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Where do you Co? Lenny Co Dubuque. A REAL Social Community! I grew up in poverty. Raised by my father alone on a farm, we four children learned to be independent, resourceful, and creative. Throughout my childhood, bullies continuously taunted me for my poverty, and for my weight. Despite this, I always had friends. They weren’t friends that left when things got difficult or when bullies came around. True friends. Friends that even now, when I’ve expanded the definition of my sexuality a bit, don’t blink an eye. I’ve always thought of my friends as family. During high school and college, I continued to have amazing friends and a good social life. After that, I took a bit of a social and emotional dive into my first marriage and found misfortune (but was also gifted with two wonderful children). My friends were estranged from me by my ex-spouse’s anxiety and insecurity, and by my depression. When she filed for divorce, I felt totally alone and attempted suicide. Even my own family shied away. Having survived, I know that having a close community of friends is extremely important. In 2013, a friend and work colleague told me he was moving back to San Francisco. He thought that I would be great at taking over his responsibilities at the Multicultural Family Center, mentoring Dubuque’s LGBT Youth Group. I thought he was a bit wacko. Having not fully realized my open sexuality, I thought “What

the heck could I do for these kids? What could they do for me? How would we connect?” I have a problem with saying “NO!”, so I began my volunteer work as the “straight” mentor and was welcomed with outstretched arms, love, and acceptance. I started to realize, “Wow! These kids are amazing! They accept each other unconditionally and really want to be part of the LGBT and Dubuque communities!” Over three years later, I’m still a mentor and am now lovingly referred to as “straight with slight curve.” I always strived to have the LGBT group involved in social activities and events within the Dubuque community. Don’t be afraid to show who you are and be proud. Be an asset to the community! When I first learned of Co Dubuque, I felt like someone had read my mind. Here was an organization whose main goal was simply to bring the LGBT community (and the Dubuque community as a whole) together for social and educational events -- and to do so in a non-threatening, laid back, inclusive way; to be a boost for other organizations in Dubuque that already exist, and be a boost for venues in Dubuque that are inclusive (not just LGBT inclusive). To have a PRESENCE. Use the skills and talents of Dubuque’s LGBT community. Having attended a few meetings, I realize just how inclusive Co Dubuque is. No drama, no judging, just kindness, smiles and hugs… and a huge motivation to be a positive presence in Dubuque. I’m a Board Member, and I’m hooked!

February 2017 | Co-ZINE




7 Alo Moniz 8 Far From Home, Part IV 12 PUBLICITY! 16 LGBTQ Day on the Hill 20

Letter from the Editor

TRANSCEND: Everybody else is doing it, so why can't we?

24 Green Team Training 25 Women's March DBQ 28 Mercy Turning Point 33 Book Recommendations 34 Zodiac 36 The Intergalactic Gag 34 Standing Rock (Reprint) 40 2


Editor in Chief Andrea Becker

Layout and Design Alina Crow


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

President (Co)

Contact Co-ZINE

Luis Morteo

Vice President (Co) Cindy Lewis

Call for Writers and Artists

We consider submissions from members of the LGBTQ+ and ally community. .


 • Personal Experiences  • Opinion Pieces  • Photography/Art  • Journalism  • …and more!

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Applicants will be notified by February 25th, 2017.

Co-ZINE is a monthly, online publication. Links to this publication are found at, but Co-ZINE is not an affiliate of Co Dubuque. The views represented in Co-ZINE are strictly those of their authors and do not represent the views of Co-ZINE or Co Dubuque staff members or volunteers. Advertisements involving products or services are not investigated by Co-ZINE, and Co-ZINE does not claim responsibility for these products or services. © 2017 Co-ZINE

February 2017 | Co-ZINE



IA & Tri-States


Cedar Rapids

LGBTQIA+ Resource Fair Thursday, Oct 13, 7–10pm A presentation on suicide prevention by Susan Norman, author of Preventing Suicide

Cedar Rapids Events

PFLAG Monthly Meeting Iowa Pride Network Annual Leadership Thursday, February 9th, 7pm – 9pm Summit Grant Wood Area Education, 4401 6th St SW, Cedar Saturday, Oct 22, 8am–4:30pm Rapids, IA 52404 Grinnell College Rosenfield Center Belle's Basix Drag Show 1115 Eighth Ave Every Friday and Saturday $5, 9pm Grinnell, IA 3916 1st Ave NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402 (319) 363-3194

Des Moines

Weekend Underground Iowa New Leather Play Festival ($14)2016 Friday-Sunday, 14–16 Theatre Cedar Rapids, Febuary 3rdOct to the 19th Des Moines, IA 102 3rd Street SE, Cedar Rapids, 52401 For more information, underground-new-play-festival/2017-02-03/

112 SE 4th St. The Naked Magicians Des Moines, IA The Temple Theatre, February 10th – 11th 1011 LocustIowa St, Des Moines, IA 50309 City $36.00 to $66.00, (515) 288-4700 Detox & Ivy Winters RuPaul’s Drag Race er/593-the-naked-magicians/ Saturday, Oct 15, 9pm-2am

Studio 13 Mother Goose, 13 S Linn St $10 Des MoinesIowa Civic Center, City, IA February 18 233 Center St, Des Moines, IA 50309 Cities mark-family-series/520-mother-goose/ Connections Drag Show Every Friday, 11 pm I See You Made An Effort, $20.00-$38.00 Connections Nightclub The Temple Theater, FebSt. 21st – Match 12th 822 W 2nd, IA comedy-series/529-i-see-you-made-an-effort/


Des Moines Chorus Welcomes BigDiversity Night OUT! Neon Nights New Singers Westminster Presbyterian Friday, Oct 14, 5-11pmChurch Monday evenings, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Hyatt Regency Milwaukee 4114333 Allison Ave, DesAve. Moines, IA W Kilbourn Milwaukee, WI

St. Lucia at Wooly’s Wednesday, Oct 19, 8-11pm 504 E Locust St. Paranormal Investigation Des Moines Vet Center LGBTQ Support Group Des Moines, IA Friday, Oct 14, 9:30-11:30pm 2nd Monday of the month, Des Moines Vet Center $18isin advance, $20 day of show Love Love is Love: Milwaukee Theatre 1821 22nd Street #115, West Des Moines, Iowa 50266 A Night to Celebrate Love and Basketball, $15 500 W Kilbourn Ave. (515) 284-4929 for more information. 2016 Spirit Awards Wells Fargo Arena, Monday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m. Milwaukee, WI OctIA 20, 6-9pm 233 Center St, Thursday, Des Moines, 50309 First Friday Breakfast Club (FFBC) KiKi: Sunday, Oct 16, 1-3pm The Temple for Performing Arts Hoyt Sherman Place, 1st Friday of every month, 7:00 a.m. UWM Union Cinema 1011 Locust St., 1501 Woodland Ave, Des Moines, IA 2200 E Kenwood Blvd. Moines, IA Kids Meetings for Parents of Des Gender-Creative Milwaukee, WI For more information, Children’s Library at Plymouth Church M83 at the Pabst Theater Wednesday of every month, 6 p.m. LGBTQIA Sexual Assault Support Group 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, Oct 19, 7-11pm tickets IA 50312 4126 Ingersoll Ave, Des Moines, 1st and 3rd Wednesdays, 2nd and 4th Mondays of the Pabst Theater month; 3030 Merle Hay Rd, Des Moines, IA 50310 Trans in Iowa: An Intimate Discussion 144 E Wells St. The Sound of Music Thursday, Oct 27, 6–8pm Milwaukee, WI Des Moines Civic Center Wooly’s 233 Center St, Des Moines, IA 50309 PFLAG inHalloween Des Moines Hitchcock 504 E Locust St. Feb 7th – 12th 7:30 PM Unitarian Universalist with Trixie Mattel Church Des Moines, IA Every Thursday, 3rd Tuesday the8pm-2am month at 7:00 p.m. Octof27, willis-broadway-series/502-the-sound-of-music/ 1800 Bell Ave, Des THIS IS IT Moines, IA Halloween Extravaganza Weekend 418 E Wells St. Friday-Sunday, Oct 28-30 Milwaukee, WI The Garden Night Club

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Des Moines

POCQAT Monsoon Community Resource Center 1st Sunday of the month from 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. 4952 Franklin Ave, Des Moines, IA A local queer people of color gathering group meets monthly If interested, please contact or for more details.

