Skirting the Issues: Bittersweet

Ellen Krug-cropped

Skirting the Issues: Bittersweet by Ellen Krug

Three months ago, I experienced a college graduation weekend—something that I often wondered would ever come. Lily, the youngest of two daughters. Intentionally and stubbornly an under-achiever in high school. Thirtieth from the bottom of her 483-strong student class at Linn-Mar High School. Couldn’t be forced to study even if world peace depended on it.

And now, a college graduate with a 3.4 GPA.

In a word, it was Sweet!

Way to go, Lily, rocking me and everyone else who knows you!

Other than celebrating Lily’s accomplishment, the weekend meant something else: being in the presence of my ex-wife. As I’ve written before, Lydia and I started out as high school sweethearts turned soul mates...

Read More

Cartoon: Blame it on the Gays

CARTOON schwzcmyk y14m08d04

Read More

10 Smart Ways to Capitalize on Back-to-School Savings

FRIV MyCabanaBoy

10 Smart Ways to Capitalize on Back-to-School Savings by Mikey Rox

Even if you’re not a parent, August is a month to use back-to-school sales to your advantage; this time of year is great for stocking up on office and craft supplies, new clothes and shoes, and snack foods for your work lunches. To help you make the most of this annual rite of passage (even as a fabulous LGBT adult), consider these 10 tips on how to get the biggest bang for your buck as classes go back in session.

1. Hit the clearance racks first

This is one of the most important rules to shopping on a budget, and it’s one I live by 100 percent of the time: Before you browse anywhere else in the store, head straight to the clearance section...

Read More

A Couple of Guys: The Parent Trip

A Couple of Guys

A Couple of Guys is a weekly comic strip that follows the adventures of Eric Parker, an actor and waiter; his husband Joey Romelli, a police officer; and plenty of offbeat relatives, friends, bar acquaintances and pets.

Read More

One Iowa response to the Family Leadership Summit

One Iowa
On Saturday, August 9, The Family Leader will host its annual “Family Leadership Summit” at Stephens Auditorium in Ames. Led by the organization’s president and CEO Bob Vander Plaats, the summit is “designed to educate and mobilize the conservative base regarding worldview application and issues that impact the family.”
The summit’s speakers for 2014 include Iowa Congressman Steve King, U.S. Senate nominee Joni Ernst, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and his father Rafael Cruz, 2012 presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Rick Perry, former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee, Dr. Alveda King, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, and more. Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds are also scheduled to speak at the summit, which is funded by the Branstad/Reynolds Campaign, Citizens United, the National Organization for Marriage, the Family Research Council, and numerous other conservative organizations.
The following is a statement from Donna Red Wing, Executive Director of One Iowa, the state’s leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organization:

“In a world that continues to grow more and mo...
Read More

African American sisters aging with HIV

Irene Monroe

African American sisters aging with HIV and co-morbidities by Rev. Irene Monroe

Imani (not her real name) was thirty-two when she contracted HIV. Surrounded by sister-friends who died from the virus, Imani did not expect to reach middle age. Now in her fifth decade of life, Imani has new and multiple challenges. She self-manages her HIV—along with her diabetes, hypertension—while searching for employment. The result of these stressors is depression. All of this has gravely impacted her ability to sustain medication adherence and her will to live.

But Imani’s not alone. African American women’s struggle with HIV—from the black community’s stigmatization to the dominant culture’s condemnation of them—has both unduly burdened their daily lives and compromised their quality of care.

While numerous datum have surfaced about African American women living with HIV in their younger years, very little has surfaced about how they age with the disease—until recently. The journal AIDS Patient Care and STDs this month published the qualitative study “Taking It One Day at a Time: African American Women Aging with HIV and Co-Morbidities.”

As a welcoming and needed study, its narrative gives voice, validation, and strength to Imani and other sisters’ of African descent reality.

“I’m taking it one day at a time. First, since my kids are grown, I gotta put me number one first. And, sometimes it’s still hard for me… taking my medicine, I help somebody along my way…. Long as I can help somebody, then I can help myself, you know. I know this journey that I’m going on, it’s not gon’ be in vain.., That’s what it means to me, taking it one day at a time ‘cause I don’t know what the day gone bring. Just one minute at a time, one second at a time,” Elana told the interviewer in the study who asked, “What does HIV self-management mean to you?”

