the archetype for femininity in Russia, even today. Some even argue that Turgenev was more psychoanalyst than writer, simply recording what he observed of the character of women in society. I’ve never read Turgenev anyway, so I asked Mariya who she was. “She is in a way, closed, but a subtle girl. Without the corrupting influence of urban life, [religious] but well educated. She is clean, modest, an introvert and a deep thinker. She always falls in love with the main character, but is not the main character herself. When she is in love, she is all in; she is often perceived as a girl rather than a woman, and is not always liked by her contemporaries.” This mainly described femininity of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Mariya says, but not anymore. I listen to what Alyona says and remember that the twentieth century ended just a few short years ago. Read on in Co-ZINE’s next issue to learn how Turgenev’s girls helped shape Alyona and Mariya’s ideas about womanhood, femininity and relationships. We will also learn more about their lives in Saint Petersburg and be introduced to Albina, a progressive thinker born in the USSR. 12 Oct. 2016

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New to DBQ

By Andrea Becker

Photo Credit LAW-Photo

Jumble Schoolhouse Café

You may have filled your mouth with Jumble Coffee Co.’s tasty and convenient beverages at their drive-through kiosk near Kennedy Mall… but now you can also satisfy your Jumble jones at school. They recently renovated a nineteenth century, one-room schoolhouse in Asbury, Iowa, decorated with original floorboards and a surreal mural featuring faces like the Mona Lisa, Thomas Edison, and a character from the Big Lebowski. Their wi-fi network prompts you to disconnect from the web and “TALK TO EACH OTHER”, and they serve lunch and breakfast along with their established menu. If you fancy ringing the school bell, you may for just $1 – all proceeds donated to the Asbury Volunteer Fire Department. They are located at 4945 Asbury Rd. (563) 284 3870

Dbq Laser… TAG!

Crossfire Laser Tag is a unique laser tag experience because they can offer you their mobile arena. They are ready and willing to bring laser tag to you – they can set the mobile arena up almost anywhere and up to twelve people can play each game. They are available for events, and especially just for fun. They will also be opening their new facility at 3359 Jackson Street very soon. You can call them with questions and comments at (563)552-0568 or email dbqlaser@gmail.com.

Hope Body Balance

The L.I.F.E System Biofeedback Unit is the most advanced non-invasive health screening unit, and it is designed principally to aid in the reduction of stress and muscle relaxation. Sessions with the L.I.F.E System Biofeedback Unit may improve well-being and can help alleviate pain. Appointments are available Saturdays from 10AM until 6PM, and weekday evenings available upon request. For more information, contact Karen Egan at (563)543-5667. 14 Oct. 2016

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Tired of Apologizing for a Church I Don’t Belong To Lillian Daniel is a pastor in Iowa. Her last book, When Spiritual But Not Religious Is Not Enough: Seeing God In Surprising Places, Even the Church is a provocative case for why religious community matters.  Described as biting, hilarious, pitch perfect, tender and often stunningly beautiful, Lillian Daniel’s much talked about book was featured on PBS and the New York Times. Her new book (Hachette, 2016) Tired of Apologizing for a Church I Don’t Belong To: Spirituality Without Stereotypes, Religion Without Ranting explores the changing religious landscape, including the rising number of “Nones,” people who self-identify has having no religious preference. 

Odd and Wondrous Calling: The Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers, celebrated for it’s humor and honesty by clergy and laity alike. She has taught preaching at a number of schools, including Chicago Theological Seminary, the University of Chicago Divinity School and at her alma mater, Yale Divinity School, where she received the 2010 distinguished alumni award for “Distinction in Congregational Ministry.”

