Lavender Magazine 756

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LAVENDER MAY 16-29, 2024 4 ISSUE 756 May 16-29, 2024 CONTENTS 10 ON THE COVER Mrs. Moxie. Photo by Randy Stern 28: Photo courtesy of Phil Skrbec/Range Iron Pride, 10: Photo by Mike
12: Photo by Glen Stubbe Photography, 30: Photo by Randy
16 2024 Regional Pride Festival Calendar 18 Northfield is “Out In The Open” – With Mrs. Moxie 22 East Central Minnesota Pride: Hosting Community Pride Since 2005 26 Cultivating Community – The Story of Hopkins Pride 28 Range Iron Pride Festival Expands to a Three-day Celebration as the LGBTQ Community Grows Closer 30 Celebrating Pride with the Chippewa Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center 30 12 OUR LAVENDER 8 From the Editor 9 A Word in Edgewise OUR SCENE 10 Eat The Menu: Camden Social 12 Review: A Year With Frog And Toad OUR RESOURCES 32 Community Connection 33 The Network OUR LIVES 34 Mark My Words: From Dream to Reality – LGBTQ+ Senior Housing Triumphs 28
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Managing Editor Randy Stern 612-461-8723

Editorial Assistant Linda Raines 612-436-4660

Editor Emeritus Ethan Boatner

Editorial Associate George Holdgrafer

Contributors Lakey Bridge, Buer Carlie, Natasha DeLion, Alyssa Homeier, Terrance Griep, Elise Maren, Jen PeeblesHampton, Linda Raines, Gabrielle Reeder, Alexander Reed, Gabrielle Reeder, Madison Roth, Jamez L. Smith, Susan Swavely, Carla Waldemar, Todd P. Walker, Emma Walytka, Spencer White


Vice President of Sales & Advertising

Barry Leavitt 612-436-4690

Account Executives

Nathan Johnson 612-436-4695

Richard Kranz 612-436-4675

Advertising Associate George Holdgrafer

Sales & Event Administration Linda Raines 612-436-4660

National Sales Representatives Rivendell Media 212-242-6863


Creative/Digital Director Mike Hnida 612-436-4679

Photographer Sophia Hantzes


Publisher Lavender Media, Inc.

President & CEO Stephen Rocheford 612-436-4665

Chief Financial Officer Doug Starkebaum 612-436-4664

Administrative Assistant Michael Winikoff 612-436-4660

Distribution Metro Periodical Partners 612-281-3249

Founders George Holdgrafer, Stephen Rocheford

Inspiration Steven W. Anderson (1954-1994), Timothy J. Lee (1968-2002), Russell Berg (1957-2005), Kathryn Rocheford (1914-2006), Jonathan Halverson (1974-2010), Adam Houghtaling (1984-2012), Walker Pearce (1946-2013), Tim Campbell (1939-2015), John Townsend (1959-2019)


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Entire contents copyright 2024. All rights reserved. Publication of the name or photograph of any person, organization, or business in this magazine does not reflect upon one’s sexual orientation whatsoever. Lavender Magazine reserves the right to refuse any advertising. This issue of Lavender® Magazine is available free of charge during the time period published on the cover. Pickup at one of our distribution sites is limited to one copy per person. Letters are subject to editing for grammar, punctuation, space, and libel. They should be no more than 300 words. Letters must include name, address, and phone number. Unsigned letters will not be published. Priority will be given to letters that refer to material previously published in Lavender Magazine. Submit letters to Lavender Magazine, Letters to the Editor, 5100 Eden Ave, Suite 107, Edina, MN 55436 or e-mail For our Privacy Policy, go to privacy-policy Lavender 2016 Magazine of the Year Volume 29, Issue 756 • May 16-29, 2024 LAVENDER MAY 16-29, 2024 6 lawyers you know. Locally sourced advocacy and advice from 612.339.7121 Custody & Parenting Time • Child Support Dissolution • Spousal Maintenance Complex Valuation • Domestic Partnership Adoption • Third Party Custody • Appeals DREAM V ISION PLAN Relational Financial Planning Roya Moltaji, CFP®, ChFC®, CASLTM, CAP® Senior Financial Planner, Financial Services Representative 2013 Quorum Business Leader of the Year 100 S 5th St, Suite 2300, Minneapolis MN 55402 Call Roya today at 952-769-2126 WWW.ROYAMOLTAJI.COM Securities and investment advisory services offered through qualified registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. Roya, LLC is not a subsidiary or affiliate of MML Investors Services, LLC, or its affiliated companies. CRN202010-238440

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Fly Your Flag Wherever You Are!

Pride Season is here! Are you ready to fly your flag?

There’s a lot of flags to fly. One for each identity we embrace and celebrate. At any given pride event, you will see them flying high. Or, worn as capes.

No matter which flag you salute, there’s a Pride celebration near you. Based on our Pride calendar, we anticipate over 40 such events across our region from May into October.

Last year, I set out to visit a number of Pride events across the state of Minnesota. Stops were made in Rochester, Northfield, Golden Valley, Marshall, Alexandria, Chaska, Monticello, West St. Paul, Columbia Heights, and Austin.

Why so many Pride events? And, why those locations?

Consider the history of our state. Not just the recent history, but in going back 50 or so years. The progress we made to get to the point where we do not need a culturally specific neighborhood to live in or to patronize. That was 25 years ago, when people thought

that to be LGBTQ+, you had to migrate to the Twin Cities.

Thanks to the Internet and other forms of connectivity, you can be LGBTQ+ anywhere in the world – almost. That is why you are seeing a lot of regional, small town, and suburban LGBTQ+ Pride events and community organizations springing up across the Upper Midwest. The response has been tremendous!

It is easy for a Twin Cities-based LGBTQ+ magazine to only serve its home area. That’s not how I see things. For the past two years, I

believe that there are many stories to be told beyond the Interstate 494 and 694 loop. I encouraged us to tell those stories – and we’re doing so.

By going to places across the state, it provided a sense of place. Of what is happening on the ground a few hours away from home. To see the positives and the challenges each community face. To see new people who have a story to tell.

If you’re looking for justification to attend one of these Pride events across the state – and no disrespect to Twin Cities Pride – this quote from one of the original board members of East Central Minnesota Pride, Don Quaintance, said it best:

“Small-town pride events are the ones that create the change. It’s easy to blend in with 500,000 of your friends at the Twin Cities Pride festival and another to be one of 500 in Pine City. That takes a good deal of courage.”

This is the year to celebrate close to home. Your home. 

LAVENDER MAY 16-29, 2024 8
Photo by Randy Stern

Rereading for Enrichment

Emily Dickinson had it pegged when she wrote: “There is no Frigate like a Book / To take us Lands away” etc. For those not physically travelling this summer, there are such frigates bound anywhere you desire, and more; to mix metaphors, you can fill old vessels with new wine.

Favorite volumes can reveal hidden treasures upon a second reading, and, while not all of my choices here are directly related to Pride, or are even volumes in the LGBT canon, looking back from a more advanced age, those that have made the biggest impact on me dealt with the very subjects of “otherness,” personal pain, and persistence despite barriers, issues whose successful confrontation we celebrate at this time.

We all have those Need-to-Read stacks, old classics by Dickens, Trollope, George Sand, Henry James, Edith Wharton that we’ve always meant to read later, having avoided them through high school and college. But I’ve finally accepted that Ulysses is a non-starter–though I did read Moby Dick on my honeymoon. (Foreshadowing the demise of that union.)

I’m not suggesting anyone drudge through untried tomes in summer’s heat, but to revisit

some books you’ve already enjoyed to find a second reading as a different stage of life opens new vistas.

One of mine is Laura Hillenbrand’s 1999 Seabiscuit (she also penned Unbroken). I recently gave Seabiscuit–the horse–a second run, amazed at how much I’d overlooked. Like Unbroken, it’s a meticulously researched non-fiction saga replete with heroism, long odds and a final triumph, both human and equine; a fast track right out of the gate.

