aroundtheregion

South Dakota
*A shooting in Sisseton has claimed the life of a Two-Spirit activist, Madville Times reports.

Lake Traverse Reservation newspaper Sota Iya Ye Yapi reports that Renville advocated for LGBT rights in Indian Country:
Vernon was a gentle giant of a young man, physically large and with an equally big heart. He was known for a sense of humor. And he’d volunteer for any walk or campaign to bring awareness to some of the most important problems on the Lake Traverse Reservation. Whether it was awareness of domestic violence, child abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, prejudice/racism, you-name-it. And he was a strong voice for the LGBT community. His brothers and sisters of the Two Spirit movement are mourning along with Vernon’s family and lots of other friends. We remember him during last winter’s Idle No More walk through snow-covered streets of Sisseton [CD Floro, “Tragedy in Sisseton: Young Oyate Lives Lost in Shooting,” Sota Iya Ye Yapi Online, accessed 2014.11.24].

*Attorneys for both sides of South Dakota’s marriage equality lawsuit have asked a federal judge to rule on the case without a trial. The move would quickly expedite a decision.

Wisconsin
*Milwaukee Magazine profiled Sen. Tammy Baldwin, the first out LGBT member of the United States Senate. The paper shared a story from the early days of her career:

“Well, it shattered a glass ceiling that hadn’t been shattered before,” she says. “Frankly, the same is true of my becoming the first woman ever elected from the state of Wisconsin to Congress.” An out lesbian from the liberal incubator of Madison, she rushes into a homey vignette demonstrating how she’s become an example to women and young people – a story about a 9-year-old girl who “hugged her sleeve” during a tour of the state Capitol and hopped into her chair on the Assembly floor.

“I like the feel of this,” the girl said. “Maybe I’m going to be a state representative someday.”

*The Wisconsin State Journal profiled Proud Theater in a piece titled, “A theater group for ‘queer’ youth builds a legacy on making unique art, saving lives”

That’s a big leap from Proud Theater’s modest origins, and just one example of its astounding growth. Begun with no money and just a handful of kids, the Madison troupe now has 45 members, and there are chapters in Wausau and Milwaukee, with others in various stages of development in Sun Prairie, Kenosha and Stevens Point.
The Madison troupe has performed all over the state at schools, community centers and conferences. There’s a new group called Proud Theater Beyond, for participants ages 18-24, and there’s a nonprofit organization with a board of directors, Art and Soul Innovations, to oversee it all.

Iowa
*The Iowa State Daily reports on a new group at ISU for LGBT veterinary students:

A bus ride away from Central Campus at the College of Veterinary Medicine, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has formed a student organization to create their own support system: the College of Veterinary Medicine Spectrum.
Barbara Birtcil, future president of CVM Spectrum and second-year veterinary medicine student, said the group is more of a hub of resources than anything else because students on the Veterinary Medicine campus don’t get to Central Campus too often.
“It’s probably the only way they can get connected to some of the other resources on main campus like [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Student Services] and all the other LGBT organizations,” Birtcil said.

*Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad was deposed last week in a lawsuit that claims the governor fired ex-Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Christopher Godfrey because of his sexual orientation. “His lawsuit alleges discrimination, defamation and extortion. Branstad denies the allegations, contending he wasn’t aware of Godfrey’s sexual orientation. His lawyers say incoming governors have long asked for appointees’ resignations, and Branstad had the authority to set salaries,” the Associated Press reported.

*Photo-journalist Amanda Rivkin reconnects with a gay couple she photographed in 2009:

In April 2009, I traveled from Chicago to Davenport, Iowa to cover the first day gay marriage licenses were issued in that state for The New York Times. In line at the Scott County Recorder’s office that day were these two, Curtis Harris and Daren Adkisson. The picture I took of them ran in the paper and subsequently in over 500 newspapers across America they told me yesterday. They also told me that as Daren was suffering from cancer at the time, the picture led to attention in their community which led to a cancer specialist who was not taking any more patients opening his doors to Daren. While they credit the picture with saving his life, I credit the doctors.

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