Lillian has spoken at the National Cathedral, Duke Chapel, Kings College, London and Queen’s College, Ontario, but on Sundays you can find her preaching at First Congregational Church in Dubuque, Iowa.   Her previous books include, Tell It Like It Is: “Earthy, perceptive, devout, tough-minded, angry and laugh-out-loud funny, all in Reclaiming the Practice of Testimony, the one” story of one church’s attempt to get people to talk to each other about God, and This www.lilliandaniel.com 15 Oct. 2016

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Photo Credit: Andrea Becker

What Does Your Zodiac Sign Say? Aries (MAR 21—APR 19) You will be happy and well. Keep

Libra (SEPT 23—OCT 22) Where are you at? No, really...

doing what you love and polish those horns! You feel pretty this month… must be nice on top of your mountain.

where? You like to go to the party, then poof! That’s how you get to the next party. Self control and fun can be friends.

Taurus (APR 20—MAY 20) Good thing you are stubborn

Scorpio (OCT 23—NOV 21) It’s okay to ask for help... But

and pay attention. You don’t want to be in a bullfight... You’d win, but it’s not always a good idea to win for the sake of winning.

not to be completely dependent on it. You don’t always need someone; it’s okay to have self reliance and independence. You might even like it.

Gemini (MAY 21—JUN 20) You know which way to go and

Sagittarius (NOV 22—DEC 21) Keep thinking about things

can do whatever you like, you just need to keep your desire and to do that benefit you. Having a project for the sake of a project is nice, but investing in a future endeavor could just make life your twins in check. that much better for you. 

Cancer (JUN 21—JUL 22) Crabby, crabby, crabby. Hiding is

sometimes best to do when you are emotionally conflicted. You Capricorn (DEC 22—JAN 19) Pessimism tends to work in your favor, but so does robbing a bank and getting away with it. have people in your life that you can trust. Be glad. Until you’re caught... How well is it working out now? 

Leo (JUL—AUG 22) That stage is a beautiful thing. The lights are spot on and you’re fluffed like the mane you proudly wear. It’s a good time for you. Be happy and keep glowing in that light.

Virgo (AUG 23—SEPT 22) Yes, you’re the Virgin. No, you’re probably not that innocent. It’s okay to experience life, but not okay to walk all over others. Be mindful... People enjoy your company because they like you.

16 Oct. 2016

Aquarius (JAN 20—FEB 18) Knowing that you’re not always

understood can be fun, but don’t forget that you live in your daydreams sometimes. People don’t always know how to approach you because of this.

Pisces (FEB 19—MAR 20) Sometimes getting hurt is the best opportunity to move on and take back emotional control. You have the ability, just breathe an extra two…or ten times before the feels come back.

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Let’s Talk About STDs and STIs By Luis Morteo and Andrea Becker STDs and STIs are scary! Even a standard checkup at the doctor scares us sometimes. Anyone who’s been tested knows about that pre-appointment panic, the anxiety under the doctor’s care, and post-appointment anticipation. We fear the STI itself, and all that might follow it. Embarrassment, guilt, shame, judgment, condemnation, or worse – being an outcast, from friends, family, lovers, society… in other words, those still in the “norm”. This fear is valid. No one wants to get sick, and that’s natural. Today, however, it’s important for us to ask ourselves if this fear is really necessary. We know how we fear: we feel it with acute intensity; it fills our minds and our bodies. But do we really know why? Let’s recall a few of the deadliest epidemics of history: smallpox, polio, the bubonic plague – these alone spread rampantly and left millions of people dead. Humanity feared them, feared people suffering from them, and in many cases isolated the ill hoping to protect themselves. Looking even deeper in history, we remember the stigma surrounding people with leprosy: in Biblical societies, the healthy declared, “Unclean!” More recently, AIDS and Ebola have made themselves known to us. Terror and stigma surrounding all kinds of infection and disease probably began in prehistory, when we as a species were not very good doctors. When we think of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it is clear that some once-deadly illnesses – like polio – are not issues today. Others like AIDS and tuberculosis, very deadly just half a century ago, are more treatable today than ever before. Access to effective medicine and good care is increasing all over the world, but our fear of death remains. There’s not time now to explore all the nuances of the stigma surrounding the still-very-relevant HIV, but we should all make time to learn a little more about it. HIV is something the general public knows of, but doesn’t know much about. For instance, HIV and AIDS aren’t the same thing. HIV does not necessarily, but can lead to AIDS (auto-immune deficiency syndrome). HIV and AIDS disproportionately affect minority groups of all kinds – racial minorities, people in poverty, women and children – not just (nor ever just!) the LGBTQ+ community. Unfortunately, the idea of epidemic is still bound to HIV/AIDS, making it hard for many of us to separate it from fear. In fact, such effective treatment methods are available that it is possible to become HIV “undetectable”. This is a version of HIV+, but it means that the viral count in the body has become so low that it can no longer be detected and decreases the chance of transmission by over 95 percent. While this is a huge victory for those fighting HIV/AIDS, it’s also a reminder to practice safe sex and be a responsible partner. In the first world, we can take an optimistic approach to HIV/ AIDS, and little by little, let go of fear. 19 Oct. 2016