Hillenbrand was in college in 1987 when she was stricken with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) which rendered her nearly immobile for years. Wil S. Hylton, in a 2014 New York Times piece, noted, “One peculiarity of [CFS] is the degree to which it can remain invisible,” and Hillenbrand herself reports anger at the lack of respect and the disbelief both the public and many in the medical profession have towards CFS, now also termed “myalgic encephalomyelitis,” or M.E.. She faced those demons of “otherness,” personal pain with persistence despite barriers. And she won.

Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles expands with a reread. Published in 1950, long before any space vehicles had been launched, and well before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Bradbury dealt with “other” segments of the human community and humanity’s resistance to fairness and inclusion.

E.B. White’s Stuart Little is more than a children’s book and (though I dislike breaking butterflies on the wheel) is a poignant look into the Little family’s predicament when their eagerly awaited infant son arrives as a mouse. Otherness, independence, love…themes we experience differently at the various stations of our lives.

Bill Watterson’s cartoon, Calvin and Hobbes We sold the first book of collected strips at The Million Year Picnic comic store in April, 1987, and I’ve been collecting and reading them ever since. Hilarious, but where would Calvin fit beyond his eternal six years? Fortunately, I don’t need to know, but the pair has suggested several personal options as they remain the same and I grow older. And older.

What have books have you loved? Which have given you pause? Try rereading–and marvel at what further treasures you’ll unearth. 


Camden Social

Where I live in downtown Minneapolis, when it comes to dining, I’m spoiled for choice: Beard-tapped kitchens like Spoon & Stable, Restaurant Alma, Owamni. Haute or homey French, from Maison Margaux to Chloe. Ethnic eateries spanning Thai to Japanese, Mexican to Moroccan.

But tonight, I whine, I’m yearning for someplace more down-to-earth, unpretentious, safe from whiz-kid experiments, bitty portions on big white plates, driven by ego-stoked, bold-name kitchen gods. In other words, where’s a roadhouse when you need one?

In a near-north ‘hood, that’s where. It’s called Camden Social, serving Camden’s clientele of all colors, shapes and ages who’ve adopted it as their go-to clubhouse. It opened a couple of years ago but looks like it’s been around forever, supported by locals who count a warm atmosphere, food you recognize and love to eat, and friendly servers more important than Michelin stars. Yes, the roadhouse I was craving, hiding in plain sight.

Blackened Catfish, Interior, Sausage & Caramelized Onion Flatbread, Buttermilk Fried Chicken. Photos by Mike Hnida

It was launched in 2022 by two couples familiar with the city’s dining scene, one of whom—Gerard and Brittney Klass—recently debuted Klassics, the new café in the building where I live in the Mill District, and thus ethically off-limits for me to review. So I took the opportunity to enjoy an evening on their home turf. (For the record, Mr. Klass previously has worked in local kitchens including under Wolfgang Puck at the former 20.21 and then Crave, before opening his successful counter-service Soul Bowl in a North Loop food court.)

At Camden Social on a recent Wednesday evening, a violinist roamed among the tables, a la Fiddler on the Roof. The bar stools facing a lineup of prestige bottles were all taken. A chandelier sparkled a greeting over the deep-sea blue dressing the walls, all working, as Mr. Klass has said, to “take everything you’ve heard about North Minneapolis and throw it out the window” and forge a “new narrative” about the neighborhood.

Done, and done, starting with a classy cocktail list, from which we chose the “Is Your Name Fonzie?”, a Remy-based Old Fashioned ($12). The Frenchman Street, topped with a frothy egg white, channels New Orleans, as does some of the menu. The rest salutes country cooking, including the lusty Black kitchens of the South, tweaked by chef-y touches that elevate it from simple duplications.

For instance: black-eyed peas, for sure—but here, formed into golf-ball-size croquettes, accompanied by a meadow of arugula fired with chipotles and pickled fresno chilis, $12. Delicious! Or the collard green dip, served warm—the kitchen’s rich and earthy spin on the customary artichoke dipper of many a local menu, incorporating Parmesan, cheddar, and more chipotles under a streusel scattering of cornbread crumbs. It’s served with flatbread chips.

We made a huge mistake and failed to order the fast-becoming-famous Camden wings, dressed in a house rub, $18. Other starters range from smoked salmon croquettes to a smoked blue and butter Bibb salad or a sausage and caramelized onion flatbread.

But we were yearning for the shrimp & grits, $19, incorporating heirloom tomatoes with the Creole-braised critters. So, alas, was everyone else, so the kitchen had run out. (The weeping heard throughout the restaurant seemed to be coming from our table).

We made amends with an order of buttermilk-fried chicken ($18)—sweet, juicy and tender meat enrobed in a spice-scented (was it cinnamon? Could be nutmeg?), crackly crust. It comes—as it should!—with black-eyed peas, as well as fresnoes, green onion and—this is mandatory—a husky hunk of cornbread: semi-tender, semi-sweetened, just as (if you’re lucky with your genes) your granny made it.

The blackened catfish ($18) beckoned us, too. The lightly-spiced fillets proved sweet, fresh and tender, ably accompanied by a flurry of sweet corn and—the Carla Test of a deeply Southern kitchen—a heap of grits. I like my grits to flaunt their corn-y flavor and offer a bit of textural bravado rather than sinking into pudding territory. These provided ample body but heavier on the sweetness scale than the grits of my dreams.

Other entrees to investigate include a fried chicken BLT and a well-dressed Camden burger. Plus the dish that’s got folks talking— a unique fish & spaghetti combo for the terminally undecided: this union featuring deep-fried, batter-coated salmon and a lemon-buffalo butter sauce along with the usual pomodoro ($20).

And now the number I’ve been waiting for all evening as I patiently made my way through apps and entrees: the kitchen’s legendary caramel cake ($10)—the dream dessert of many a Southern church basement supper. Out came a sturdy square of yellow sheet cake transformed by a creamy house-made caramel sauce, buttery and smooth, plus butter toffee sprinkles and a scoop of vanilla ice cream to gild every bite. It’s good—fine, in fact, but not swoon material. There’s also a white chocolate bread pudding served with berries on the menu.

The evening proved a sum of its parts—none of them a perfect ten—but altogether a comfy, enjoyable experience among neighbors—just what a roadhouse should be. 

Camden Social 4601 Lyndale Ave. N. (612) 489-8073


Review: A Year With Frog And Toad

On the opening night for A Year with Frog and Toad, my niece and I arrived to the Children’s Theatre in borderline matching outfits: heavy boots and short, flowy dresses. As we mounted the stairs, chatting about her most recent sleepover, we were delighted to find an opening night party in the lobby. We grabbed a couple frog-themed friendship bracelets, increased our twinning quotient with complimentary Frog and Toad tattoos, and hit up the photobooth a couple times. By the time we finished meandering the lobby and entered the theater itself, we were primed to adore anything that appeared on that stage.

And adore it we did. From the moment that conductor Victor Zupanc, clad in his signature black and gold blazer, waved at the audience (“I didn’t know he was in there!!” my niece whispered excitedly) to the final bows from the exuberant five-person cast, my niece and I and the entire audience were all in on A Year with Frog and Toad

A Year with Frog and Toad is inspired by the series of children’s books written by Arnold Lobel in the 1970s. These books – and the play by extension – are characterized by the warm, earthy tones that the ’70s were known for. Set designer and daughter of the author, Adrianne Lobel, created the sets of A Year with Frog and Toad, which pay loving homage to her father’s original art. Rather than rely on the bright colors and chaos that characterizes so much of modern children’s entertainment, this play has full confidence in its ability to capture and hold attention through the simple adventures of two best friends told through song.