Transformations Iowa Community Room of the Mickle Center Every Wednesday at 7:00 p.m., Community Room of the Mickle Center, 1620 Pleasant St, Des Moines, IA Every second Saturday of the month at 1:00 p.m., Urbandale United Church of Christ, 3530 70th St, Urbandale, IA or call 515-745-6766

Quad Cities February Events Connections Game Night, Every Wednesday Night! 822 W 2nd St. Davenport, IA Connections Drag Show Every Friday Night at 11:00PM Connections Night Club, 822 W 2nd St. Davenport, IA Mary’s on 2nd St. Sunday Funday with Bobby!!!! Euchre Tournament every Sunday at 5 PM Sharp 832 W 2nd St, Davenport, IA 52802 (563) 884-8014 $5 buy in (All proceeds benefit Ron Friichtenicht Angel Tree)

Riverside Theatre Presents: Lady Macbeth Feb 24th – March 12th, 7:30 pm – 9pm ($28-$30) 213 N GILBERT STREET, IOWA CITY Sasha Belle Friday Drag & Dance Party Every Friday, 8pm Studio 13, South Linn Street, Iowa City, IA

Madison Events Aces Wild February 18th, 3:00PM-5:00PM 2701 International Lane, Suite 101 Madison, WI 53704, (608)-255-8582 Chippewa Valley LGBT Community Center open house February 2nd @ 10:00 am - 7:00 pm 800 Wisconsin St. Suite 409, Eau Claire, 54703 chippewa-valley-lgbt-community-center-open-house/ Meredith Russo Author Visit & Unity Art Project February 2nd, 7425 Hubbard Ave, Middleton, 53562 meredith-russo-author-visit-unity-art-project/ PFLAG Madison Meeting February 19th @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm 1704 Roberts Court, Madison, WI PFLAG promotes the health and well being of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning persons, their families and friends.

Adler Theatre Presents: 42nd Street Monday, February 13th 7:30 PM 136 E. 3rd Street, Davenport, IA 563-326-8500 Tickets ($38, $48, $58) are on sale at Ticketmaster, the box office and


Iowa City Events GLBTQ Movie Open to Public for FREE Every Monday at 4:00 p.m., doors open at 3:30 p.m Iowa City Senior Center, 28 South Linn Street, Iowa City Movies are open to anyone over 18 years of age and are held in Room 208.

Riverside Theatre Presents: A View From The Bridge Friday, January 20th - 29th, 7:30 pm – 9pm ($28-$30) 213 N GILBERT STREET, IOWA CITY (319)-338-7672

Rollers (Retired Older Lesbians) Lunch February 21st 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm (Recurring Event) Elie’s Family Restaurant 4102 Monona Dr, Madison, WI We meet at Elie’s Family Restaurant in the Lake Edge Shopping Center on Monona Drive in…

Queer Tango Lessons $15.00 February 6, 13, 19 and 27th, 7PM-9PM Happy Bambino, 4116 Monona Dr., Madison, WI Queer tango lessons, offered by Tango Queer Madison, will be held on Mondays, 7-9pm, at Happy Bambino on Madison’s east side beginning January 16, 2017. The queer tango movement began in 2001 in Germany and Argentina, and has grown to an international movement offering lessons, social dancing, and festivals worldwide.

February 2017 | Co-ZINE


Letter from the Editor Dear Co community, Many of you know and have learned throughout your academic

lives, February is "Black History Month". On the surface, this may seem like a way to honor the marginalized community of people of color in the U.S.A., but it is actually just a tool of oppression. Think back to your history books: exactly how many black names do you remember? Maybe you remember George Washington Carver, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks. Maybe you remember other names, but think now about how many white names you remember. Did you memorize the names of the first 43 presidents, learn the lives of inventors and recount the accomplishments of war generals? It was these men, the men in power, that excluded (and still do!) marginalized communities like people of color and women from history. By erasing these names from the books and denying them equal access to basic resources like jobs and education, it becomes possible to dismiss them in society. It's unfortunate that we cannot share any knowledge from the black community this month, so just remember this: BLACK HISTORY MONTH IS NOT ENOUGH. It is our job to fight oppression, prejudice and discrimination every day. Educate yourself. Kindly confront the wrongs you see in the street. Be a good listener. Change starts with us.

Andrea Becker, editor in chief

Channeling a New America by Alo Moniz I’ve had big ideas and the feeling that time was running out since I started performance school at HB STUDIO in Greenwich village. I was 18 – now I laugh at myself. I haven’t quit creativity since. I had a passion for all the arts and eventually developed a plan: How could I meld all passions to create one vision? The vision just keeps growing and that overwhelming “How?” always echoes in my brain until I discover each new connection on this journey. My journey began when I asked myself, “Am I an actor, a singer, or a dancer?” All I knew was that I wanted everyone’s attention. Shallow, but true. Answers started to come through a series of tanked auditions including these: A horrific dance audition for Madonna’s Drowned World tour where I was laughed out by a room of bitchy queens when my choreography looked more like a hoe-down or an invisible mechanical bull ride gone wrong. An audition for a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercial where I accidentally said “penis butter cup” and nearly died laughing in front of a humorless crew. Finally, an audition for the part of Angel in Broadway’s RENT – I was one of two callbacks for the role. The other guy got the part but I felt loved by the casting team, proud I got so far, and perfectly teased by the success I was so hungry for. It made me hungrier. I realized what helped me shine in this audition was that the part was authentic and reflected my personal character. I just so happen to be an angel! I finally surrendered to the fact that I was not meant to fill anyone else’s shoes but my own. The medium of music would allow me to express myself and merge passions. I’d be singing, I could dance during performances, I could act in or animate my own videos, make my own album art, stage sets, and play with my image without concerns of not being cast. I met my first producer, David Zevin, through a classmate. I spent long weekends in Long Island recording in his studio from morning till midnight. I also had a monthly gig as a lounge singer in Times Square and would toss my own songs into sets. Those recordings won me an opportunity to work with some talented people in Los Angeles, including Allen Copeland, Ian Read, and Marcus Brown ( a Madonna tour drummer). I moved to the downtown LA artist district, worked three jobs to pay my team of producers and engineers. I recorded in Santa Monica, Studio city, West Covina, and Echo Park. I even began performing in the rave scene.

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I was hired to record songs for Kool Keith, and two Japanese car commercials. I wrote one heavy metal track that I’m pretty proud of, and an unused version of “Love Today” by Mica for The SMURFS movie where I switch the chorus for “Smurf Today”. While recording the album and having the best time of my life, I picked up some modeling work, including a runway show for JUNKR jeans where I shared the runway with Alice Cooper and had strands of wheat glued to my head as faux corn rows. Finally linked to fashion, I met designers like Andrea Spratt (Kuccoon) and Ashton Hirota, who worked on some of my concepts and costumed my performances. In Los Angeles at a Halloween party, dressed as Prince Charming complete with peach tights and long, curly brown hair, I met the man who

would become my first husband. To this day, the only relationship I’ve ever experienced was ours. He was dressed as Tom Cruise in Risky Business – tighty whities, white dress shirt and tube socks. I saw the whole package, approved, and introduced myself with a loud slap on his ass. I walked away without even a look in the eye and the rest was history. I released my album “The Royal We” as Alo & the Narcissist in 2010, available on iTunes and Spotify. After all the work, I wasn’t fully in love with my first release. The recording process took years longer than planned and by the time it was done, I felt like a different artist than the album projected. My voice had grown as well and I could only hear my flaws. My focus suddenly shifted from my strengths to my weaknesses

February 2017 | Co-ZINE


and while I still was blessed, mirroring my thoughts, my luck began to fade. Needing a change after the release, my fiancé and I moved back to NYC and got married. I focused on the marriage and with the exception of a few shows and a recording gig for D’Angelo, my art life faded away. To keep busy, I nannied two little girls. It was my husband’s idea – we were talking about adopting, and he thought I should make sure I could handle brattiness not my own. During my time with the girls I conceived an alternative animated children’s series about diversity called “MINERVA TOO” which follows an alternative family adapting to a newly futuristic world and finding their purpose in it. I never had time in the city to put the idea to paper but I kept it on the back burner and allowed the world to come alive in my brain. City life really started to break me down. While I’m adventurous and bold as a performer, when I’m off stage, I’m more meditative and spiritual. The noise and distraction of the city completely blocked my creative channels. Finding Brooklyn yoga school saved my life and I dove deeply into a dharma yoga and meditation practice and spent most of my time in the nature of Prospect Park. On a random trip to Sedona with my husband the day after my birthday in 2012 (I called it my rebirthday), I was struck by the serene silence and majestic landscape. I didn’t know why, but I knew I had to live there. On the first day, while showering with my husband, I suddenly felt funny and passed out cold for one minute in his arms. I spent the rest of the day in bed marveling at how relaxed I was and how clear my brain felt. It was as though Sedona reset me. We moved there about nine months later. For a few years, I felt like I had deserted the world and forgotten music. I went on a very deep inner journey. The peace and solitude in Sedona makes you face your shit. There is something to be