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Sometimes, the stigma surrounding infections comes from stranger places than a fear of death. Let’s use herpes as the example here. Once taboo to even mention, this multiform virus is making more and more appearances in the media, incidentally, because of the distorted ideas that surround it. Most of the world’s population carries some form of the virus. The form that gives you a cold sore three times a year can appear anywhere on the body: nose, genitals, eyeballs… the kind that mainly causes genital sores can appear on your mouth, too. Many people who have experienced either or both admit it’s not as awful as the media purports. If STD stigma is something you’d like to explore more, check out Boradly’s enlightening articles, “Did Big Pharma Create the Herpes Stigma for Profit?”, “You Probably Have Herpes, but It’s Chill”, and TIME’s “The New Scarlet Letter”. The truth is that STIs are more normal than most of us believe. According to The STD Project, “There are anywhere from 56-65 million [documented cases of] people living in the U.S. with an incurable sexually transmitted disease… To give some perspective, that means there are more people living in the U.S. with an STI/STD than the entire black (42 million) or Hispanic (50 million) populations. And, lastly, 1 in 2 Americans will have contracted an STI by the time they reach the age of 25.” And those are just reported cases! It’s normal to encounter infections and disease in life. It’s okay to be a little nervous, but it is also very, very important to get tested. IT IS OKAY! It is okay to be scared, because it’s hard to face embarrassment, guilt, shame or judgment. It’s okay to feel those things, as long as we don’t dwell in them too long. We must not forget that only we can judge ourselves, and there are benefits that come with being safe and protected. We must remember that if we get infected, we are not lesser people and that help is available. We must remember to care well for ourselves and to our partners, to whom we have physical, moral, and emotional responsibilities – and the number one way we can do this is to step beyond fear and take the test.


Co Dubuque Vice President, Cindy Lewis

Photo Credit LAW-Photo

By Cindy Lewis The one thing I envisioned while working with Luis in creating Co was to have our proceeds go back into the community. Specifically, I wanted to promote the community and create opportunities for the youth. When I say community, I don’t just mean the LGBTQ+ community: I also believe that our community includes our allies and future allies. I believe we must reach out to the entire community and be inclusive to all. I really believe that taking our proceeds and hosting events and promoting the region as a whole will lift up everyone within it. When Luis mentioned doing the Co-ZINE magazine, I was skeptical at first because the magazine would be originally launched online only. I think this has to do with my age. I thought, “We would have to have a print version to make this work.” Luis reminded me of his contacts throughout the country. I then remembered that, in July, when we were promoting our Pride event at the Smokestack, Galena businesses told us they do not promote Dubuque. Co-ZINE is a great opportunity to bring people into Dubuque from the Tri-States and to lift up the community as a whole. I envision more people staying in and enjoying Dubuque and spending only a few hours in Galena in the future. I believe if the entire tri-states promotes the core city of the region the entire region will benefit as a whole.