Photos by Glen Stubbe Photography
Continued on page 14

Children’s Theatre Company superfans might recognize this musical. Commissioned by Adriane Lobel and written by Robert and Willie Reale, A Year with Frog and Toad first premiered at the theater in August of 2002. It was nominated for three Tonys and moved to Broadway in 2003. Since then, this charming, all-ages show has returned to CTC a handful of times, with the last time being in the spring of 2017. The remounting of this heartwarming, all-ages show is a welcome treat.

This year’s production has a great cast. Frog (John-Michael Zuerlein) and Toad (Reed Sigmund) have great chemistry and Sigmund especially has the comedic timing needed for a role like Toad. The rest of the woodland creatures are played by Becca Claire Hart, Ryan London Levin, and Janely Rodriguez. The audience is first introduced to them as a trio of migrating birds, after which they return as mice, squirrels, lizards, moles, and more.

The structure of A Year with Frog and Toad is simple: it is one year in the life of two best friends. Frog is the patient, fastidious, and self-assured friend. Toad, by way of contrast, is impatient, lackadaisical, and self-conscious. Still, the two of them love each other deeply. Whether they are secretly raking each other’s yards, flying kites together, telling scary stories over tea, or literally showing up in each other’s dreams, the pair are as committed to each other as two friends can be.

Considering the closeness of Frog and Toad and the fact that Arnold Lobel came out as gay later in life, there are theories that Frog and Toad

might be more than friends. Whether their relationship is platonic or romantic, though, the moral of the show stays the same: life is made brighter and better when we have someone we love to share it with.

A Year with Frog and Toad – which is a whopping two hours long plus intermission – flew by in a rush of silly jokes, catchy tunes, and anthropomorphized animal antics. The music is great throughout, but my niece and


I both agreed that aside from “Cookies” (which, yes, did influence us into buying and sharing one of the jumbo T-Rex cookies at intermission), almost all of our favorite songs were in the second act. My niece loved “He’ll Never Know” in which the two friends conspire to secretly do chores for each other. I loved “Toad to the Rescue” in which Toad convinces himself that although he might be afraid he can still be brave. We both loved the scary story song “Shivers”.

Oh. And we, along with the entire audience, loved every. Single. Snail. Mail. Solo.

One of the delights of opening night is seeing an actor realize that their character is going to be a fan favorite. This is exactly what happened with the mail-carrying snail played by Levin. Early in the play Frog gives Snail a letter to deliver to Toad. It takes Snail an entire year to finish the task, which means that there are several interludes throughout the play in which Snail expounds on his newfound passion and purpose: delivering mail. Levin got a little hammier with each solo and the audience returned his energy with cheers, rhythmic clapping, and probably more laughs than Levin was expecting. It was a joy.

This is a charming piece of theater, best enjoyed with a little one (or two or three) at your side. “Getta a Loada Toad” along with all of his cold- and hot-blooded friends at the Children’s Theatre Company this spring.

A Year with Frog and Toad runs through June 16. Tickets are available online or through the box office, both of which are listed below. 

A Year with Frog and Toad Children's Theatre Company

2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis (612) 874-0400

One Main St. SE, Suite 206 • Minneapolis Depend on my team for Integrity Experience Results

Regional Pride Festival Calendar


Rochester Pride

May 18 • Noon – 5 PM • Soldiers Field, Rochester, MN


East Central Minnesota Pride

June 1 • Noon – 5 PM • Robinson Park, 200 5th St. SE, Pine City, MN

Northfield Pride in the Park

June 1 • 12:00 – 4:00 PM • Central Park, 421 4th St. E., Northfield, MN

Marshall Pride Celebration

June 7 – 9 • Independence Park, Marshall, MN

Chippewa Valley Pride In The Park 2024

June 8 • Phoenix Park, Eau Claire, WI

Golden Valley Pride

June 8 • 12 :00 -6 :00 PM • Brookview Park, Golden Valley, MN

Hastings Pride Festival

June 8 • Levee Park, Hastings, MN

Sioux Falls Pride

June 8 • Sioux Falls, SD

South St. Paul Pride Festival

June 8 • 11AM – 4 PM • Central Square, South St. Paul 6169297&idorvanity=992526321853478

Fergus Pride

June 15 – 13 • Pebble Lake Park, Fergus Falls, MN

Thunder Pride

June 15 • Waverley Park, Thunder Bay, Ontario

Cook County Pride

June 15 • 8 AM – 11 :55 PM • The Hub, Harbor Park, and more all around Grand Marais, MN

Hopkins Pride

June 15 • Hopkins, MN

Eden Prairie Party for Pride

June 15 • Staring Lake Amphitheater, Eden Prairie, MN

St. Paul Pride

June 15 • Mears Park Parade: 11 AM • Rice Park Festival: Noon – 10 PM

Brookings Pride

June 22 • Brookings, SD

Chaska Pride Celebration

June 22 • Hosted by Chaska Human Rights Commission • 619 Creek Road, Chaska Veteran’s Park, Chaska, MN

Valley Wide Pride Fest

June 22 • Lakefront Park, Hudson, WI

Itasca Pride Fest

June 23 • Old Central School, Grand Rapids, MN

Marshfield Pride

June 29 • Wenzel Family Plaza, 120 W. 2nd. St., Marshfield, WI

Twin Cities Pride

June 29 – 30 • Loring Park, Minneapolis, MN

LAVENDER MAY 16-29, 2024 16
events are subject to change or cancellation. Please check individual websites before attending to confirm information is correct.
Photo by Randy Stern. All


West St. Paul Pride

July 12 – 13 • Roll Into WSP Pride Skate Party at Harmon Park (Fri) • 11 AM –5PM (Sat) • West Saint Paul Sports Complex, St. Paul, MN

Lake Area Pride – Pride In The Park

July 13 • 10 AM – 4 PM • Afterparty at Brewgo from 6 – 8 PM, gathering until close! • City Park, 118 City Park Rd., Alexandria, MN

Wright Sherburne Pride

July 20 • 11 AM – 4PM • Ellison Park, Monticello, MN


Range Iron Pride

August 10 • Virginia, MN

Fargo-Moorhead Pride

August 10 – 11 • Saturday Festival at Island Park, Fargo, Sunday Parade in downtown Fargo.

Twin Cities People of Color LGBT Pride

August 18 • 10 AM – 4 PM • Powderhorn Park, Minneapolis, MN

Bemidji Pride

August 24 • Rail River Folk School, Bemidji, MN

Carver County Pride

August 31 • Carver County Fairgrounds, Waconia, MN

Duluth Superior Pride

August 31 – September 2 • Bayfront Park, Duluth, MN


La Crosse Pride in the Park

September 7 • 11 AM – 6 PM • Riverside Park, La Crosse, WI

South Central Minnesota Pride

September 7 • Riverfront Park, Mankato, MN

St. Cloud Pride

September 16 – 22 • Lake George/Eastman Park, St. Cloud, MN

Columbia Heights Pride

September 21 • 10 AM – 4 PM • Kordiak Park, Columbia Heights, MN


Decorah Pride

October 12 • Downtown Decorah, IA


Mrs. Moxie

Northfield is “Out In The Open” – With

Twenty years ago, I visited Northfield, Minnesota for the first time. It was a town nestled between two universities with a mix of ideas. Perhaps a sea of tolerance in Rice County.

In the past few years, the LGBTQ+ community brought themselves out in the open. The Northfield Pride at The Park has been held at their Central Park – just east of the bustling Division Street. They will hold their fourth annual event on June 1.

However, Northfield is becoming a year-round center for LGBTQ+ life. One would look no further than its most visible personality around town.

Meet Mrs. Moxie – Greater Minnesota’s drag queen, radio host, and beacon for rural LGBTQ+ life.