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with the aforementioned Mexican artists to create my children’s series. We will also create a web channel called Amore-Rica where we will showcase our collaborative efforts, which we call “channeling a new America”. We promote a conscious America, rich in love celebrating the mixture of cultures as an antidote for the Trump consciousness. Every successful artist creates a world their fans can get lost in. My world is Amore-Rica, where everyone is celebrated and everything is possible. Creative collaboration is Amore-Rica’s transformative currency. Everywhere I’ve lived and traveled, I find more gifted, creative individuals who become part of an ever-expanding creative expanding creative group that I call Amore-Ricans. To become an Amore-Rican or support the creations of Amore-Rica in any way, please reach out to me – especially if you are a manager, composer, or Javier Bardem! I still want the world’s attention. I’m not going to lie. But it’s not just to say, “LOOK AT ME!” I want to give a new, loud voice to a tribe of authentic beings. Instead of adding to the negativity and turmoil of the current world, I want to offer a new world that my tribe can get lost in until it’s all there is. Art is a seed for change. Conscious artists grow Eden with their footsteps. I want to be one of those artists! I am one of those artists. Be love and channel a new America! said for prophets and saviors who traveled to the dessert for answers before returning for their moments of greatness. Under the bright, inescapable light of the Sedona sky, atop a mountain with an epic view of the world around, it soon became very obvious that while my husband and I loved each other very much, we weakened each other severely making us useless to our unique life paths. In avoidance, I escaped to art. I sold a painting and lived off of it for a year. I wrote 3 seasons of my children’s series and illustrated it. My Los Angeles collaborator Allen Copeland made a career shift from music publishing to film and television licensing and started pitching my series. We received positive feedback from CINEDIGM, who loved the concept and wanted a pilot. In January of 2016, my husband and I separated after 9 years together. He moved back to NYC. I decided to stay in Sedona and found a simple house by the creek to heal and reinvent myself. While rushing to rebuild my life, wondering if I should leave Sedona, I met a fireball named Mary who introduced me to her fiancé, rapper & hip hop producer Trademark Tony Vega. I started recording songs with him which he shared with his label Gone Green records. Through Gone Green, I met rapper Ben Steezy and DJ Craig Eagle who welcomed me on to their team. Since we met in the spring, we have recorded almost 40 songs together, including music with indie rappers Apollo Poetry and Sincerely Collins; we performed the biggest show of our lives at the Comerica theatre in Phoenix, and have even been flown to Mexico for performances, where I met a team of animators who want to help create the children’s series. Part of our appeal is that we are all such very different as artists. It’s unusual to see a two straight rappers performing with a smooth-voiced, dancing gay guy wearing kimonos and leggings. We are opening doors and building bridges toward unprecedented diversity in hip hop. Our work is all about love and good vibes. We even plant trees for all merchandise sold and each person in attendance at our shows! My acceptance by these men has touched my heart deeply. Having been a solo artist with no representation all my life, it’s a relief to have such a team of winners backing me and proud to expose me in a genre that, not so long ago, cursed people like me. Thankfully, we are not in the 90’s anymore and artists are waking up. While Sedona feels like an amazing creative sanctuary for me, I feel called elsewhere. In May, a team of American artists, musicians, designers, directors, film crew, and I will be relocating to Mexico to team up

February 2017 | Co-ZINE



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Far From Home Conversations about Sex, Gender, Sexuality and Discrimination in the Motherland, Part IV


by Andrea Becker & Sasha M.

hen we left off in December, we just started to discuss censorship and freedom of expression in Russia. It was unanimous among the interviewees that things are better now than they used to be, but many voices are still silenced. Here, in the final segment of the interview, we continue the conversation on censorship. Alexander: Say you enter one of the main squares of Saint Petersburg with ten friends. You all scream, “Putin is a dummy, Putin is a dummy!” Mariya: They would put us in a mental institution. That’s not the worst punishment, either. Or they would take you to the police. At least now there is some sense of stability… it could be worse. Alyona: I don’t know what could be worse than this ‘stability’.

Albina: I do respect those four people who went out to the Red Square in 1968 when Soviet tanks crossed the border of Czechoslovakia. There were four people who demonstrated their not being able to agree with the policy of the country and of course they were arrested. I know that I will never do that. I will never. I am not able to do that. So, I am not going to openly discuss it. One explanation is my job, because if I work for a federal university, there are certain limits. So you never know what the future gets ready for us, but hopefully any totalitarian system is or will be impossible. Alexander: So, Alyona, you are searching for a job now. Do you feel like your ability to find work is affected by your sex or gender? In a positive or negative way, and why? Alyona: Yes, yes, I am trying to find a job as a correspondent on television and over and over I encounter the problem that they only need male specialists. My mom says in big cities especially, they search for male correspondents only. Alexander: Why specifically men? Alyona: Oh, I’ll tell you why… it’s psychological. In Russia especially, I don’t know about other countries – it is considered first that a man can’t bear a child, so they don’t have to miss work if that happens… plus emotional stability. They are not susceptible to PMS or menstruation…people generally trust men more. Men are considered to be more serious, more successful. Mariya: They don’t take women as drivers in the metro… they only hire men for this job, because it’s considered to be a dangerous job and a man can withstand more than a woman can. If a person or an animal gets splattered by the train, a man is more likely to take it with ease. My sister has always wanted to be an abdominal surgeon, but there are no female abdominal surgeons in Russia. Because when a man becomes an abdominal surgeon, he works this job until he dies – there are many examples like this.

What are the biggest challenges you face in life right now? How does your sex, sexuality, and identity in general help or hinder you in facing them? Alyona: Finances. Like always, but now even more. The problem is not that there is not money. The problem is that you want to pursue and make money using what you studied, and do what you like to do. To exist normally and to have some spending money, too. Mariya: I make less than the minimum wage. Alexander: And you work in the court? Mariya: Yes. I make 12,000 rubles a month. It costs 12,000 just to rent a room. Alyona: She does make 600 rubles more for being a lawyer of the third class. Mariya: Yes. I also have relatives nearby. Albina: I think that in Russia, the traditional attitude of a Russian society, especially provincial, you see, the role of a woman is very limited to be compared to the role of a man. If we speak of certain social circles, not highly educated, well-cultured, but just people of labor, for example. Alexander: Mariya, why do you consider yourself a patriot? Mariya: I don’t know. It’s something that was passed down the line. I love my country. Not the people, not the politicians, just the country. Alexander: But in your understanding what is the country – is it the natural environment? Is it the culture? Mariya: It’s history. Alyona: We do have an incredible history, not counting that it is covered in shit… I don’t think any nation has experienced what Russians have. No other nation has lived under such a weight. One of the first sounds heard in this interview was the cry of Mariya and Alyona’s cat. She’s in her first heat. The cat’s wail might serve as a reminder that in many cases, it is one’s biology that oppresses them – yet the cat is not afraid to let its voice be heard. Our biology is not something we have chosen but it affects each of us innately in a variety of ways. When we suffer because of it, when we are oppressed because of it, we must cry out. Whether it is race, sex or gender, age or ability that marginalizes us, the world begins to change when we speak out for ourselves and for others. Albina teaches us about a woman who stands against adversity and hostility to make a difference in the Motherland.

Continued on page 26

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of the month

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Howard Thurman

February 2017 | Co-ZINE


PUBLICITY! by Edwin Betancourt

“Here at Publicity! My goal is to make sure every client, no matter where they fall in Hollywood – A-List, B-List, C-List or D – have long lasting careers without suffering the bumps on the road of scandal. My name is Laurel Quinn and I am the CEO and President of Publicity! I founded this company after my mother, the late Oscar Winner Elizabeth Quinn, suffered a scandal because of a jealous co-star and committed suicide. Ever since that day, I have vowed to protect the reputations of celebrities and turn their scandals around. With the help of my staff, no scandal is too big to handle! Give me a call and let Publicity! handle your scandal!” Laurel Quinn tapped the end of her pink crystal pen against the edge of her chestnut desk. Seated in front of her was the famous rapper Lil Holler, wearing his infamous thick golden chains and holding his custom-fitted cap on his lap. He was wearing it when he entered the building but Laurel forced him to take it off, saying it was a sign of disrespect to leave it on. He had heard many stories about this auburn haired woman all throughout Hollywood. She was a force to be reckoned with but she always got the job done. She was dubbed by many people the Ice Queen, a term that he was sure would offend the middle-aged woman if someone called her that to her face. The silence between the two had gone on at least three minutes now. Laurel knew why he called to set up an appointment with her, she just wanted to hear him explain his reasoning… sadly, the man that won five Grammy Awards and spent most of his career yelling out his songs wasn’t saying a word. He gave her an apologetic look and gulped trying to find the proper words to say. She leaned back in her throne-like office chair and flipped her hair. “Should I explain to you why you’re here or are you going

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to open up that trap of yours and tell me yourself?” The rapper licked his lips and began to speak, “Aight so this is what had happened-“ Laurel slammed the pen on her desk. Lil Holler flinched and shut up. “If you’re going to address me, I advise you to take that rapper façade you fool the world with and throw it out. You will address me like the Harvard graduate you are and actually use English words.” Lil Holler let out a frustrated sigh and he gave the woman a nod. He cleared his throat and continued on, “My apologies, Ms. Quinn. I was going to say I screwed up.” “Screwed up?” Laurel repeated slowly. “No. A screw up is getting your backup dancer pregnant because you were too drunk to wear a condom. What you did was an insult not only your intelligence but an entire nation.” Before the rapper could open his mouth to defend himself, Laurel grabbed a small remote control from her desk and pressed the power button. On the large television screen behind her appeared a picture of Lil Holler holding up an American flag on fire, smiling at the camera. The headline read, “NYC Rapper Lil Holler Betrays America and Insults The Troops” Lil Holler shifted uncomfortably on the chair as the news segment played on mute. Laurel noticed how uneasy he was and she turned off the screen. “Can you please, please tell me what the hell was going through your head when you burned the American flag and took a stupid selfie doing it?!” “Listen… it all started when President Elect Victor Uller won the