22 Oct. 2016

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Gay-Straight Alliance NW IL GSA The Northwestern Illinois Gay-Straight Alliance is a youth group serving LGBTQ+ and ally high school students in JoDaviess and Carroll counties in Illinois. We are a division of the Riverview Center – an organization that provides services to those who have experienced or continue to experience domestic and sexual violence. We meet the first and third Thursdays of each month from 7-8:30PM at the CTE Academy in Elizabeth, Illinois. In addition to providing a safe space and resources for LGBTQ+ youth, we strive for our meetings to be a social, student-lead space. Free refreshments will always be provided at each themed meeting. Themes and topics are chosen by student leaders. Each group is facilitated by at least three trained adult volunteers. Please email the president, Emily Stier at ekstier@gmail.com or visit our Facebook page for further information.

Dubuque Senior Gay-Straight Alliance by Adelina Canganelli As humans, we have an innate longing for community and friendship. It’s something that’s ingrained in our DNA. I don’t know if there was ever a time in my life where I felt as confused and isolated as when I realized that I’m queer. Despite being raised in a fairly liberal environment, I had little to no knowledge of LGBT people and spaces. I was already struggling to socialize with my peers, and in my eyes this new fact (that I had, on some level, always known) about myself seemed to ensure a lifetime of loneliness. I was terrified at the very idea of anyone finding out about my sexuality, and I became more withdrawn than ever. A lot of this changed when I became a member of my school’s GSA. The first time I walked into a meeting, I had no idea what to expect from my elusive LGBT peers. All I can remember from my first meeting is an overwhelming urge to sob in front of those 20 or so strangers; I had finally found a space where I felt included. I can remember looking around and seeing encouraging smiles as I stumbled through my name and my reasons for deciding to come to the meeting. I had never seen a group of people so genuinely interested in each other’s wellbeing and comfort. Here was a room full of living, breathing people – not the dusty, 200+ year old, highly subtextual queer people who had been my source of comfort for so long. They excitedly asked me if I was enjoying school so far, and what pronouns I used. Was I out to people outside of LGBT spaces? How did I get my hair to dye that color? I was immediately at home. The thing I love most about GSA meetings is seeing the same shocked relief I felt for the first few weeks broadcasted on a new member’s face. As queer people we’re very excluded from society, and finding a place where people share your experiences and are sure not to silence your opinions or dismiss LGBT issues is a very, very powerful thing. No matter what homophobic comments you have to endure throughout the day, you know that there is a supportive group of incredibly kind people standing behind you. It’s my personal belief that the most interesting people in the school congregate at GSA meetings. After being silenced and forced to act like completely alternative people for most of their lives, these interesting figures tend to become intensely vibrant and loud. This is a very positive thing, because we need a lot of young and loud voices to demand respect for all of our members. Recently, Senior implemented a new policy that required all students to wear IDs around school, which caused a lot of issues with trans students. Because of the amazing students and teachers that I have become so proud to call my family, trans students at Senior are now able to get their preferred names printed on their IDs. To some, this might seem like a small battle and an even smaller victory, but it made daily life incredibly much easier for LGBT students, and this is what our organization exists for. After witnessing victories like these, I’ve become much more comfortable with myself, and I’m sure that this is a reality for many other members. In the future, I would love to see more events outside of school hosted with young LGBT people in mind. In the year that I’ve been part of GSA, I’ve found that it’s incredibly important for young queer people to be able to congregate outside of more mature settings like bars and adult events. For a lot of students, being able to develop relationships with other LGBT people is a very distant dream. It’s one of my fondest hopes that I can help some of those dreams become realities.