Craig, AKA Mrs. Moxie, is originally from Fergus Falls. She came to Northfield with her husband, Ryan, AKA Mr. Moxie, in recent years. Since then, they have settled into a life that have been more than fulfilling, although, it started out differently. “I started off as a young kid, just playing in my mom’s clothes, and Grandma had a box of Halloween clothes,” explained Mrs. Moxie. “Every Halloween, it started off just dressing up and trying to impersonate Mrs. Doubtfire and all those things. That’s how I started into it, but I didn’t fully start doing drag consecutively until I think it was about two years before the pandemic.”

From there, Mrs. Moxie’s star began to rise. “Once the pandemic started, me and Mr. Moxie started doing online trivia nights and game nights hosting through Facebook, because prior to that, I did a few shows,” she further explained. “I did a few shows for the Northern Minnesota area, I guess you could say, and then it slowly turned into we moved to Northfield, and now I have been in Northfield for over three years and have been continuing to do it pretty consecutively.”

Mrs. Moxie’s drag was informed by pop culture trends of yesterday and today. She cited “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” as well “To Wong Foo” as inspirations towards a distinctive drag aesthetic that is both classic and rural – or, a mix of both. After all, Mrs. Moxie also describes herself as a “theater kid.”

A very resourceful “theater kid,” may we add. Mrs. Moxie sews “90 percent” of her wardrobe, as well as creating her own wigs.

Northfield became the epicenter for Mrs. Moxie’s drag. She began hosting Trivia Nights at Imminent Brewing to hosting drag brunches and other events at the Grand Event Center. Mrs. Moxie would also make appearances across the state, including Marshall during their Pride celebrations and at Bloomington Pride last year. All of this, while connecting with a troupe of drag performers out of her native Fergus Falls. Her latest performances now include such drag performers, such as Lexi D, Izzy Stunnin’, Mr. Haywood, and Stacy Hundin – all from Fergus Falls’ Catwalk Party.

You will most likely see Mrs. Moxie at Imminent Brewing in downtown Northfield, hosting game and trivia nights, as well as fundraisers for Northfield Pride. Laura Meyers, one of the owners at Imminent Brewing, sums it up best when she said, “there’s a certain strength to being able to stand up and say, ‘This is what we’re doing and we’re not going to just back down because a couple people got upset about it. And we’re, we’re going to stand up and be courageous.’ One of my favorite quotes right now is that there is no courage without vulnerability. So, let’s be clear. Everybody who’s participating in this, particularly those who are out in front, Mrs. Moxie, they’re taking a risk.”

Continued on page 20
Mrs. Moxie with Lightning. Mrs. Moxie and Lexi D at Imminent Brewing Northfield. Photos by Randy Stern

Part of a community that taking risks are those who open their doors to the LGBTQ+ community in Northfield – not just Mrs. Moxie. Other businesses in Northfield have no qualms in flying our flags to welcome us inside. Farmstead Bicycles and Raven’s Nest Café on Division Street share a common building that provide a space for us. The Ole Store Restaurant, Grand Event Center, and Keepsake Cidery were also mentioned in this context.

In addition to her appearances in Northfield and beyond, Mrs. Moxie also hosts a radio show from the city’s The One/KYMN-FM called “Out In The Open With Mrs. Moxie” with her husband Ryan and the show’s producer Rich Larson. “We started that in September, and it actually came from just having coffee with my buddy Rich,” Mrs. Moxie explained. “We sat down, and I said, ‘You mentioned that you think it’d be cool if a drag queen had a radio show. Where do you want to go with this?’ It just came from there, and I didn’t know what it was going to be about.”

“All I knew is I wanted it to be kind of a podcast, talk show vibe, but also still educational, and also bringing awareness to music artists or allies in the music industry,” Mrs. Moxie further explained. “Because growing up in a conservative smaller town, hearing the same artists who don’t respect inclusivity or diversity, they’re very stuck in their ways. I love to see the representation in the music. Rich has helped me with that, in producing a show that gives people a new perspective through music as well.”

How has it been working with Mrs. Moxie? Larson said that she “has been fearless when it comes to that stuff. We’ve done shows on religion. We’ve done shows on sobriety. We just did a show about allyship. The very first show was basically Mox interviewing Mr. Moxie. We’ve talked about marriage and we talked about families, and we had a whole show on drag.”

“It’s been amazing, because what it is, it’s a solid issue-oriented talk show, and Mox is a great interviewer too,” continued Larson. “She’s fantastic. She really knows how to carry a conversation. I mean, she sat down, she’s doing hour-long interviews with people without breaking a sweat. It’s great. It’s fantastic. I am just happy to be sitting there pushing the buttons.”

With so much going on in her life, Mrs. Moxie is supported by a growing and loyal fanbase. People of all ages make up her fanbase. However, she gets her deepest support from her family. “I have grandparents that are big supporters,” explained Mrs. Moxie. “I have my mom, all of these people. Especially even, I will say, having a husband who is truly, truly invested into it now, and wants to even dabble into it and help besides doing IT work, has really been a driving force behind me to see the support and keeping the momentum of who I am and what I do.

You will see Mrs. Moxie, among many others, at Northfield Pride on June 1 at Central Park. Northfield Pride chairperson, the Reverend Cindy Maddox of the First United Church of Christ in Northfield, is proud to welcome down to the city of about 21,000. Our community has responded.

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Mr. and Mrs. Moxie. Mrs. Moxie at Imminent Brewing Northfield.

“The first week we opened up applications for vendors and exhibitors,” said Rev. Maddox. “We had over 30 the first week. And every day I check and every day we have more. We’re over 40 now, and I think by the end of the time, we should easily break our record last year of 55.”

Not just vendors – just see who will be on stage inside the park. “We are upping our game as far as what’s going to be on the stage, so that we’re bringing more performers,” explained Rev. Maddox. “And of course, going to have Mrs. Moxie there to liven things up. And everybody loves when she brings the kids on stage, and they all have a big dance party up there. That’s one of the highlights of Northfield Pride.”

Away from Central Park, Rev. Maddox and the Northfield Pride committee are planning events closer and beyond June 1. “Patrick Scully is bringing his One-Man Show,” she announced. “We’re still confirming the date on that, but it will be within seven to 10 days of Pride in the Park. One of the churches is bringing in a trans activist and author to speak. Clean River Partners is sponsoring a special hike. It’s kind of a…scavenger hunt hike at the Arboretum, looking for different species and that sort of thing. We’re going to have a Pride Hike.”

As for the future, Rev. Maddox and the Northfield Pride committee are looking ahead. Such as sponsoring events year-round on a quarterly basis. “One of the things Northfield Pride is doing is we have community gatherings with community leaders and are in the process of developing support groups and that sort of thing with various groups,” Rev. Maddox said. “But all of those are in the planning and talking stage right now.”

As for Mrs. Moxie, she’s got a full schedule ahead for Pride month. On June 1, there’s Mrs Moxie’s Game Night at Imminent Brewing in Northfield starting at 7:00PM. She will also appear in Marshall MN on June 8th during their Pride weekend. On June 22nd, she will be hosting another A Very Moxie Brunch! at The Grand Event Center starting at 10:00 AM. If you miss that one, the next A Very Moxie Brunch! will be on October 19th at 10:00 AM at The Grand Event Center

And coming this holiday season, her annual holiday show – A Very Moxie Christmas Carol! – will be at The Grand Event Center.

Let’s not forget that ever first Monday of every month, “Out In The Open With Mrs Moxie” is on the air at KYMN Radio at 8:00 PM, and on Streaming services Last Friday of every month Northfield is just a 45 minute-to-an-hour drive from the Twin Cities, or just under an hour from Rochester. Make your plans to come out to this city of 21,000 and celebrate with Mrs. Moxie and the great folks of Northfield for Pride! Or, listen in on “Out In The Open” on the radio or streaming app. Maybe check out Mrs. Moxie and her drag family perform across Minnesota during this Pride Season. 