damn election. I-I mean who votes for a racist?!” “And instead of creating a fake profile on Twitter to complain about it like everyone else does, you decide to open a can of stupidity and share it with eight million followers?” Lil Holler clenched his jaws together, “I was protesting.” “Protesting what, Curtis?” “Call me Lil Holler,” the rapper corrected her. Laurel looked at Lil Holler for a few seconds, shocked he would further prove his stupidity demanding to be called a name that made him sound like an idiot. “Yeah… I’m not doing that. As I was saying, what the hell were you protesting that you had to burn a flag?” “Police brutality.” “If you want to protest police brutality, kneel during the national anthem or text during a presidential speech, I don’t care! But you do not burn a flag! It is seen as disrespectful to everyone, including your fans, which is ironic considering all you do is rap about killing snitches and calling women whores and sluts. But that’s beside the point.” “The last time I checked, the desecration of the flag is a legal act that is protected by the First Amendment. Which means I cannot be imprisoned.” Laurel flipped her shoulder length hair back and smiled at him. “You aren’t going to jail, Curtis, nor are you facing any jail time. This... act of ‘righteousness’ cost you endorsement deals. Nike, Snapple, those ridiculously huge headphones, any and every deal you had in the works is gone. Poof! They all dropped you once this photo went viral. I’m not your agent, I don’t care what your intentions are! I’m your publicist. Your fixer. I’m here to make sure you come out unscathed from this mess.” Curtis grew angry at her words. He didn’t think about the business implications of his actions, and quite frankly he didn’t care. The whole purpose of that photo was to show how screwed America was, now that openly racist and homophobic Republican nominee Victor Uller had won the Presidency. Although he knew there wasn’t much of a connection between Uller and the police shootings which took place six months ago, he needed his voice heard and proved it by burning the flag and taking the picture to show his fans and the entire world how he truly felt. Curtis took in a deep breath, “I don’t need them! As long as my fans support me that’s all that matters. I have three songs in commercials. One is the theme to that stupid show about those girls finding their killer or some crap.” Laurel gave him a nod. “I highly doubt your manager even called you since this whole scandal went down: those commercials have pulled out your songs and they’re replacing them with that Canadian rapper. As for the show, more than twenty thousand people signed a petition to boycott it until they take your song off as its theme. They’re sending it to studio execs at MBZ as we speak.” “Wait! What?! Someone created a petition to remove my song?” “Yes, clever little buggers. They can’t afford to move out of their parent’s basement or let alone actually find a job, but they can sit behind their computer screens and create meaningless petitions.” Curtis shook his head nervously and shifted in the chair again. “So what do I do now? I mean you are my publicist after all.” “I am well aware of my job title. Thank you for the reminder.” There was a knock on the door that caused Curtis to nervously to look at Laurel and he watched as she rose up from the chair and made her way to the door. He couldn’t help but admire the woman’s hourglass figure in a skin tight red and black dress.

Laurel opened the door to find a man no older than thirty four standing in the doorway holding a manila colored envelope in his hands. “Are these the photographs I asked for?” The tall man gave her a nod and smiled, “And then some.” “Perfect. Thank you Tony.” She took the envelope and turned back to her desk. “Curtis, do you remember Dave Alex? The former mayor of Singler City?” The rapper thought to himself about the name and he shook his head never once hearing it before. “No I don’t.” Laurel continued to walk around her desk and she sat down on the chair. “Well, Dave Alex was running for Mayor and he painted his image with this beautiful family. Wife, kids and white picket fences. You know the same old cliché bull crap closeted Republicans use to get votes. Well, back in the days he and I used to be married. This was in college, where I clearly had no self-esteem. Anyway, he did this press conference a few months after being elected, where he referred to me as – and I quote – a blonde, cancerous woman who turned my life upside down until I met my current wife.” “Oh my God.” Curtis let out a low gasp. “Right?” Laurel asked. “During those days I wasn’t even a blonde!” She shook her head smiling to herself not entirely sure if Curtis understood her dark humor. “Anyway, after that little comment I got offended and wanted to give my dear ex-husband a congratulatory present. Tony, the man who just knocked on my door, is very gifted with his ability to manipulate photos and make them seem real.” “You mean like Photoshop?” “In a way yes. But he doesn’t use that program. He uses something a bit more advanced. Something that when those geeks in the FBI analyze the photo, it’s legitimate and has no traces of manipulation. Anyway, someone leaked a photo of dear old Mayor Alex sniffing cocaine and hanging out with prostitutes the same day his third son was born. That made the people of Singler City very upset. So upset they decided to impeach him and his wife forced him to go to rehab.” If this was a cartoon, Laurel was pretty sure bright exclamation marks would be dancing over Curtis’ head. The rumors he heard from random people in the industry were correct.

February 2017 | Co-ZINE


She was a ruthless woman who would stop at nothing to get what she wanted. “Y-You leaked those photos?” “Oh Curtis. What is that phrase you say in all your songs?” Laurel rubbed her chin thinking of the phrase, and snapped her fingers in excitement. “Ah yes! Now I remember. ‘Snitches get shot.’” She flashed him a devious smirk that would make even the Devil nervous. He cleared his throat again and asked, “But what does this have to do with my situation?” “Great question!” She opened the manila envelope and folded her arms on the desk. “Well, Tony and I went over ways to make this all go away and we came up with a marvelous solution. Here is our version of the original photo.” She took out a picture and handed it to the rapper. He lowered his eyebrows at what he was seeing. The picture he uploaded online was the same, he wore the same white tank top, the same black fitted cap with his logo on it but instead of sweatpants- he had on shorts, and instead of a burning flag in his hands he had a trout as if he just fished it out of the local river. “What the hell is this?! Nah man. No one will believe that!” He pushed the picture away. Laurel was impressed at how handsomely athletic this man was, yet how stupid at the same time. “Have you checked your phone recently? You’re trending number two on Twitter. You would’ve been trending number one but the Queen of England was fictitiously killed off again.” “I’m trending number two because of this damn scandal!” “Mmm, check again.” She stated sitting back on the chair. Curtis quickly pulled out his cellphone and tapped the touch screen to discover he had more than ninety eight Tweet notifications and one hundred messages. He clicked on the notification icon and scrolled through the pages in shock and awe at what he was reading. He noticed one tweet had ‘Lil Holler Makes a Statement about Hacking’ and he lowered his eyebrows. “You released a statement on my behalf?” “Mhmm.” Laurel replied back with a smirk still plastered on her

poreless face. The rapper clicked on the link and read the statement out loud. “I want to thank my fans for their response, both positive and negative, regarding the picture that was uploaded earlier. It breaks my heart that anyone in their right mind would believe that I would burn a flag, a symbol of this Country… a symbol of everything the brave men and women are fighting for overseas. So many believe I would do something as sinister and vile; that hurts me. I have been vocal in my community for years and believe me when I say I did not burn the American Flag. I had the FBI and local officials look into the picture and it was manipulated by hackers—” Curtis stopped reading and stared at Laurel. “The FBI? Wouldn’t they deny this claim?” “They could,” she shrugged, “But it’s amazing what people will do to ensure their secrets never get out. Now please continue reading. You’re just getting to the best part.” Curtis nodded. He was sorry he even asked the question and he continued reading the statement. “Apparently, people were livid that my name was tossed into the Inauguration pool to perform for Victor Uller. I was called a traitor, a liar, and even the N-word to describe my intentions. During Victor’s campaign, he had said some very offensive things that made me question where his loyalty was, but I would never disrespect something as special as our American Flag. I will continue being vocal in my community against the police brutality we have faced all year. Thank you all for understanding. Below I have posted the real picture. If you’re going to try to Photoshop a picture, don’t erase the biggest trout I ever caught! LOL!” Curtis finished reading the response and then started again. This was a beautifully written response. It sounded just like him, every word used, he would actually have used himself. “ great but I’m letting my people down by stating the flag burning wasn’t real!” “What people?” Laurel asked. “When this photo went viral eighteen hours ago you went from Eight million followers to nine hundred. Before I even started typing out that statement, it crawled down to two hundred followers. Face the facts Curtis. This isn’t about politics or race. At the end of the day, it’s about you staying on top of your career. I get that you want to be Robin Hood, I do. But put all that anger into your next album, because as a woman, I ought to castrate you for constantly calling us bitches, sluts and whores.” As if the pain was real, Curtis placed his cap over his crotch and nodded. He looked back down at the phone screen and swiped it again. “According to my followers now, I only have five hundred.” “Give it time. Everyone is still working and in school. Around noon and six the news will pick up on this mishap and address it.” Curtis placed the phone in his pocket and he rose up from the chair. “You really came through for me. Thank you so much!” Laurel gave him a sincere smile and nodded her head watching him. “That’s my job. The next time you’re angry… stay away from flags.” Curtis chuckled and he turned toward the office door and opened it, he walked out of her office and Laurel let out a deep sigh of relief for a job well done. Tony knocked softly on the door. “Everything worked out?” he asked, his British accent prominent now – it was hidden before.