23 Oct. 2016

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One Boy’s Journey to the Outside By Anonymous (author has chosen to not identify) Gender: The first human characteristic into which we sort ourselves. Before any other question that might be asked about a person (including race), the first matter we must navigate in order to comfortably relate to another human being is gender role. We must know if that person is a male or female in order to know what to say, how to say it, and how to interact. In fact, no other human characteristic disrupts our ability to relate to another human. The first question asked about any baby: “Is it a boy or a girl?” Until that question is answered, the child is still an “it.” While race plays a significant role in human social interaction and causes serious social discord, race does not disrupt human interaction. While racism still runs rampant, no special social rules dictate the way we relate to each other according to race. Present a person with someone completely androgynous, however, and social discomfort almost always results. It is as if every human has two programs (one to relate to males and one to relate to females). In order to relate to another human, the correct program must first be engaged. That usually happens automatically, but, when it does not (because the gender role of the other person cannot be easily identified), the program does not load. Like a slow-loading web page, the screen flickers, images load in bits and pieces, and connection fails. Once the gender role is identified, after some initial awkwardness, the program loads, and communication commences. In 1962, when I was born, the world was a different place. Even by the time I was in high school, female doctors were the exception to the rule. When a woman owned a car (which was not usually the case), if she was with a man (in her own car), he drove (to avoid looking weak). Men pumped the gas. Men “earned the bread” (worked outside of the home). The words “women should be barefoot and pregnant” were still spoken out loud in some circles. Sexism did not bother to go undercover. When I was in college (1980 – 1984, in the world before computers had invaded everyone’s home), finding a reference to transgenderism was impossible. The closest I ever got was one study about “tomboys” that concluded we were the victims of inadequate father/daughter relationships. Today, the internet is filled with information about how to transition. Documentaries (plural) can be easily accessed. Events, support groups and information exist in the most unlikely of places (even Dubuque, Iowa, my hometown). Many others fought and contributed to that change, and many died just trying to be themselves. I was lucky enough not to be one of them, so I tell my story to honor their sacrifices and take the torch in my turn. I hope you find it enlightening, humorous, and thought-provoking. Taking a dip in the near end of the pool before diving deeper, it seems to me in hindsight that, by the ripe old age of 54, and with over a decade of therapy from excellent therapists, I should be long past the pain. It has only been in working with the most recent therapist that I realized the depth of the repression that started before I entered school. In order to get beyond that kind of pain, one has to first acknowledge it. As the saying goes, “The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.” I transitioned 28 years ago, so I have now lived about half of my life as myself. Nonetheless, flashes of images from the past still haunt my memory, all of the moments when someone could not figure out if they were looking at a boy or girl . . . at the counter making a purchase, in the department store dressing room, in any public restroom . . . the social discomfort could appear anywhere, literally anywhere, at any time, even in my own home. When I was nine years old, an insurance man was speaking with my parents in the dining room when I came in from outside playing. The attention of the adults shifted to me as I entered, and the man said, “That’s a fine looking boy you have.” It felt to me like the whole room blushed at that moment, because I shared the embarrassment right along with my parents. I felt the moment of stillness, the intake of breath, the awkward struggle to recover dignity. I felt the heat of the spotlight shining to reveal self-consciousness. Although I desperately needed to be able to live as a boy, I learned, by the age of four, that the desire to be a boy made me crazy. No one ever spoke those words, I am certain, but I interpreted their unspoken messages and successfully repressed that need so deeply that I managed to hide it from myself. So, when someone did use he or him when referring to me, I was not elated or secretly pleased; instead, I felt like they had made a mistake. I had no idea they were the ones getting it right. I felt shame for the essence inside that pressed me to choose boys’ clothes, toys, and interests. I learned to hate what I was. To me, as to the rest of the world, that person looked like an incredibly awkward girl. I hid from them, and from myself, sneaking out but then quickly retreating. When playing “house” or “school” as a child, I role played a boy character. Children, when adults do not interfere, will accept those who are different. I was insistent, but, as soon as the game finished, I retreated back inside my head. As a fetus, I struggled, as all newborns do, to escape my mother’s womb, but another prison waited inside my own mind. I would be held hostage, inside my own brain, for the next 28 years. To follow in the next issue of Co-ZINE is the story of my experience in that prison and how I eventually escaped.

