aroundtheregion

Iowa
Two Iowa boards have been considering a ban on “ex-gay” conversion therapy, and one of them decided against such a ban this week, KCCI reports:

The Iowa Board of Psychology has decided against adopting a policy that bans Iowa-licensed psychologists from counseling gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender children to change their sexual orientation in a practice known as conversion therapy.

The board on Friday denied a petition that would have prohibited state-licensed mental health providers from trying to reverse a patient’s sexual orientation.

Board spokeswoman Sharon Dozier declined to discuss reasons, saying the board will release its full written decision later.

Also on Friday, an Iowa Board of Medicine committee said it needs further study after hearing from doctors who say conversion therapy can be harmful to children and a religious group that says such a ban may infringe on religious rights.

The Des Moines Register reports on the cost and toll paid due to anti-transgender discrimination in assisted living systems:

A quest by a Des Moines hospital to find a nursing home in Iowa willing to take a stroke victim who also happened to be transgender and bipolar took four and a half months.

After a wide search and several evaluations, LeQuan Edwards, 52, landed at the Norwalk Rehabilitation Center, where staffers have been trained to work with transgender people.

The inability of Mercy Hospital Medical Center staff to discharge Edwards cost the hospital significantly and prohibited it from admitting other patients needing medical care.

Only two of the 137 days Edwards spent waiting were covered by Medicaid, according to hospital spokesman Gregg Lagan. The average daily rate only for food and nursing care was more than $1,000, meaning the baseline cost for the 135 remaining days was about $142,000.

A transgender student from Cedar Falls won an award from the ACLU, WHO Radio reports:

The first transgender person to graduate from Cedar Falls High School has been given a civil liberties award by the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa.

The ACLU of Iowa’s 2016 Robert Mannheimer Youth Advocacy Award was granted to Ben Christiasen. He also made history at his high school by being the only transgender boy to compete on the high school’s boys’ cross-country track team.

In awarding the award, the ACLU says Ben “has become an educator on transgender issues for schools, faith groups, and educators both locally and throughout his part of the state.”

The award, named after Des Moines civil rights advocate, attorney Robert Mannheimer, is a $500 cash prize given to an Iowa youth between 14 and 19 with a demonstrated passion for civil liberties.

Ben plans to attend St. Olaf College in Minnesota in the fall.

North Dakota

North Dakota’s LGBTQ community is looking at ways to make services for people who have experienced violence more inclusive, the Bismarck Tribune reports:

A diverse panel made up of lesbian, gay, and transgender people hosted a discussion Wednesday on how domestic violence and rape centers in North Dakota could become more LGBTQ friendly after the results of a survey last year showed that 30 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who sought help at these centers felt unwelcome.

The survey was administered by the LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee, a 12-member group formed in 2014 by the North Dakota Department of Health and the North Dakota Women’s Network to improve the response of domestic violence and rape crisis agencies. The advisory committee hosted Wednesday’s panel at the Health Department’s conference on injury prevention and control at the Radisson in Bismarck.

‚ÄúThere are some centers that are doing good work, that needs to be said, and there are some centers that want to do better work,” said Zach Packineau, chair of the advisory committee.

The committee held the panel to discuss responses from the survey, and to lead a conversation among committee members on what more could be done to make domestic violence and rape centers more inclusive. Three members, who all identify as female, spoke about their work in the LGBTQ community where they live, and they also shared their own stories about growing up being LGBTQ in North Dakota.

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