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She flashed him a smile nodding her head. “Were there any doubts?” She paused for a few seconds and licked her lips, smirking. “How would you like to make twentyfive thousand dollars?” Tony straightened his posture and looked at his boss. “I’m listening.” *** Laurel walked out of her bedroom in grey sweatpants, a baggy pink sweater, her auburn hair in a messy bun. She had been home twenty minutes and couldn’t wait to kick off her stilettos, her designer dress and just put on something more comfortable. In the kitchen, she poured a glass of red wine and took a sip. It was as bittersweet as her day had been. Her concentration was cut when her cellphone rang. She set down the wine and snatched up the phone. Text appeared: Turn on the news. Now. Laurel quickly turned on her large plasma TV. And read NYC Based Rapper Lil Holler Gunned Down”. She turned up the volume, sorry she had forgotten the wine. “That’s right, Linda! According to the San New Police, Curtis Lucas, a.k.a. rapper Lil Holler was leaving a meeting with his Record Label when another car pulled up to his black Mercedes Benz and opened fire. From what I’ve been told, Lucas was shot twice in his right arm and is in stable condition. This, just hours after Curtis released a public statement that his Twitter account was hacked and a manipulated photo surfaced of him burning the American Flag. Investigators have detained a person of interest and there is no word yet whether this individual was behind the shooting—” *** “Were there any doubts?” She paused for a few seconds and licked her lips, smirking. “How would you like to make twentyfive thousand dollars?” Tony straightened his posture and looked at his boss. “I’m listening.”

“I need you to help Lil Holler get back his followers.” Laurel stated signaling the six and a half foot man to close the office door. Tony shut the door. “Followers, as in bullets or stabbing?” “Bullets. But I need you to make sure he doesn’t die. So try to aim for his arm. Right arm. He’s a lefty so this won’t affect his ability to write.” Tony wasn’t like most men in San New. He was tall, dark and handsome, and while he was born in the UK, he had many secrets that prevented him from returning home. Secrets that would end his life if they ever got out… the very same secrets that made Laurel take an interest in him and hire him on the spot. “If I didn’t know any better, Quinn, I’d say you’re hiring me as your assassin rather than your assistant.” Laurel flashed him a smirk and flipped back her hair. “It was your assassination skills that brought you here. It was also your poor lapse of judgment that made you assume I was an easy target. Now, I’m just promoting you temporarily to do what you do best. Except this time, you’re not killing anyone. You’re just helping a dear client with his unfortunate situation.” Tony straightened his tie. “Sounds reasonable.” “Great! I’ll wire you the rest of the money when the job is done. *** Laurel snapped out of her daydream and glanced back at the TV. The blonde reporter continued, “Lucas has been receiving an outpouring of support from his fans, other celebrities and local leaders.” Laurel turned off the TV and looked down at her phone. A few taps and the screen read, Transfer Completed. It was Tony. Laurel grinned. “You’re welcome.” She dropped her phone into her pocket and got up from the sofa. She made her way back to the glass of wine and took another sip, smiling to herself. Wine in her right hand, her left pulled a quarter out of her purse. Laurel spun on her heels and turned off the lights. She walked down the long hall of her empty three bedroom apartment and halted at the last white door.

February 2017 | Co-ZINE


Laurel turned the knob to see a dark room, but the light from the hallway crept in falling on the baby crib. A blue banner hung on the wall, bearing a name. Elijah Zachary Quinn. Her bare feet made no sound as she walked deeper into Elijah’s room. Upon a chestnut dresser were a few diapers, a photo of an eight month old baby smiling, and a container that held twenty-three dollars in quarters. Laurel dropped the quarter in and she went back to the crib. Inside was a stuffed bear wearing a ‘Mommy’s Little Angel’ shirt. She used her left hand again to press the bear’s stomach. It spoke, “Hey Eli, it’s mommy! I just wanted to sing to you before you fell asleep. Are you ready? Okay here it goes, ‘Hush little baby don’t you cry, Mommy’s gonna bake you an apple pie. And once that Apple Pie’s all gone! Mommy’s gonna bake you another one.’ Shhh, my little Angel. Go to sleep and know Mommy will always love you.” Laurel’s hazel eyes watered. She’d made the recording for Elijah’s first Christmas. She wanted him to know that when he slept in his crib at night, she was always there, though she was two doors down. She missed her baby, holding him, his laugh, his cry… the way he would speak to her as if he was actually saying real English words.

“Sounds like a keeper.” She never knew the actress was married, so initially this shocked her more than anything else. “Did you two sign a pre-nup and did your lawyer make him sign a confidentiality clause?” “No and no. I know what you must be thinking Miss Quinn. But I am very old fashioned and I believe love is love. Love isn’t about who gets money or when a marriage ends. Or if it ends. I was a fool I know, but I really loved him.” Laurel rubbed her forehead trying not to sound too frustrated or irritated. “Okay. How about you swing by my office tomorrow and we can discuss this further.” “That sounds delightful!” Meryl stated her tone was pleasant and kind, reminiscent of an elderly neighbor who’d bake you chocolate chip cookies on the weekend. “There’s something you should know Miss Quinn…” “Please, call me Laurel.” “Okay, Laurel. Well, my husband and I met on the set of a movie I did called ‘Matters of The Art’. We laid eyes on another and that was love. He and I have been together ever since.”

She took a deep breath and left the room, clearing her mind through her exhale. Sleep was the only thing she thought of now. The only thing she wanted, all she needed to stay sane. In her own spacious bedroom, she placed the glass of wine on her night stand and sat on the edge of her king sized bed, ready to collapse… Her cellphone rang.

“Sounds romantic truly. But what does this have to do with the situation?”

“This is Laurel Quinn!”

Laurel furrowed her brows. “Why? Who is he? Is he already married?”

“Hello Miss Quinn. This is Meryl Hopkins.” “Meryl Hopkins? As in six-Oscars-three-Tonys-and-fiveEmmys-Meryl-Hopkins?” Laurel’s tone was not one of praise, but curiosity. In actuality, she loved Meryl’s work. She grew up watching her and singing her music. This was Hollywood’s royalty! “You are correct. I am calling because I am in need of your services. My husband of five years has decided to divorce me. In doing so he has threatened to reveal all of my personal secrets to any media outlet that would pay him the highest amount of money.”

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“Oh, yes…well, my husband is… how do I say this without sounding… okay, well if the identity alone of my husband becomes public, my image is tarnished forever.”

“No. You see, Laurel,.my husband just turned twenty-two yesterday.” Laurel knew she wasn’t welcoming sleep into her life anytime soon.

Edwin Betancourt is a 26 year old, openly gay actor and writer living in the Bronx. He has a fantasy novel in the works among many other creative projects. He also has a teleplay of a six episode LGBTQ themed webseries that he hopes the world will be watching in the near future.



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An aerial view of the rally in the rotunda (Photo Credit: John Sellers)


LGBTQ Day on the Hill

n Thursday, Jan. 12, One Iowa held our LGBTQ Day on the Hill. More than 150 supporters raised their voices with us to advocate for equality for LGBTQ Iowans. We heard from Rep. Liz Bennett, Rep. Ruth Ann Gaines, Transformations Iowa President Sophia Stone, and Simpson student activist Cecilia Martinez at our rally. We told legislators that LGBTQ Iowans will not be silent, that we will fight to preserve and advance our state’s legacy of equality. First and foremost, thank you to all who attended. You helped us put a face and voice to our community, and that will be invaluable as legislators consider how their decisions will impact their constituents. Whether or not you attended our LGBTQ Day on the Hill, there are actions you can take now to advocate for LGBTQ Iowans. We have two legislative goals this session that you can help us achieve: ending “conversion therapy” for minors and adding transgender protections to Iowa’s hate crimes law. So-called “conversion therapy” is the discredited practice of trying to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity through therapy. In some cases, “conversion therapy” can include physical aversion therapy, electroshock therapy, and other horrific practices. The nation’s leading mental health associations have issued position statements not only saying that “conversion therapy” does not work, but also warning against the use of these harmful practices.

No young person should ever be shamed by a mental health professional into thinking who they are is wrong. That’s why we’re fighting to ban “conversion therapy” for minors in Iowa. You can join the fight by contacting your state senator and asking them to support SF74 (a live senate bill that would implement this ban). You should also contact your state representative and ask them to support HF93 (a live house bill that would implement this ban). Right now in the state of Iowa, committing a crime against someone because they are transgender is not considered a hate crime. This is because gender identity and gender expression are not protected classes in Iowa’s hate crimes law. Transgender and gender nonconforming individuals, and particularly trans women of color, are the demographic most likely to be targeted by hate crimes according to the FBI, and yet Iowa law does not protect them. This is a grievous oversight that must be corrected. That’s why we’re fighting to add gender identity and gender expression to our state’s hate crimes law and extend transgender Iowans the same protections that lesbian, gay, and bisexual Iowans enjoy. Like with “conversion therapy”, there is a bill in each chamber of the Iowa legislature to accomplish this goal. Contact your state senator and ask them to support SF73 (a live senate bill that would add

Rep. Ruth Ann Gaines speaks at the rally in the rotunda (Photo Credit: Brittany Deal)

Constituents speak with Rep. Ras Smith (Photo Credit: Brittany Deal) One Iowa Executive Director Daniel HoffmanZinnel starts a chant at the rally in the rotunda (Photo Credit: Brittany Deal) these protections to Iowa’s hate crimes laws). Contact your state representative and ask them to support HF88 (a live house bill that would add these protections to Iowa’s hate crimes laws). At One Iowa, we’re keeping our eyes out for other legislation that would impact LGBTQ Iowans, for better or for worse. We aim to provide LGBTQ Iowans and allies with up-to-date information about the current legislative climate for the LGBTQ community in our state. Sign up for our email list and follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to receive regular updates on the Iowa legislature, upcoming events, and actions you can take to support LGBTQ Iowans. We know there is always room for improvement, and that’s why we are always looking for feedback from our community. If you have questions, comments, concerns, or just want more information about us, please contact us via phone (515-288-4019) or email (info@ We take our role as Iowa’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization very seriously, and we want to serve the community in the best way we can.