25 Oct. 2016

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Dungeons and Dragons: Creating a new form of therapy By Luke Vorwald

ator, or possibly even the same personality and point of view. Over time, one tends to become attached to what I was recently asked to create a D&D campaign by a they have given life to, taking away lessons experienced co-worker of mine. At first, I was hesitant to pitch the through the character much as the character was formed idea to my supervisor, fearful it would seem like I was by the experiences of the player. Characters often reprelooking for an excuse to roll dice on company time. sent a version or reflection of their player, and being able After bringing it up to a few of the people we serve, to experience things through that character one would though, I saw that this group had the potential to be more than just a few hours a month of me practicing my normally never be able to do is a truly remarkable feaDM (again, for those who are not nerd-inclined, “DM” is ture of the human imagination. an abbreviation for Dungeon Master) skills. This brings me to what I feel is the most important asDungeons and Dragons is an RPG (Role Playing Game) pect of Dungeons and Dragons. We as humans have a unique capability to create and give value to things that with a fantasy flavor, much like you would see in “The Lord of the Rings” or “Game of Thrones.” The game uses are not necessarily “real.” As far as I’m aware, we are the only species on earth that can create languages by giving a base set of rules to allow a group of people to interact in an environment that exists in their collective imagina- an almost limitless combination of noises and sounds tion. This is done by the players acting as their own cre- meaning and sharing that meaning with others. The same holds true for playing music, storytelling, and by ated characters in a world that is described to them by the DM. The DM explains to the players what is happen- association, D&D. Dungeons and Dragons is yet another extension in the phenomenon of human imagination ing in the world around them – including detail about the landscape, wildlife, and other non-player characters and our drive to make meaning out of essentially nothing. Our ability to do and share this with others is a truly (NPCs). The players then let everyone know what it is they want to do, which might include sneaking through beautiful thing, and to not exercise our capacity to do so a back alley, defending a town from an oncoming horde would simply be a shame. of orcs, or sweet-talking their way past a challenge entirely. The DM asks them to roll some dice, and if they roll well enough, they are successful. If they do not, then they have to deal with the consequences of their actions.

On the surface, this game would seem to be a very silly thing. Why would anyone, adults for that matter, want to sit around a table and make up a story based on the results of a 20-sided dice roll? While D&D can definitely be very silly, I can assure those who are not familiar with it that there is so much more to this game and the people it affects. By working with their party members, D&D players gain practice in multiple social skill areas. Teamwork, active listening, and critical thinking are just some of the skills necessary to deal with a problem in the game. If players do not utilize these skills, they will not get good results. Once practiced, these same skills then manifest themselves into actual everyday life. As multiple psychiatric studies have shown, the lessons learned in a game of D&D truly do translate into applicable life skills. Along with the social skills, this game provides other therapeutic benefits as well. I firmly believe there is something cathartic about creating a character that you are able to control and act through in an RPG setting. When someone creates their own character, I feel it is nearly impossible to not put a piece of themselves into it. Maybe the character has a similar back story to its cre-

26 Oct. 2016

Lastly, I’d like to talk about what this all can mean to the people of our community. Like I said earlier, I was somewhat wary of starting a group through the agency I work for that plays Dungeons and Dragons, being that I didn’t want it to seem like an excuse to mess around once a month. However, I quickly changed my mind when I saw the reactions of my players as they first began to create their own characters and roll their dice for the first time. I was so pleased to see my players come out of their shells, describing to everyone else what is important to them and their character and what they would like to accomplish. Partaking in the primal urge to create a story with others and provide it with meaning gives much joy and value to those who play, no matter what their background may be or what they have been through. At my table, we have a very diverse and interesting group of players, and while we are gathered together, we are all together for the same purpose. We are all unique and we are all equal. I feel this is the greatest benefit this game has to offer by far. While my particular campaign is full, I strongly encourage those who have yet to experience this game to find some friends and start one of your own. All you really need is a few pencils, paper, some odd looking dice, and a desire to create living story that you will remember for a lifetime.