Northfield Pride at The Park

Saturday, June 1 – 12:00 PM-4:00 PM Central Park, 421 4th St. E, Northfield, MN

Out In The Open with Mrs. Moxie


East Central Minnesota Pride: Hosting Community Pride Since 2005

With a city population of around 3,700, the woodsy getaway, originally founded in 1881 as a railway town, has blossomed into a logging community, today, an oasis for water lovers and nature enthusiasts. Pine City may be a small town, but the vibrant community is to owe for the birthplace of rural-prides alike.

The year was 2005 when the East Central Men’s Circle gathered for what we now know as the first rural pride. What started as around 70 gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning men coming together for a pride pot-luck style event, was eventually joined by the Purple Circle, the regional PFLAG chapter and other groups to vitalize and deepen the

advocacy efforts and community within the LGBTQ+ community.

Last year, attendance was around 800 people, with a projected attendance of nearly 1,000 for this year’s pride, according to East Central Minnesota Pride Chairperson, Aaron Bombard. This year’s pride will take place Saturday, June 1st from 12 p.m.-5 p.m. at Robinson Park in Pine City.

“It’s always kind of scary, leaving the suburbs as a gay person,” Bombard said, who relocated from Rosemount. “But, Pine City is overwhelmingly welcoming, and I think that so much of that has to do with what originally started in 2005.”

This year’s pride will work to accommodate the large number of younger individuals that come to ECM Pride, Bombard said. This year, the bands Rebel Queens, Salty Dog, and The Minors are booked to perform.

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Photos courtesy of Phil Schroeder/East Central Minnesota Pride

A request was also submitted for Governor Tim Walz to formally speak at East Central Minnesota Pride, as last year a state representative was sent from his office to speak, according to Bombard.

East Central Minnesota Pride also holds events as a means of fundraising for Pride, as everything the organization does is funded by donations, except for a grant from the East Central Regional Arts Council, according to Bombard.

One of the biggest events is the annual Silver Social, otherwise known as “Pride, Pies & Drag Bingo,” Bombard added. The event is for seniors aged 55 and older, catering to the senior community as a part of the community and allies. This is a new event aimed towards having more year-round programming for Pride in the region. In particular, to engage with the LGBTQ+ community during the winter towards breaking up the doldrums of the long season.

“I work in healthcare, so I have a passion for helping the senior community,” Bombard said. “Accessibility became an issue when we started to have larger bands perform, so this is an opportunity to include older folks.”

It was 2008 when the East Central Minnesota PFLAG chapter was born, having its first booth at East Central Minnesota Pride in 2010. Phil Schroeder, chair and co-founder of the East Central Minnesota Chapter got involved with PFLAG when his transgender daughter came out to him when she was in the eighth grade.

Meeting at least once a month, the chapter provides open conversations and an open door for friends, families and members of the LGBTQ+ community to have supportive dialogue, added Schroeder.

“My initial reaction was fear,” Schroeder said. “Mine was a vulnerable person coming out in a community that’s very, very conservative, that gay people aren’t visible, and I just saw a big target on her back because I was scared.”

Schroeder and his wife began looking into ways to support their daughter. They stumbled across PFLAG, an organization that aims to support, educate and advocate for LGBTQ+ people and their families, according to Schroeder.

“When we first got involved with pride, you almost knew like you almost knew 80% of the people that were there,” Schroeder said. “It was like the LGBTQ+ community in East Central Minnesota would assemble for a day, and it reminded me of a gigantic family reunion.”

Continued on page 24 East Central Minnesota PFL AG Parents, friends, families and alliesunited with the LGBTQ+ people of East Central Minnesota EAST CENTRAL MEN'S CIRCLE A social and support group of Gay, Bi, and Questioning Men of Pine, Isanti, Chisago, Kanabec and Mille Lacs Counties. For More Info: EAST CENTRAL PURPLE CIRCLE A social and support group of Lesbian, Bi, and Questioning Women of Pine, Isanti, Chisago, Kanabec and Mille Lacs Counties Pine City 320.629.3969 North Branch 651.237.0494 Center City 651.257.7498 Health Food Stores And More 820 Main Street S. | Pine City 12551 VOYAGEUR LANE PINE CITY, MN 55063 MNHS.INFO/SRFP DISCOVER STORIES OF THE FUR TRADE

There wasn’t yet a chapter near him, but what Schroeder did find was an address of a couple near him in Ogilvie that had a gay son.

“That gave us right away,” Schroeder said. “My wife called that person and ended up talking to the mom, and then actually from that conversation, probably a year later, they were one of the founding members of our group.”

Nearly eight to ten businesses, ranging from food trucks to restaurants and breweries in Pine City are involved in East Central Minnesota Pride, according to Schroeder.

A lot of people can get weary of pride events and how it could affect their business, especially in a small town, Bombard said.

“It was super fun to see local businesses in Pine City show support from adding pride stickers to their windows, to selling pride merchandise with proceeds donated to PFLAG and even local bars hosting pride bingo,” Bombard said.

A brewery in Pine City, Three Twenty Brewing held a fundraiser for the PFLAG scholarship program by designing a pride t-shirt, and it has been ongoing for the last four years, Schroeder said.

“That was one of those things where they were, you know, this thing we talked about a lot in PFLAG is when

LAVENDER MAY 16-29, 2024 24

you’re an advocate or you’re a parent, you have to kind of come out as well, and the same goes for businesses,” Schroeder said.

Becoming good friends, Schroeder said when the owners first announced the Pride merchandise and support for the community they got over 100 positive messages and raised $600.

Even larger corporations, such as Walmart and Target have given back to the community, Bombard added. Walmart makes an annual donation to East Central Minnesota Pride, while the local general manager of Cambridge Target comes to the event to hand out Target Pride swag and water bottles near the entry point, Bombard said.

“Pride here has just been a real, true community celebration of diverse people,” Schroeder said. “It’s this really strong effort that we have a limited number of individuals in these rural areas, like the Men’s Circle in the Purple Circle, and all of us come together and nobody competes with each other.” 

East Central Minnesota Pride

Saturday, June 1 – 12:00 PM-5:00 PM Robinson Park, 200 5th St. SE, Pine City, MN

June 7th - West St Paul June 21st - Minneapolis June 28th - Saint Paul

Suite 1600 Medical Arts Building, 825 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55402

Cultivating Community – The Story of Hopkins Pride

In the heart of Hopkins, Minnesota, a small but vibrant community initiative is making waves. Hopkins Pride, a nonprofit organization founded by Wes, a local business owner, has blossomed as an inclusive and supportive community for LGBTQ+ members and allies alike. What began as a simple act of painting a pride mural on the side of Wes’s business evolved into an annual celebration that brings residents together from all walks of life. We were able to sit down with Emily, and additional organizer and best friend of Wes. She explained that “-the journey of Hopkins Pride is rooted in a desire to create a safe and inclusive space for LGBTQ+ individuals within the community.”

After the mural on Wes’s business was partially whitewashed, Hopkins’ Mayor recognized the need for a more visible and tangible expression of support. Thus, the idea of a pride celebration was born, with the inaugural event taking place the following year of 2023.

At its core, Hopkins Pride aims to ensure that everyone feels seen, heard, and supported. Through a range of resources and support systems, the organization strives to address the diverse needs of the LGBTQ+ community. From providing access to mental health services to facilitating connections with local support groups, Hopkins Pride is dedicated to enriching the lives of its members.

One of the distinguishing features of Hopkins Pride is its unwavering

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Photo courtesy of Preston Meneses Photos courtesy of Emily Schroeder/Hopkins Pride

commitment to families and children. Recognizing the importance of creating an inclusive environment for all ages, the organization tailors its events and programming to cater to the needs and interests of families within the community. Whether it’s through family-friendly activities or educational workshops, Hopkins Pride ensures that everyone feels welcome and valued. Accessibility is another cornerstone of Hopkins Pride’s mission. From ensuring physical accessibility at event venues to providing resources in multiple languages, the organization strives to remove barriers and create a more inclusive experience for all community members. By prioritizing accessibility, Hopkins Pride demonstrates its commitment to equity and diversity.