Rep. Liz Bennett speaks at the rally in the rotunda (Photo Credit: Brittany Deal)

Thank you for all you do to preserve and advance equality for LGBTQ Iowans. We look forward to working with you.

February 2017 | Co-ZINE


TRANSCEND Musings from a Transwoman’s Perspective

Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?


by Ora Uzel

’m right on the cusp between Gen Xers and Millennials. I grew up in the early to mid-90s and I’m presently listening to the Cranberries whose album is the inspired title above. Their sound and lyrics embody a unique kind of ennui that only the post-Cold War 90s cold embody. Peace amongst the superpowers had been declared as smaller countries were being obliterated (Bosnia). Kurt Cobain died. Even grunge was so grunge that it died with him. So for this Valentine’s Day, I’d like to embody the alternative/grunge aesthetic and be openly miserable for once. And I have good reasons. “I’m not into that.” Multiple men have told me this shortly AFTER they asked me out. As a transgender woman, hearing this phrase immediately relegates you from a lady with a gentleman’s respect to a hot mess being ignored, beaten and bloody in a back alley. It is one of the most insulting things a man can say (aside from flat out slurs). I think for them, they think they’re being nice about my “fetish,” but the truth is that my genitalia are a real and present anguish I experience multiple times a day. I have no fetishes about being a woman (any more than any other woman). I am simply a woman, and denials based solely on my genitals are devastating. “YOU’RE not into that?!” Neither am I!! I’m raising money for a five digit surgery. I have to look at and touch my genitals every single day and you don’t. The phrase “I’m not into that” is not only an immediate insult to transwomen, but it also objectifies all women by telling us that our genitalia are the primary factor of consideration before personality and even before physical beauty. It’s not just transphobic, but it’s also misogynist. It’s degrading to women everywhere and especially degrading to transwomen. When should we tell? This is the age old question for transgender people. When do I tell the person I’m attracted to about me being trans? On the online profile? Make it obvious? Hide it in the profile? Allude to it only? Perhaps mention it in conversation before setting up the date? At the beginning of the first date? In the middle? At the end? When does it become dangerous to not tell, as in they might “gay panic” (a real legal defense used) and try to murder me? I’ve always held to the rule that if I don’t tell them by the third date, then them murdering me is my fault (which of course is absurd). But the fact is, I’ve never made it to a proper date with a man. I’ve always been honest. And honestly, I think that’s a big contributing factor to why I’m still single. Sure I’m a discerning intelligent person in a small town… but let’s be honest. It’s my honesty that is the proverbial cock-blocker here. Further to that point, the majority of transwomen I know who have dated did not tell their men early on, but waited until the first date. But that’s such a dangerous game to play…

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This is not the stereotype you’re looking for. A couple years back in Des Moines, two transwomen were headed up north for a funeral and stopped at a hotel. Shortly after checking in police arrested them for being transgender and black while using a hotel, or more officially detained on suspicion of prostitution and one arrested and charged to 30 days in jail for not having her prescription with her medications (later overturned, because that’s not illegal). The hotel staff initially called the police, because they thought they were sex workers. There is a common stereotype that transwomen are all sex workers. There is some truth to the fact that society’s ostracization of transgender people leads many to sex work for sheer survival reasons. But this is not the profession of choice for most transgender people any more than it is for cisgender people (person who identifies with the same gender as they were assigned at birth). This isn’t to say that being a sex worker is wrong – I’ll leave that topic for another time – but people are having to resort to something they don’t like or don’t want to do. Furthermore, the instance of fetishism among transgender people really is no more than cisgender people. Transgender people are no more or less sexually driven. Yet here we are, often still treated as if we are sex workers or sexual “deviants” when many of us are nothing of the sort. We have just as much right to be sexual as anyone. We can be sexual without being sexualized. If this article has a thesis, that’s it. We can be sexual without being sexualized. Instead of people not being “into that,” treating us like sex workers or fetishists at first glance, we deserve to be treated like human beings, to have people be into who we are as people, to be treated with respect for our personality and intelligence, to have people understand that we have physical issues we are trying to address to not just better fit what you’re looking for – because I want my vagina as much as you do – but also to become who we know we are. And we deserve to be allowed to be sexual without being chastised for it. Sexuality is natural and beautiful, and just as any cisgender person should be allowed to be sexual, so should we. So for this Valentine’s Day, I’d like to be treated like an average human being who is both sexual AND respected in all the aspects of love and relationships that we all wrestle with: respect, trust, friendship, commitment, and most of all communication. So to all the straight guys out there – reading a gay magazine? – please up your game. Learn to treat women with respect, regardless of what they’ve got between their legs, because they want what you want just as badly as you do.


Public Welcome Thanks to a generous donation from our sponsors the workshop is free to the public. Doors open: at 12:30 for registration and networking. Coffee and snacks provided. REGISTER HERE: register-events Brought to you by the Dubuque Chapter of Iowa Interfaith Power & Light and Iowa Interfaith Power & Light and our sponsors: Church of the Resurrection Holy Trinity Lutheran Trailhead Energy Westminster Presbyterian Church Mission Team For more information, contact Sarah at:

Green Team Training Day Sunday, February 19, 2017, 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Sisters of the Presentation, 2360 Carter Rd, Dubuque, IA

Bring a team from your congregation to form a new Green Team or to strengthen your existing Green Team! The training will include: Panel presentation of successful efforts to care for creation by area congregations: • Reducing energy use and how they funded it • Creating food bank gardens • Reducing congregational waste • Green cleaning options Materials, tips and resources to help plan your green team and to assess your congregation. Time to plan, network, and browse a “green solutions fair” from local green organizations. Pre-registration required. What is Iowa Interfaith Power & Light? The mission of Iowa Interfaith Power & Light is to engage and equip people of faith to become leaders in addressing the environmental and social justice consequences of climate change. We inspire Iowa’s faith communities to embrace environmental stewardship as central to their religious convictions. We work together as people of faith to address climate change and lead by example in reducing our individual and collective carbon footprints for the benefit of present and future generations.

Far From Home Do you think there are enough female figures in Russian politics? Albina: No. In actual politics in Russia today, there are none. If there are women, they are just like pieces on a chessboard. They are ruled and because in politics it is impossible to survive as a woman, because it is the world of men. This is the Russian mentality. A woman for some of them isn’t a human. There used to be one woman in the government – Irina Hakamda. She was for two years, I think, in the ministry for small businesses. They didn’t let her stay, for she is half Japanese. Her father was a Japanese revolutionary and her mother was half Armenian, half Russian. I think that her Japanese culture helped her be very, very resilient. She was a nominee for the Nobel peace prize. There is a very interesting story, when she and her fourth husband, and he is her husband so far… By the way, her daughter has Down syndrome. That’s why she gave birth to her in the United States – because the attitude in Russia is just disgusting. When her daughter was six she had cancer, and at that time she and her husband realized that if they wanted their daughter to survive, if they want to have energy through the struggle, she should run for the presidency. So she is the only woman who ran for presidency in Russia at that time. Alexander: And how did people feel about it? Albina: Of course, she didn’t even have any hopes to win, but the fact is that she did it; she was one of the candidates. So, she and her husband were on a voyage with some American politicians and some of the Americans sitting at the same dinner table with them were very arrogant. They thought that she was just a woman who couldn’t afford to pay for the dinner. One of them said, “Don’t worry, the food is paid for. You can eat.” She had to explain that her position in the Russian parliament was the same as the position of a congressman in the United States. The American guy was very much surprised. She would like to get into the Russian parliament with the party that she thinks can change the economy. It is called the “party of growth”. She is the only woman who could survive her position, you see. She was not just a puppet. When she was tried to be made a puppet, she left. Alexander: So she is also a very qualified and competent at what she does. Albina: Yes! She has her PHD. She is the one who started the Russian Stock Exchange. She was one of the team.