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LGBTQ+ Iowa & Tri-State area Events Cedar Rapids

ing Arts, 1011 Locust St., Des Moines, IA LGBTQIA+ Resource Fair For more information, Thursday, Oct 13, 7-10pm http://iowasafeschools. A presentation on suicide org/index.php/buy-tickets prevention by Susan Norman, author of Preventing Trans in Iowa: An Intimate Discussion Suicide Thursday, Oct 27, 6-8pm Iowa Pride Network An- Wooly’s, 504 E Locust St., nual Leadership Summit Des Moines, IA Saturday, Oct 22, 8amHalloween Extravaganza 4:30pm Grinnell College, Rosen- Weekend field Center, 1115 Eighth Friday-Sunday, Oct 28-30, The Garden Night Club Ave, Grinnell, IA 112 SE 4th St., Des Moines, IA Des Moines Iowa Leather Weekend 2016 Friday-Sunday, Oct 14-16, Des Moines, IA For more information, www.iowaleatherweekend.com St. Lucia at Wooly’s Wednesday, Oct 19, 8-11pm 504 E Locust St., Des Moines, IA $18 in advance, $20 day of show 2016 Spirit Awards Thursday, Oct 20, 6-9pm The Temple for Perform27 Oct. 2016

Iowa City Detox & Ivy Winters from RuPaul’s Drag Race Saturday, Oct 15, 9pm2am Studio 13, 13 S Linn St, Iowa City, IA

Quad Cities Connections Drag Show Every Friday, 11 pm Connections Nightclub, 822 W 2nd St., Davenport, IA

Milwaukee Big Night OUT! Neon Nights Friday, Oct 14, 5-11pm Hyatt Regency Milwaukee, 333 W Kilbourn Ave., Milwaukee, WI Paranormal Investigation Friday, Oct 14, 9:3011:30pm Milwaukee Theatre, 500 W Kilbourn Ave., Milwaukee, WI KiKi Sunday, Oct 16, 1-3pm UWM Union Cinema, 2200 E Kenwood Blvd., Milwaukee, WI M83 at the Pabst Theater Wednesday, Oct 19, 7-11pm Pabst Theater, 144 E Wells St., Milwaukee, WI For more information, http://pabsttheater.org/ show/M832016 Hitchcock Halloween with Trixie Mattel Thursday, Oct 27, 8pm2am THIS IS IT, 418 E Wells St., Milwaukee, WI

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We Don’t Need To Be Fixed Gay conversion therapy needs to be banned in Iowa

