aroundtheregion

Here’s a recap of the week’s LGBT news from South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and North Dakota.

South Dakota
A possible hate crime in Rapid City has the LGBT community in western South Dakota concerned.

From the Rapid City Journal:

According to police, the man was assaulted after a man and a woman in a pickup truck asked him for directions near the FTC Thrift Express on Sturgis Road in west Rapid City.
After asking if the victim was gay, the man got out of his truck and assaulted him while the woman remained in the truck, police said. They then drove away. The victim told police at the time he did not need medical attention.
South Dakota’s hate crime laws do not specifically include protections for sexual orientation, but do cover race, ethnicity, religion, ancestry and national origin.

Iowa
Iowa’s legislature is poised to remove discriminatory laws that criminalize those having HIV, KVNU reports:

Baltimore said the committee was still working on the bill before it is sent to the floor and they were consulting health officials to properly phrase a section of the bill that would essentially give “safe harbor” to those who followed medical advice and were unlikely to transmit the disease even if they were HIV positive.

Advocates and public health officials hope an “updated” version of the law will allow more nuanced and not-as-severe prosecutions.

The current law allows felony prosecutions of HIV-positive people who knowingly expose others to the disease without warning. This can include having sex, even safe sex, knowingly donating infected blood or sharing unclean drug paraphernalia, such as needles. The law allows a convicted person to be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.

Wisconsin
Three states bordering Wisconsin have marriage equality: Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois. A fourth, Michigan, had it briefly last week when a judge struck anti-LGBT laws in that state. Same-sex couples in Wisconsin, a state almost completely surrounded by marriage equality, are closely watching a lawsuit that would overturn the ban on gay marriage. But they’ll have to wait until August, the date a court has set for the trial.

North Dakota
RuPaul’s Drag Race Battle of the Seasons is headed for Fargo in May.

University students in North Dakota have organized a LGBT prom set for next weekend.

Here’s the announcement from the Pride Collective:

Rainbow Prom: Candyland meets all the colors of the rainbow!

Prom
Get your dancing pants on and join other LGBTQ and allied folks in the area for a safe space prom experience! This dance is Candy Land themed, but costumes are not required. Formal wear is optional.

WHEN: Saturday, April 5th– 9pm to 1am
WHEN: Gio’s Grill and Bar, Eastgate Event Center
123 21st Street South in Moorhead
WHO: This event is 18+ (I.D. required)
COVER: $5

This event organized by the gay/straight alliances of Concordia, MSUM, and NDSU.
ps – there will be pizza AND punch!

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Andy Birkey
Andy Birkey has written for a number of Minnesota and national publications. He founded Eleventh Avenue South which ran from 2002-2011, wrote for the Minnesota Independent from 2006-2011, the American Independent from 2010-2013. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, The Star Tribune, The Huffington Post, Salon, Cagle News Service, Twin Cities Daily Planet, TheUptake, Vita.mn and much more. His writing on LGBT issues, the religious right and social justice has won awards including Best Beat Reporting by the Online News Association, Best Series by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorable mention by the Sex-Positive Journalism awards.

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