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Alexander: So you think she also suffered discrimination because of her race? Albina: Her third husband, an oligarch, once said to her, “Look at yourself. Just pronounce your last name. Do you think with your face and your name you will make it?” Anyway, she got a position in the Duma and left her husband. Now she gives seminars and lectures. Some of them are only for women. She had the opportunity to leave the country, but she says this is the country of her language, her culture. She is doing everything she can to change the society, to change the mentality. Even the thousand people who attend her seminars leave with new ideas. How is your experience as a woman in Russia different from that of your parents, of your mother? Albina: First of all, in the Soviet Union, when I had an Armenian last name, my maiden name, I felt the discrimination and more than once, even in situations where there shouldn’t have been any discrimination. This is a very strong issue in Russia today. Now with my Russian last name, it is different. Still, when there is no necessity, I do not specify my nationality because it will have an impact. I will be discriminated against and considered to be of a different

sort. There is a very strong tendency still with Russian people to discriminate. Please share any other ideas you are compelled to share! Albina: Like elsewhere in the world, [women in cities have more opportunities than women in rural areas]. Women in big cities are broadminded, are more educated and they know about their opportunities. They have access to information. In some villages there is still no gas, there is still no modern conveniences, no heating, no running water. They have television, they have their channel number 1 or 2, and this is all the information they get. Alexander: Alyona, you visited the United States. Do you have any observations to share? What are your own religious beliefs, by the way? Alyona: My friend Violeta and I started going to church to eat their food. But in Russia, especially in the orthodox church, there is the idea that you are supposed to smack your head into the floor while praying, to suffer and make up for your sins, to break the skin… when I went to the US, I was surprised that the youth that attended church went not because they wanted to pray for their sins, but, it seemed, to have fun. They played drums, played guitars, met with their friends, sang songs. They want to be viewed as believers, they want to be seen as religious and spiritual people – it brings them happiness. But In Russia, there is an understanding that religious folks have to suffer and be beaten down. If you are pious, you are not interesting, you are quiet, but in the US it is something to be proud of. I was surprised in the US they had such a different attitude. But I didn’t like them, really. They seemed to be pretentious… or too satisfied.

Protestant. In a way, Protestant is closest to my belief. I feel they represent freedom of views. But I always thought you shouldn’t adapt your spiritual belief for yourself. I had a friend named Dasha, who, every week, changed her religion. She’d come to me and say, “Alyona, I’m orthodox.” No, in orthodox Christianity, you can’t do this or that. Then she became a Buddhist. Then she became a lesbian, and asked me, “If you are a lesbian, can you be a Protestant?” I would say, “Not really.” She said, “Alyona, I don’t know what religion I should choose.” Angrily, I asked, “Are you adapting yourself to a religion, or do you want to make the religion suit you?” It’s a difficult question. In my life there have been difficult situations that proved to me that some higher order exist. Mariya: My views are similar to Alyona’s. I support her in her views. If before I could say I was one hundred percent Orthodox, it was due to my age; now, it’s difficult for me to say. I can’t come up with a final decision to compare. I haven’t been to any religious institution but Orthodox churches and never heard any other religious doctrine taught. But I also believe there is something higher than us. I also experienced many things that could only be explained by that. Christianity is surely the closest to us. With no more questions on the list, Alexander begins to say “thank you”s and “goodbye”s. I am very grateful to the three of them for giving me a little more insight into Russian life – especially the parts of life that are often kept secret. I ruminate now: what can I do to be an ally to the LGBTQ community of the world? From here, can I make a difference? The first thing I can do is to open the door to understanding – this is the fundamental place where we all begin to find love for one another. The cat wails again.

Alexander: Are you a Christian?

Mariya: How old is your cat?

Alyona: That’s a difficult question. I consider myself spiritual. At this particular moment, Christianity is something that’s the closest to my spirituality. On the other hand, I am still searching. It’s not like tomorrow I will be devoted to Krishna… unless you are fully invested, you can’t consider yourself a devotee of Krishna, nor a

Alyona: Ten months.

Alexander: And she is already ready to reproduce? Alyona: Bred cats reproduce more often.

February 2017 | Co-ZINE





by Ellen Dettmer

s the hours ticked away on the night of November 8th, I found myself thinking “Is this real life? Is this really happening?” After months of hearing the awful, vulgar things Donald Trump said in the news regarding immigrants, disabled people, women, minorities and many others, I was shocked that America said to the world that we support it. That Iowa was colored red in support of this man who offended so many and offered hope to so few. I am not an overly political person, which is naive and born of my privilege as a middle-class white woman. But, as is the same for so many, the results of November 8th inspired me to become more aware, more involved and more vocal about my rights that were threatened under the Trump administration. That’s how I found myself walking

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down Main Street towards the Town Clock Plaza on January 21st towards my first protest: the Women’s March in Dubuque. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the march. Having lived in Dubuque for the past seven years, I’ve been witness to the fantastic progress in this city, but also to steadfast, old-fashioned ideals. Throughout the day, I heard the news: record numbers across the nation in our sister marches. I thought, “Please let there be more than just a few people there.” When I arrived at the Town Clock plaza, I was overwhelmed by the crowd. According to the Telegraph Herald, there were an estimated 400 people packed into the Town Clock plaza. There were women, men, young couples, religious sisters, and small

children packed together, holding signs in solidarity. I immediately started talking to my fellow protesters to understand why they were there.

ican Citizens encouraged protesters not to lose hope and to stand for what they believe in, whether that be reproductive rights, education, or immigration.

“I wanted to support the women around me and be part of history,” said Emily Schlueter, a young woman who lives in Dubuque. “Growing up in Southern California, it seems as though people who don’t live in Iowa tend to think of Iowa as out-of-date, but this march can prove that’s not true. That Iowa, especially Dubuque, is modern and people want to support the rights that are important to them.”

What struck me the most was how many young children were present at the march, holding signs. I approached a mother and her young daughter and asked what brought them to the protest. Julia Smith, the mother, said, “Several issues are important to us, such as women’s rights, public schools and environmental issues. [My daughter] Molly and I had a serious talk about coming here and she takes it seriously. She also stands for these things and we are both concerned about these issues. She really did want to come. I told her she is the future and that it’s important for all children to take these

Speakers such as Mary Rae Bragg, president of the League of Women Voters of Iowa, and Dora Serna, a representative of the Dubuque chapter of the League of United Latin Amer-

things seriously and stand up for what they believe in.” When Molly was asked about being at the protest she said, “I wanted to come with my mom and we hope we are going to help change history.” After talking with Molly, Julia and Sarah, I stood there and soaked the experience in. Even though I felt lonely on the night of November 8th, I was surrounded by people who were as angry and as determined as I was to make change. I was energized to know that so many people in Dubuque were ready to fight for the rights of everyone, and I look forward to fighting alongside them in the years to come. More photos on the next page.

February 2017 | Co-ZINE


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February 2017 | Co-ZINE


The L.I.F.E System Biofeedback Unit is the most advanced, non-invasive, health screening unit designed to aid in the reduction of stress and muscle relaxation. • May improve well-being • Can help alleviate pain • Take charge of your health today! Contact Karen Egan Appointments: Saturdays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Weekday Evenings available upon request. Cell: 563-543-5667

Spotlight on MAT Provider, Mercy Turning Point Originally published in “A Matter of Substance: A publication of the IDPH Division of Behavioral Health, Bureau of Substance Abuse” newsletter, January 2017

Mercy Turning Point Treatment Center is an outpatient treatment program provided by Mercy Medical Center Dubuque. Mercy Turning Point provides evaluation and treatment services to adolescents (ages 12 and up), adults, and their families. The treatment team includes six counselors, one certified nurse assistant, a pediatric psychologist, and three waivered physicians. As part of the larger medical center, Mercy Psychiatric Services Registered Nurses assist with Suboxone inductions and Mercy Community Education Nurses provide bi-monthly Naloxone trainings, including airway management and rescue breathing, for the community. In August, 2016, Mercy Turning Point celebrated 30 years of providing high quality therapy wrapped in 12-Step philosophy. In 2014-2015, Turning Point saw a dramatic increase in the demand for substance abuse consultations and provided 555 consults across every department within Mercy Medical Center. These consults improved patient outcomes by treating the whole person, decreasing length of hospital stay, reducing the likelihood of readmission within 30 days, and improving patient satisfaction – all important data points and ways to use data to assure best practice and quality of care. Mercy has established an Opioid Executive Team where urgent conversations regarding leading the community effort to combat the illicit heroin/synthetic fentanyl/opioid crisis are facilitated. Mercy Turning Point was selected as a Medication Assisted Treatment—Iowa provider and has been providing medical evaluations and pharmacological management to Turning Point and Substance Abuse Services Center (SASC) patients since December 2015. Their waivered physicians have treated over 80 patients with severe Opioid Use Disorder and Alcohol Use Disorder. The majority of these patients have had positive therapeutic responses to Suboxone therapy and/or other medications. Patients have experienced reductions in withdrawal symptoms and cravings while demonstrating increased motivation and treatment engagement. One patient stated, “I have never come out on top before in my life, but this time I am.” Despite the successful implementation of MAT services, Dubuque County has seen 23 opioid overdoses — including 12 fatal overdoses — since March 1, 2016. The need remains urgent across the state to do whatever we can to save lives and stop the opioid epidemic. Mercy Turning Point is proud to be a Medication Assisted Treatment provider and commits to continuing to improve their treatment services. For more information, please visit

February 2017 | Co-ZINE




Since 1971, the ALA has been presenting outstanding authors of the LGBTQ+ community with the Stonewall Book Awards. They also honor many other books that relate to the LGBTQ+ experience in the world today. This February, we recommend, invite and challenge you to read as many of last year's winners as possible. George by Alex Gino (children's fiction) - George knows she isn't George, and her friend Kelly helps her find confidence in who she truly is. Speak Now: Marriage Equality on Trial by Kenji Yoshino (non-fiction) - the story of Hollingsworth v. Perry The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg (young adult fiction) - When disillusioned Carson meets Aisha, they begin to discover themselves. Apocalypse Baby by Virginie Despentes (fiction) - Lucie and the Hyena search for a missing young woman through Paris and Barcelona. Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis (biography) The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle by Lillian Faderman (non-fiction) - LGBTQ civil rights Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smith (children's) - A children's book that includes families of all types and all identities. Wonders of the Invisible World by Christopher Barzak (young adult fiction) - Aiden learns to acknowledge his psychic experiences and finds the truth about his past. Violence Against Queer People: Race, Class, Gender, and the Persistence of Anti-LGBT Discrimination by Doug Meyer (non-fiction) Marie Equi: Radical Politics and Outlaw Passions by Michael Elquist (bbiography) - Activist woman. Lum by Libby Ware (fiction) - Lum finds opportunity and loss despite her intersex condition. Jam on the Vine by LaShonda Katrice (fiction) - Ivoe Williams, an African-American journalist, lives in the twentieth century.