By Nino Erba If you’re a young person living in 2016, you probably think that LGBT Americans are worthy of the same rights as all Americans. You probably also are horrified at the idea of LGBT Americans facing legal discrimination, even though there’s still an unforgivably uneven patchwork of laws granting rights to LGBT Americans; many states in the country still have no statewide anti-discrimination laws to protect LGBT Americans. In other words, if you’re LGBT and you live in a state like Texas, Idaho, Nebraska or Indiana, you can be jobless, homeless and faced with other discrimination that will make your life hell, but it’s perfectly legal in those states (exceptions are city- and county-specific protections like these). In Iowa, you would reason that we wouldn’t have too many problems. After all, our state was one of the first to make same-sex marriage legal. We’re also a state that generally does well when it comes to LGBT rights. However, there’s one form of discrimination that’s still surprisingly legal in Iowa: gay conversion therapy. If you don’t know what gay conversion therapy is, you can catch up here; otherwise, think of it as one of those much-parodied “straight camps” you might’ve heard about. If you haven’t heard those jokes in a while, let “Family Guy” take care of that for you. Gay conversion therapy is still around. And in Iowa, a KWWL story released earlier this month showed us that unfortunate reality. What’s most eye-catching is the decision of the Iowa Board of Psychology to not carry out the decision to ban gay conversion therapy themselves. Two paragraphs in particular help summarize the situation: Advocates for the ban spoke to board members at the meeting Friday morning, citing studies that indicate one-inthree LGBTQ Iowans are placed into gay conversion therapy; they also cited statistics showing an increased risk in suicide for conversion therapy patients. While board members called the practice unscientific, they maintained that it was not their place to ban it outright in the state; rather, they explained to advocates that the board’s ethical code called for disciplinary action on the matter “on a case-by-case basis,” also citing a lack of evidence that the method is used in the state at all currently. Advocates say they understand the board’s decision and are shifting their focus to state lawmakers in the coming 2017 legislative session. (WHO, KWWL) There are some major problems with this. The most obvious one is that there’s too much faith put into the state legislature. The House is controlled by Republicans, and Governor Terry Branstad hasn’t been the most LGBT-friendly governor, so good luck getting a ban passed. Moreover, this isn’t a matter of deciding whether one method of banning is more preferable than the other. People’s lives are at risk because of this. Gay conversion therapy has demonstrably harmful effects. In fact, one gay conversion therapy outlet had a lawsuit filed against them and were found guilty of, of all things, consumer fraud and was ordered to shut down. Illinois is among the states that have already banned gay conversion therapy. What’s Iowa’s excuse? Fortunately, there is something we can all do about the situation in Iowa. (Just so we’re clear, these efforts will focus solely on Iowa). There’s contact information on the internet, such as that for Governor Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, which you can use to send them emails, letters and phone calls. Additionally, there are pages of legislators for specific parts of Iowa, including Dubuque, that have contact info for representatives and senators in your area. If you’re not feeling that brave, there are other ways to get the word out. Talk about it on Facebook. Share this story until your friends and family are sick of seeing it. Talk about the issue with friends and family. It doesn’t matter how you do, but please do something to help get gay conversion therapy in Iowa! This is an issue that can’t wait. The year 2016 gave us a sobering reminder that despite the recent progress made for LGBT rights, our lives and rights are still at risk. If we can help the LGBT community in Iowa achieve one victory by getting gay conversion therapy banned in the state, it’ll be worth it.

28 Oct. 2016

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Photo Credit cityofdubuque.org

Photo Credit aroundiowa.com


Co Dubuque President, Luis Morteo’s Closing Remarks

SUMPhoto Photography

By Luis Morteo Why does it matter whether we have a community? We live in a nation of individualism: we want to do what we like, when we like, how we like, where we like, why we like… and no one likes to be told how to do things, or what not to do. And why would they? We, as LGBTQ+ community members, experience slurs, harassment, discrimination, abuse, rejection, and hate; as a result, we grow to adapt and learn to endure the most difficult situations. It’s what we do - we have to. To some degree, marginalized communities learn to accept poor treatment from the majority, but no one deserves to suffer! When we come together as a community, we can transcend unprecedented hate. It is mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting to face an intolerant society each day, sometimes even discovering the same struggle within our own LGBTQ+ communities. Why should we have to reject the same false stereotypes again and again, or argue with the ignorant about “how gay we are (or aren’t)”, or how that means we should behave. So much individualism and ostracizing can force us to become self-involved and self-righteous, or it can challenge us to be the opposite: compassionate and proactive. The world could always use more compassion, and qualities like it are important not only for us, but for our communities at large. Community is a place to discover acceptance and understanding. Community offers these unconditionally — it doesn’t matter whether we dislike or disagree with a fellow community member. The community exists for each and all of us, no matter what. Every one of us shares experiences with or understands another in some way. Once Dubuque’s LGBTQ+ community lost One Flite Up, the community’s longest standing gay establishment, other attempts failed as our community scattered and lost connectivity. This community is still here and all is not lost. Community is still around, and wherever you might be, being a part of a community means showing up. So, I am personally doing my best to be a part by creating LGBTQ+ events, activities, educational workshops and Co-ZINE; This is how I show up for you.

30 Oct. 2016

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Co, a community network of passionate people working to create and sustain educational events, socials, affirming experiences and networks f...

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