Here’s what’s happening around the Upper Midwest.

South Dakota
*Sioux Falls Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota are hosting a conference on transgender issues, according to the Argus Leader. The event, called “Welcoming our Trans Family & Friends: Transitioning to Inclusion” is in its third year.

“So many of us have such a profound lack of understanding of what it means to be transgender,” Terri Carlson, regional director of Northern Plains PFLAG, told the Argus Leader. “The more you know about various transgender and gender-conforming people, the more you can provide the love and support necessary to help them with a dignified and healthy life.”

*A South Dakota man says he was assaulted outside a bar after he spoke out against a homophobic slur. Drew Bartscher says after he objected to a woman’s slur, the woman’s boyfriend attacked him, the Huffington Post reports:

“She said these ‘f**ing f-words,’ referring to homosexuals,” Bartscher, who is straight, told local ABC affiliate KSFY. “I stopped and I just commented to her, ‘You really shouldn’t call anybody the f-word, that’s rude.’ Then I continued to walk in the direction towards our car.”

He continued, “Then I hear this guy yell at me, ‘What the F did you say to my girlfriend?!?!’ I turned just a little bit and then the next thing I know, my friends are picking me up off the sidewalk [because] I had gotten punched pretty good.”


*Chick-fil-A is sponsoring a festival in Iowa City and it has the area’s LGBT community concerned. The fast food chain which has come under criticism for its owner’s advocacy against LGBT rights is a backer of the Iowa Soul Festival.

“When they’re a sponsor in a city that prides itself in celebrating diversity, I think we do have to question that,” Janelle Rettig, a Johnson County Supervisor told the Press Citizen. “It’s eyebrow raising, and it makes me wonder if I should even go to Soul Fest because I’m uncomfortable with it.”

*The Iowa City Police Department has created a LGBT liaison program.

“Whenever I tell somebody that there’s a liaison thing going on, everybody is really excited about it and looking forward to it and happy about it,” Jewell Amos, head of Iowa City Pride, told KCRG. “Whether you need it or not, having it there is a nice security thing or insurance. Knowing you have the backing of the police and knowing they are going to be on your side … I think that’s a major thing.”

*A Republican candidate for the Wisconsin assembly from Janesville has dropped out of the race after more homophobic and racist social media comments have surfaced.

Jacob Dorsey faced criticism last week for a tweet that called gays “fags,” and several days later, racist and homophobic comments we discovered in his Youtube account. He dropped out of the race late last week.

“I have decided to withdraw from the race due to insensitive remarks that have surfaced from years past,” Dorsey said in a statement to The Gazette. “This race has been extremely hard on my family and myself.”

*The American Civil Liberties Union is suing Wisconsin on behalf of the same-sex couples who were married there in June before a judge issued a stay. The marriages of more than 500 couples are in legal limbo.

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