Measuring the impact of their events is crucial for Hopkins Pride. Through social media interactions, feedback surveys, and community outreach efforts, the organization gathers valuable insights into the effectiveness of its initiatives. By leveraging these insights, Hopkins Pride can continuously refine and improve its programming to better serve the needs of the community. Collaboration is key to the success of Hopkins Pride. By partnering with organizations such as Twin Cities Pride and other local sponsors, the organization is able to amplify its impact and reach a wider audience. These partnerships enable Hopkins Pride to access additional resources and support, ensuring the sustainability of its efforts.

Looking ahead, Hopkins Pride has ambitious plans for the future. In addition to hosting its annual pride celebration, the organization aims to expand its reach by hosting smaller events throughout the year. These events will provide ongoing opportunities for community members to connect, engage, and celebrate together. The logistics of putting together a pride event are no small feat. From obtaining permits and coordinating with city officials to securing equipment and security, the organizers of Hopkins Pride work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Additionally, they are proactive in addressing any potential protests or disruptions, prioritizing the safety and comfort of attendees above all else. As the transcript of an interview with Wes and the Hopkins Pride organizers comes to a close, the interviewer expresses their interest in attending Hopkins Pride in the future. This sentiment is indicative of the growing excitement and enthusiasm surrounding the organization, as more and more people recognize the importance of creating a community where everyone feels welcome and accepted. Planning and executing a pride event involve a multitude of moving parts, each requiring meticulous attention to detail and careful coordination. Securing permits is just the beginning; organizers must navigate bureaucratic processes, liaise with city officials, and ensure compliance with regulations.

Ensuring the safety of attendees is a top priority for pride event organizers. This involves comprehensive risk assessment and planning, from identifying potential hazards to implementing measures to mitigate them. Hiring security personnel trained in crowd management and conflict resolution is essential to maintaining a safe environment. Crowd control measures, such as barricades and designated entry points, help prevent overcrowding and ensure orderly movement throughout the venue.

In anticipation of potential protests or disruptions, organizers develop contingency plans to address any challenges that may arise. This includes conducting thorough risk assessments, identifying potential flashpoints, and establishing lines of communication with relevant stakeholders, including law enforcement agencies. Collaboration with local authorities is key to coordinating responses to any incidents that may occur, ensuring that the rights of attendees to gather peacefully are protected while maintaining public safety. By taking proactive measures to address logistical challenges and prioritize attendee safety, pride event organizers demonstrate their commitment to creating inclusive and welcoming spaces where people can celebrate their identities freely and without fear.

Hopkins Pride stands as more than just an annual celebration; it embodies the profound impact that community and collective action can have in fostering positive change. Led by the visionaries like Wes and the dedicated team of organizers, Hopkins Pride represents a beacon of hope, resilience, and solidarity. Their tireless efforts extend far beyond the confines of the event itself, as they work tirelessly year-round to cultivate an environment of acceptance, understanding, and empowerment.

Emily stated that, “Wes and the organizers of Hopkins Pride serve as catalysts for progress, leveraging their passion and commitment to drive meaningful transformation in Hopkins and its surrounding communities.” Furthermore, their advocacy efforts extend into various spheres, from advocating for LGBTQ+ rights to promoting diversity and inclusion in local institutions and businesses. By organizing and mobilizing individuals around a shared cause, they demonstrate the profound impact that grassroots activism can have in effecting change at both local and broader levels. 

Hopkins Pride

Saturday, June 15 – 11:00 AM-7:00 PM Downtown Hopkins


Range Iron Pride Festival Expands to a Three-day Celebration as the LGBTQ Community Grows Closer

Mark your calendars, this year’s Range Iron Pride festival is August 10 and will also include a weekend full of events.

Paul Skrbec (he/him), executive director of Range Iron Pride, said they are focusing on having vendors from throughout Minnesota at the event and building in entertainment throughout the day.

He said drag performances are a guarantee, but they are hoping to have local and musical artists as well as other types of entertainment alongside local food vendors.

“We’re kind of piggybacking off of the formula that a lot of pride organizations have as far as the day of the festival, so we hope that we’ll be able to execute that in a way that lots of people expect,” Skrbec said.

Alongside the usual Pride festivities, he said people enjoyed the ven-

dors that provided resources that may not be readily available for the people living there. Skrbec said they look for providers in the Duluth, Grand Rapids, or Hibbing area that specialize in mental health and personal wellness alongside the more practical day-to-day needs.

“I try to keep money in the community or at least keep my hard-earned dollars with vendors and providers that are going to support and be allies of the community or maybe even hopefully be members of the community,” Skrbec said. “We’re trying to build that out in terms of our vendors and we’ve got a really good start on it from last year and we’re hoping to expand on that.”

He said they’re working with the Lyric Center of Performing Arts to host a drag brunch on Sunday, August 11. They’re also hoping to partner with a local business to have an event on Friday evening, but that’s still in the works.

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Photo courtesy of Preston Meneses ThatQueerIsa, Roadside Casino. Photos courtesy of Phil Skrbec/Range Iron Pride

Skrbec said he got involved with planning Pride last year, which was their second year holding it, where they decided to host a larger event than their first one.

He said the first Pride festival was relatively small as it was quietly done due to concerns about public response. The bigger event last year was well attended with about 150 to 200 participants and 20 vendors, which Skrbec said was beyond their expectations.

Skrbec said while planning, they realized Range Iron Pride needed to be more than just the festival.

“We needed to be change advocates to help build community on the Iron Range,” Skrbec said. They were able to raise enough money to start a new organization and recently became a nonprofit organization, opening doors for sponsorships, according to Skrbec.

“That’s going to help us jumpstart the organization and help us do more things to build space in the community that’s welcoming of the entire LGBTQ community,” he said.

Skrbec said a central part of their mission is to keep people in the LGBTQ+ community connected. Range Iron Pride hosts social nights every third Thursday of the month to help build community and provide a safe space for people to spend time together. Skrbec said having a scheduled time to meet has helped the LGBTQ+ community in the Iron Range come together more.

“We don’t have any bars that are traditionally like Twin Cities-based places where the community comes together and we don’t have as much of a network as we do with some of the metro areas,” Skrbec said. “By having something on a monthly basis, it gives people lots and lots of opportunities to just continue to build their networks.”

Events for the LGBTQ+ community in the Iron Range are limited, but Skrbec said the Lyric Center and The Do You, a club in the area, offer programs for the community and create a welcoming environment for social gatherings.

Besides these two places, people in the community would have to travel to Duluth to connect, which is about an hour away from Virginia.

“That’s where we feel that the pride organization and our mission helps to support building that community,” Skrbec said.

Skrbec said as towns in the Iron Range have shrunk over the last 40 to 50 years, it is important to have the resources along with the ability to access others within the community.

“It’s very hard to live in an environment where you feel even mildly isolated. Everybody needs friends, everybody needs someone to bounce ideas off of,” Skrbec said. “If you’re raising a family and you know other LGBTQ parents raising kids, being able to network for those types of stories and those experiences is really important.”

Skrbec was born and raised in Gilbert, a small town of about 1,700 people, where he said growing up was very isolating. He said he didn’t have a lot of access to the LGBTQ community or experience what it was like to be a part of it.

“There were a lot of traumas from growing up that I personally had to unlearn and work through over the years,” Skrbec said. “Coming back to the Iron Range, I still see that.”

He said he recently visited Rock Ridge High School, the local school district for Virginia and the surrounding area and sat down with students from the local GSA. He found his experiences of being isolated are still present on the Iron Range.

“That’s one of the reasons why we are focusing on being visible, making sure that our voices are out there, making sure that kids that are growing up are not growing up in an environment where they feel isolated,” Skrbec said.