For Your Own Good by Leah Holrick (poetry) The Gods of Tango by Carolina de Robertis (fiction) - In 1913, seventeen year old Leda embarks for a new life with only a suitcase and her father's violin.

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What Does Your Zodiac Sign Say?

Aquarius Well... you knew that the new year was going bring change. Know it is for the best and it's a new start. You love new starts... emotions aren't always easy, still, get your crown.

discouraged or disappointed. Choose to feel them; you could better your outlook.

Leo Have you been active lately? Don't let the season blues keep you down. Rebuild your conPisces fidence and let your hair down. It'll do you Are you helping or hurting others? Don't good in seasons yet to come. speak of what you don't know. Your hearsay is damaging. Be careful bleeding your own Libra emotions toward others. Ru would slap you. It's nice to do those good deeds for others. Makes you feel better about past wrongs. Aries Hold your flag up high and love others. You are beautiful when you are in your element. Hold that flame bright! Don't hold it Scorpio Keep your loved ones close. Not the ones low for others to blow out: feed it. you've just met, but the ones who mean the Taurus most to you in life. They love you dearly too, Earth is trembling, quakes and volcanoes, and sometimes need reassurance when they're like you. Let them tremble and show them all in dark places. you're a force to be reckoned with. Sagittarius Gemini It's to be expected. You've had your fill and Sometimes you're so high, you forget to look need to move on. It's respectable. Just rememdown. Those below you aren't below you. ber that you are and will be loved even if sitSome are quite more advanced than you. uations don't work out. People don't always Don't be foolish. Get on others' level too. mean to be hurtful. Sometimes they just are too blind to see what they caused. Cancer You've been happy, right? You are a good Capricorn friend and great person. Don't ever forget that. You are a true friend. Being there is how you Remember what it means to be happy. shine brightest. Maybe being misunderstood and cynical are a part of the charm but don't Virgo forget that not everyone thinks or feels like Hardship is persistent this year. Don't be you. It will help you heal.

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ello again, my little Martians! And welcome back to The Intergalactic Gag with Elektra SuperNova! Last month, I gave you a little taste of what you could expect in my monthly column: expert tips and tricks from my motherboard to yours, sure to light a fire in your own inner glamour-toad realness! This month, I will be covering a topic that I believe is the foundation of creating a beautiful mug, from the inside out! The category is… Scale and Skincare! I cannot stress enough how important it is to take good care of your skin! Working in cosmetics and skincare, I have learned that the key to makeup application and painting that perfect mug is first creating a perfect palette to paint on. Now, I’m not saying that you need to have perfect, blemish-free skin. However, I recommend adding these three simple steps to your daily regimen: using a cleanser that is a match for your specific skin type, an exfoliator to remove dead skin cells, and a proper moisturizer (again, matched to your specific skin type). Think of your skin as a canvas. If you paint on a canvas that is rough, dry, and covered in dirt, your painting will probably turn out a little dirty. If you paint on a canvas that is clean and ready for paint, well… you get the picture (no pun intended). When choosing a cleanser, exfoliator, moisturizer, or other skincare product, it is very important to know your skin type. Is your skin very dry? Maybe your skin is more dry-combination, meaning that your skin is more dry in the cheek area, but comfortable in the T-Zone (nose and forehead). You might have oily skin, or maybe your skin is sensitive to the products you apply to it! You see there are many different types of skin, so it is important that you use products that were designed specifically to give you the moisture your skin needs, in only the areas that it need it! If you are someone that is looking for an even more advanced skincare regimen there are products on the market such as masks, serums, eye-creams, or scrubs that could be also recommended, but for the sake of simplicity, timeliness, and importance in terms of good skin and makeup application, I recommend taking just a few minutes out of your morning and evening to do these three simple

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steps. Cleanse, Exfoliate, and Moisturize! I guarantee you will see the difference in no time! Okay, this is great! Your palette is now clean, dirt-free, and moisturized! There is one more key ingredient, however, that I have found to be an absolute must before applying any makeup to the face. This ingredient is a face primer (also called a makeup or foundation primer). Think about painting a room. You move into a new home and one of the bedrooms is painted dark red, but you want to paint it a medium tan. In order to achieve the color and coverage that you are looking for, you need to first either paint the room white, or use a paint primer. Painting your face is no different! The second purpose of a foundation primer is to smooth the surface of your skin to help achieve a smooth and even complexion. There are also face primers out there that will help correct redness or discolorations. Your skin is now ready for anything your throw at it… literally! No, seriously – I once finished my makeup look by using a non-toxic spray adhesive on my face and threw glitter everywhere. One of the reasons that I love drag so much is because of the endless possibilities and the endless characters you are able to create or recreate through makeup application! I am asking all of you to participate in my seven-day moisture challenge! Choose one week in the month of February and cleanse and moisturize your face twice daily, for seven days straight! If you are already doing this, keep on keepin’ on, but for those of you who don’t, I want to hear about your findings during this challenge. Write and tell me how your skin feels afterwards. Send your experiences to for your chance to be featured in next month’s column! If you would prefer to remain anonymous, just say so in your email, and as always, I am accepting submissions for future column topics, recommendations, and questions for advice via email. Signing off for takeoff. Until next time my marvelous, little Martians! – X.O.X.O. Elektra SuperNova

February 2017 | Co-ZINE


What is Happening at Standing Rock? S

ince the spring of 2016, people from all over the world have flooded in to Standing Rock Reservation to help protect its water. Most of the reservation is in South Dakota, but Cannon Ball, the community most in danger, is in southern North Dakota. Named for its unique round stones carved by the Missouri River, Cannon Ball is a sacred place for the Standing Rock Sioux. It is under the Missouri at Cannon Ball that Energy Transfer Partners soon hopes to complete their controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.

Several encampments have appeared at Standing Rock and have housed thousands of people throughout the last year. These people are Water Protectors – indigenous peoples from across North America fighting for sovereignty and against environmental racism, people willing to risk arrest, injury and death to save the water, lawyers, doctors and healers, activists and artists – from all walks of life joining together for a common cause. This is the first time that all seven Sioux Nations have occupied the same space for the same cause in more than a century. More than 300 tribes are represented at camp. Each encampment sustains itself on generosity and community – there is no place for the dollar in the economy at Standing Rock. There are community kitchens providing hot meals, dwellings, schools and community spaces being erected daily by hard-working volunteers, medic tents where trained professionals can help ease any kind of pain you might encounter. There are no drugs, alcohol, or weapons allowed at camp. Every camper gets oriented and learns the rules of camp, of cultural respect and reverence, and undergoes direct action training where they learn the tactics and philosophy of nonviolence. The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) was originally scheduled to run under the river at Bismarck, North Dakota, a nearby, predominantly white community. The pipeline was quickly rejected by residents of Bismarck due to concerns that it would damage their water supply, and rerouted through the reservation instead. Despite the outcry of thousands of people, unapologetic environmental racism, hundreds of arrests and injuries, and damage to the environment and sacred sites, things at Standing Rock are still bad. The constant presence of Energy Transfer Partners has elicited the use of militarized police from five different states on peaceful protesters. Despite orders this autumn from the Department of Justice,

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and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the DAPL is still under construction and people are still getting hurt. In addition, the Morton County Sherriff’s Department has created a sensationalist roadblock on 1806 South into Cannon Ball to deter people from joining the camps. This has garnered an unprecedented amount of negative media coverage and also delays emergency services from reaching the residents of Cannon Ball by about 35 minutes. While the news we hear about Standing Rock can be fantastical, confusing and controversial, it is important, above all, to remember that this is a fight for indigenous rights, and it is a fight for respect of the Earth. Besides doing some research and learning the truth for yourself, here are some things you can do to help the water protectors and the Standing Rock Sioux hold their ground. Take action now. Protect the water. Protect our human future (but don’t forget that anyone you call is human too!).

Contact Doug Burgum, the new governor of North Dakota, and tell him why he should help stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Phone: (701) 328-2200 Fax: (701) 328-2205 Call the White House and express your concerns about the sovereignty of native nations and the environmental repercussions of this project. Phone: (202)-456-1111 Call Energy Transfer Partners and tell them our future is more important than their greed. Lee Hanse, owner & executive vice president: (210)-403-6455 Glenn Emery, vice president: (210)-403-6762 Michael Waters, lead analyst: (713)-989-2404 Contact the Morton County Sheriff ’s Department and Correctional Center. Demand that they release water protectors arrested unfairly and that they cease and desist. Phone: (701) 667-3318







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