In interviewing women like Elana the study examined HIV-positive and co...

Read More

Federal Appeals Court to Hear Arguments in Six Gay Marriage Cases

Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

A federal appeals court will hear arguments today in six challenges to laws that ban marriage for same-sex couples or the recognition of marriages of same-sex couples throughout the 6th District.

In each case, a lower court in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, or Kentucky ruled in favor of marriage for same-sex couples. The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Ohio joined one of the cases, Obergefell v. Himes, in December asking the state to recognize the marriage of a Cincinnati man and his late husband. The case was filed by Alphonse Gerhardstein of Gerhardstein & Branch.

The case was filed on behalf of James Obergefell and John Arthur, who were in a committed relationship for 22 years and wished to marry...

Read More

Saggy Baggy The Elephant

small Jonathan Wilson-cropped

Saggy Baggy The Elephant by Jonathan Wilson

When I was a kid my parents bought me various books from the Golden Book series.  Some were better than others and some carried a meaning beyond the obvious.  As an adult who struggled but finally came out as an unapologetic gay man, I have reflected on one of those books and gained some insight that escaped me as a child—Saggy Baggy The Elephant.

As I recall, it’s about an orphaned little elephant, alone in the jungle, and perfectly content and happy.  Life was good.  As with people, the little elephant was born without a discriminatory bone in his body.  As with people, he would have to learn about that pernicious trait.

While prancing merrily along, his reverie is interrupted by a shrieking, colorful parrot.  The bird commences to berate the little elephant, commenting derisively on his appearance.  He had clumpy legs/feet, a l-o-o-o-o-n-g nose, floppy ears, and his skin—his skin was a drab gray and all wrinkled.  It was saggy and baggy, and the parrot decided to call him Saggy Baggy.

Read More

Transcending Adversity: Cody’s Story

Luke Gordon

Transcending Adversity: Cody’s Story by Luke Gordon

As a life coach, I assist people who want to come out as LGBT by co-creating with them a systematic plan for their transition, so the process goes smoother with less stress and no regrets. A part of the process involves determining the ‘how’—how to go about making the transition happen. One component of the ‘how’ is to develop a support system, which may include friends; family; religious or spiritual fellowship; co-workers; colleagues; social acquaintances; LGBT support groups, social groups, and resource centers; people you volunteer with, etc. The challenge of not having a strong support network is illustrated in Cody’s story.

Cody grew up in a fundamental, charismatic Christian household. He knew by the time he was 15 that he wanted to go into the ministry. But something began to happen. He noticed that guys in Speedos turned him on and figured something was up. He finally realized that he was gay when he was 17. This is when the incongruence began.

In the church he belonged to, homosexuality wasn’t accepted. Yet, he aspired to be a youth minister and choir director. The solution? He decided to use prayer to eliminate homosexuality from himself.

“I thought I could pray the demon out. I told my parents [I was gay] but I also said that I was working to free myself from the spiritual bondage I was in.” Cody and his parents didn’t talk about it any further and he ended up repressing his sexuality. Once in college, Cody realized that he enjoyed the field of communications most and decided to pursue that rather than the ministry, but he remained active in his church and participated in leadership roles.

When Cody turned 30 he began to reevaluate his life and question his religion. He began exploring being gay, and it came back to him that he really did like guys. He had fantasized about men for years but had never connected two and two. At this point, he decided to embrace who he was. 

Read More

Freedom of Religion is Not Freedom to Discriminate Against Hawai’i Gay Customers


Lambda Legal and the Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission today urged the Intermediate Court of Appeals of the State of Hawai`i to reject a new argument that the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores allows a commercial business operating a bed and breakfast to refuse accommodation to a lesbian couple, and thereby violate Hawai`i’s antidiscrimination law, by invoking the business owner’s religious beliefs as a defense.

“The ink on the Hobby Lobby case isn’t even dry, and already we’re seeing misguided attempts to do exactly what nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court agreed was forbidden:  to use religion as a shield for discrimination,” Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Peter Renn said...

Read More