Skrbec said he was surprised by the number of parents of LGBTQ+ children attending their last Pride celebration. He said the parents were able to connect and in some cases that was the first time they were able to connect and share experiences.

“We sometimes forget when we grow up in rural Minnesota that we’re having our own challenges in terms of who we are, but our parents and our families are often left behind with no resources,” Skrbec said. “That’s one of the really beautiful things of last year was to see so many parents coming out because their children were part of the community.”

Skrbec said Range Iron Pride is excited for its third Pride celebration and the growth that comes with being a non-profit organization.

“My hope is that we will carry on and continue to be a regular celebration on people’s calendars, to provide resources locally, but also to provide people that are regionally in Duluth or other close by areas to come and share Pride with us,” he said. 

Range Iron Pride Saturday, August 10 Virginia, MN


Celebrating Pride with the Chippewa Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center

Chippewa Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center is a small space that makes big changes in the lives of those it reaches. Executive Director Kayla Johnson works alongside other board members at the center to provide yearlong support for queer individuals.

With a focus on enriching the lives of those in the LGBTQ+ community, the center lays out events and programs for people to feel at home in themselves and their environment. They host programs both annually and monthly for people to have access to connections and resources.

Johnson found herself responding to a job advertisement for the center in 2021 after having walked through her own journey of self-realization and searching for community. She wanted to take part in helping others accomplish the same for themselves.

“What drew me into the role was really coming into my identity myself and wanting to find community and also wanting to help people find community for themselves,” Johnson said.

Since her start in 2021, Johnson has worked with other board members and organizations to host numerous virtual and in person events for queer individuals. Over time, Johnson transitioned from a part-time position to being the center’s first full-time worker where she continues to find ways to understand what the people want and bring it to life.

Throughout the month, the center runs a Teen Hangout series. Here, high school students from the area, or any teen from the area between the ages 14 and 18, can come and relax. The center provides structured crafts and the space for teens to feel comfortable and make new friends.

The community center understands that in person events are not always accessible to everyone. Because of this, they run a digital chat room for people who prefer to meet online rather than in person. This digital space is also perfect for those outside of the area to connect with others.

In tandem with the events that the center puts on, they also house information to resources such as clothing and scholarship opportunities through their partnership with

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Photo courtesy of Preston Meneses Photos by Randy Stern

outside organizations.

One outside organization that they work with is Transforming the Valley. TTV is a volunteerbased organization that presents support groups and community closets for transgender or gender diverse individuals. The community closet is a donation-based shopping experience where people can gain access to free binders and clothes in a judgment free space.

The center is also honored to partner with the Andrew Cray Memorial Higher Education Fund, a scholarship that is offered to LGBTQ+ teens. Created in memory of Andrew Cray, an advocate, scholar, and beloved family member who sadly passed away in 2014, the scholarship is geared toward allowing teens to follow their passions and achieve their goals so that they may change lives similar to Cray.

In addition to their monthly programs, the center also hosts annual events that teens can look forward to. Johnson speaks of their Queer Prom, an annual event for teens to “come as they are” and have an enjoyable night where they can make friends and unwind. Each year, a theme is picked out and put together through the active involvement of the teens.

“We try to make both opportunities like Teen Hangout and Queer Prom for them to be like, ‘Hey, there’s other kids like me, and we can be together, and we can support each other’ cause that’s a really tough time in life so we do what we can to support the kids,” Johnson said.

Another annual event that people of all ages can look forward to attending is their Pride. Every year, the center is proud to host the area’s Pride which welcomes people from all over to meet both the members of the center and other amazing attendees and vendors. Although each Pride features different events, every Pride is sure to feature good music, people, performances, and activities that everyone can enjoy seeing and engaging with.

Johnson enthusiastically sums up pride in one word, “Amazing!” And this claim is backed up when she dives into the details of what to expect at this upcoming Pride.

“We will definitely have lots of vendors and activities, food. There is always some kind of entertainment. …We will have some music and fun, and we always close out our show with a drag performance by local per-

formers who do that to help us out, and are all fantastic. So if you want to see some drag, it’s an all ages show so everybody’s welcome to come see,” Johnson said.

The Chippewa Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center welcomes anyone and everyone to stop in to one or all of their events and programs. With all the options that they offer, there is something for anyone, of any age, at any stage of life. The center is there to help and support their blossoming community.

Some specific events that one can mark their calendars for are:

• Pride in the Park, Eau Claire, WI | 2024

• Queer Prom, Eau Claire, WI | 2024

• Teen Hangout, Eau Claire, WI | 2024

• Gaming Nights, Eau Claire, WI | 2024

If one wants to learn more or to volunteer they are encouraged to stop in during their drop in hours. During these times, one is able to discuss various topics or future prospects. The center is always welcoming volunteers, and those who are interested in volunteering, can stop in or visit the center. 

Chippewa Valley LGBTQ+ Center

505 S. Dewey St., Ste. 204, Eau Claire, WI

Chippewa Valley Pride In The Park Saturday, June 8

Phoenix Park, Eau Claire, WI


Community Connection brings visibility to local LGBTQ-friendly non-profit organizations. To reserve your listing in Community Connection, email advertising@lavendermagazine. com.


Second Chance Animal Rescue

Dedicated to rescuing, fostering, caring for, and adopting out dogs and cats into forever homes.

P.O. Box 10533 White Bear Lake, MN 55110 (651) 771-5662



Minnesota's LGBTQ+ and Allied Chamber of Commerce working to build, connect, and strengthen for a diverse business community.

2446 University Ave. W., Ste 112 St. Paul, MN 55114 (612) 460-8153


Mystic Lake Casino Hotel

Nonstop gaming excitement with slots, blackjack, bingo and more plus distinctive bars and restaurants. 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd. Prior Lake, MN 55372 (800) 262-7799


The Nature Conservancy

TNC is an environmental nonprofit working to create a world where people and nature thrive. 1101 W. River Pkwy., Ste. 200 Minneapolis, MN 55415-1291 (612) 331-0700


Landmark Center

A classic venue, with a grand cortile and beautiful courtrooms, accommodates celebrations of all sizes. 75 W. 5th St. St. Paul, MN 55102 (651) 292-3228


PFund Foundation

PFund is the LGBTQ+ community foundation that provides grants to students and grants to non-profits. PO Box 3640 Minneapolis, MN 55403 612-870-1806


Aliveness Project

Community Center for individuals living with HIV/AIDS – on-site meals, food shelf, and supportive service. 3808 Nicollet Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN 55102 (612) 824-LIFE (5433)

Family Tree Clinic

We're a sliding fee sexual health clinic and education center, now in Minneapolis. 1919 Nicollet Ave. Minneapolis MN 55403 (612) 473-0800


Keane Sense of Rhythm

Celebrate your true self with Tap dance!

1st week free, Join us now!

2161 University Avenue W., Ste. 117 St. Paul, MN. 55114 (612) 251-4744

NAMI Minnesota

(National Alliance on Mental Illness)

Providing free classes and peer support groups for people affected by mental illnesses.

1919 University Ave. W., Ste. 400 St. Paul, MN 55104 (651) 645-2948

Rainbow Health Minnesota

Providing comprehensive health services for LGBTIA+ people, those living with HIV & folks from underserved communities facing healthcare barriers. 701 S. 4th Ave. #1500 Minneapolis, MN 55415 General: (612) 341-2060, MN AIDSLine: (612) 373-2437

Red Door Clinic

HIV and STI screening, treatment, education, and referrals. Doxy PEP, nPEP, PrEP, and Reproductive Health. 525 Portland Ave., 4th Fl. Minneapolis, MN 55415 (612) 543-5555


Quatrefoil Library

Your LGBTQ+ library and community center. Free membership, events, and e-books/audiobooks. Check us out!

