aroundtheregion

Here are the latest LGBT headlines from around the region.

North Dakota
*HIV rates in North Dakota have increased dramatically with many noting the booming population on the Bakken oil fields, but state health officials say the oil companies aren’t allowing targeted HIV testing or prevention information.

[North Dakota’s director of disease control Kirby] Kruger’s staff is trying to spread HIV prevention messages and do rapid testing at area bars in Williston, but there is no established gay community there, Kruger said. Kruger said in the early days of the HIV epidemic he served as a liaison for the public health department to the gay community. He said gay men and women rallied to help him get the word out about HIV prevention.
“We could use that group to reach into the gay community,” Kruger told Healthline. “We are struggling to identify those individuals who would be willing to work with us.”
He said companies involved in the oil industry don’t want public health officials inside the camps talking about HIV. They feel that such a message would stereotype the majority of men living in the camps as being at risk for HIV when that is not the case, Kruger told Healthline.

*Devil’s Lake High School had an open discussion about LGBT issues and students in order to combat bullying and isolation. The conversation revealed some misunderstandings of what it means to be LGBT, the Devils Lake Journal reports:

The man went on about why it is unnecessary or inappropriate to treat LGBT’s differently, comparing his last name to being LGBT. There were several people in the room who gasped and at that point a panel moderator spoke up, “You can probably change your last name, but you can’t always change your orientation,” said the woman.
“Why do we need special attention for this minority [LGBT’s], which statistically is still very small,” said the man.
Karen Anderson a former DLHS instructor, declared to audience members “You aren’t at risk of losing your job because of your last name or being murdered because of your last name. I guess I can’t address it any clearer than that.”

Iowa:

A University of Iowa field hockey coach is alleging discrimination after she was fired after 14 years, the Gazette reports:

“The value of the case is because your client fired one of its best coaches (male or female) under circumstances that would never occur if she were male,” Des Moines attorney Thomas Newkirk wrote. “If we ignore all the issues of bias or science on stereotypes, it comes down to that simple reality. Your client does not investigate or react to complaints about male coaches in the same way. Further, when you go back over the last five years to examine the removal of several other gay female coaches, most of whom were fired due to an administration’s exaggerations of female player complains, a disturbing pattern appears.”

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