1220 E. Lake St. Minneapolis, MN 55407 (612) 729-2543


Radio K

Radio K is the award-winning studentrun radio station of the University of Minnesota. 330 21st. Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612) 625-3500


Minnesota Historical Society

Create your own adventure at MNHS historic sites and museums around Minnesota.

Walker Art Center

Showcasing the fresh, innovative art of today and tomorrow through exhibitions, performances, and film screenings. 725 Vineland Pl. Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612) 375-7600


Chanhassen Dinner Theaters

The nation's largest professional dinner theater and Minnesota's own entertainment destination. 501 W. 78th St. Chanhassen, MN 55317 (952) 934-1525

Children’s Theatre Company

Children’s Theatre Company excites the imagination with world-class familyfriendly theatre for kids, teens, and adults. 2400 3rd Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN 55404 (612) 874-0400

Guthrie Theater

Open to the public year-round, the Guthrie produces classic and contemporary plays on three stages. 818 S. 2nd St. Minneapolis, MN 55415 (612) 377-2224

Lyric Arts Main Street Stage Theater with character. Comedies, musicals, & dramas in a professional, intimate setting where all are welcomed. 420 E. Main St. Anoka, MN 55303 (763) 422-1838

Minnesota Opera

World-class opera draws you into a synthesis of beauty; breathtaking music, stunning costumes & extraordinary sets. Performances at the Ordway Music Theater - 345 Washington St., St. Paul, MN 55102 (612) 333-6669

Minnesota Orchestra

Led by Music Director Designate Thomas Søndergård, the Minnesota Orchestra, one of America’s leading symphony orchestras. 1111 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612) 371-5656, (800) 292-4141

Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

Leading performing arts center with two stages presenting Broadway musicals, concerts & educational programs that enrich diverse audiences. 345 Washington St. St. Paul, MN 55102 (651) 224-4222

Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus

An award-winning chorus building community through music and offers entertainment worth coming out for! 1430 W. 28th St., Ste. B Minneapolis, MN 55408 (612) 339-SONG (7664)


All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church

A welcoming, inclusive, safe place to explore and discover God’s love for ALL God’s children. 3100 Park Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55407 (612) 824-2673

Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church

Everyone is welcome at Hennepin Church! Vibrant Worship. Authentic Community. Bold Outreach. 511 Groveland Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612) 871-5303

Plymouth Congregational Church

Many Hearts, One Song; Many Hands, One Church. Find us on Facebook and Twitter. 1900 Nicollet Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612) 871-7400

St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral

An inclusive and affirming community transforming lives through God’s love. 519 Oak Grove St. Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612) 870-7800

Westminster Presbyterian Church

An open and affirming congregation, welcoming persons of all sexual orientations, gender expressions and identities. 1200 Marquette Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612) 332-3421


Friends & Co

Fostering meaningful connections for older adults for 50+ years. Offering quick drop-in chat line, phone & visiting companionship services.

2550 University Ave. W., Ste. 260-S St. Paul, MN 55114 (612) 721-1400

Senior Community Services

Providing non-medical services that meet the changing needs of older adults & support their caregivers. 10201 Wayzata Blvd., Ste. 335 Minnetonka, MN 55305 (952) 541-1019


Lutheran Social Service of MN

Serving all Minnesotans with personcentered services that promote full and abundant lives. | 612-642-5990 | 800-582-5260 Adoption & Foster Care |

Behavioral Health | 612-879-5320 Host Homes | Supported Decision-Making | 888-806-6844

Therapeutic Foster Care | 612-751-9395


Discover St. Louis Park

Minnesota’s Sweet Spot! Visit us for exceptional dining, attractions, shopping, hotels and event space. 1660 Hwy 100 S., Ste. 501 St. Louis Park, MN 55416 (952) 426-4047

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LAVENDER MAY 16-29, 2024 32

Estimates 7am-4:30pm

Account Executive Lavender Media is seeking to add a Twin Cities based full time Account Executive to our sales team. We are looking for an outgoing, organized, self-driven & motivated professional with excellent phone, writing and presentation skills. Candidates should enjoy working directly with clients who are interested in growing their business through Lavender advertising and event sponsorships. Candidates must be local. Includes base pay + commission and an employee benefits package that includes group health, dental, life insurance and LTD. Applicants should have experience with Mac software environment, Excel, Word, social media platforms & database software such as Filemaker Pro. They should exhibit an elevated level of organization, attention to detail, the ability to work as part of a team, effective communication, self direction, enjoys working with new people and has a natural drive to grow. Please send your cover letter and resume to

LAVENDERMAGAZINE.COM 33 THE NETWORK Josh Kelly LGBTQIA+ Realtor® 612.219.2211 Locally Owned
Operated Since 1950

From Dream to Reality – LGBTQ+ Senior Housing Triumphs

About 15 years ago, the headline of this column was “The Pie in the Sky Project.” It marked the first public announcement of a project by the dmhFund: an LGBTQ+ senior affordable housing project with a projected budget of $20 million. Today, you know this project as The John C. Anderson Apartments (JCAA), celebrating its 10th anniversary this week. At the time, no LGBTQ+ project in Pennsylvania had ever undertaken such a large endeavor, and more importantly, there was no federal designation for LGBTQ-affirming affordable senior housing projects with federal, state and city investment. We set out to change both.

In truth, the board of dmhFund had diligently worked on the project for about two years prior to that column. By that point, we had nearly all the pieces together. Along the way, we faced challenges. Two other parcels of land we negotiated didn’t pan out, leading us to secure the property where the building stands today. Some bureaucrats viewed the designation of LGBTQ+ as discriminatory, yet they didn’t view Catholic homes in the same light at that time. We insisted that LGBTQ+ be prominently featured in the name and on the building itself. Finding a developer we could work with was a challenge, but Pennrose became that partner under the direction of Jacob Fisher. Securing the support of elected officials like State Rep Mike O’Brien and Mary Issacson was crucial, and they became our champions

who navigated the way. All of this was coordinated by and represented by dmhFund, with Micah Mahjoubian at the helm. This week, we will honor all three for their service to our community.

This project was a labor of love for the board. No one on the board received any compensation as a consultant or salary, a rarity among organizations undertaking such a complex endeavor.

We all knew LGBTQ+ seniors who were being forced out of the communities they had helped build. We knew others who were mistreated in other senior homes simply because of their identities. But more importantly, we realized that building community means taking care of the most vulnerable among us. We wondered why other communities had affordable senior apartments, and if they did, why not ours?

I believe this project was one of the largest undertakings any of us had ever been a part of, and it changed the nation. It led to the establishment of an LGBT federal designation, and we soon became a White House Champion of Change Project under President Barack Obama. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), under Assistant Secretary Raphael Bostic, recognized us as an example for other cities to follow. To date, more than 20 cities around the nation have successfully replicated our plan. Once completed, the

building went on to win numerous awards. But the real story here is that hundreds of LGBTQ+ seniors have had a place to live as their true, authentic selves.

There are countless success stories of seniors who have lived at what we affectionately call JCAA. There was the 98-year-old man who, for once in his life, could be himself openly. There was the lesbian who lived elsewhere and couldn’t have her partner of 30 years visit overnight. There was the man who lived in a facility where the staff tried to “pray the gay out of him.” The most astonishing thing about the project was how the residents became vibrant members of the community, thriving in their involvement with community organizations.

The building would not be a reality without the full support of its board. Each time there was a setback, they didn’t just fold up and walk away. They would say, “Let’s move on and find a solution.” Dan Anders, Judith Appelbaum, Larry Felzer, Rob Metzger, your belief in this vision continues to inspire me to this day. Thank you for bringing LGBTQ+ senior affordable housing to the nation.

And if you’re wondering about the name dmhFund, it honors Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, who founded the first LGBTQ+ organization in 1897 called the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee. I am absolutely sure he would be honored to know that his pioneering spirit lives on more than a century later. 

Photo courtesy of Mark Segal

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