aroundtheregion

North Dakota
The National LGBTQ Task Force, one of the nation’s largest LGBTQ organizations, lent its support of the protesters at Standing Rock, according to a press release last week:

“We proudly join LGBTQ advocates across the country in celebrating the rich history and culture of First Americans. We’d also like to take this opportunity to express our solidarity with our Native American family, friends and community who are taking action to protect drinking water against contamination in North Dakota. For generations, Native American communities have been marginalized, stripped of their land, forced to relocate, and denied fairness and justice. We urge the President to go beyond his welcomed re-routing of the Standing Rock pipeline project and to stop the project entirely — and commit to preserving all sacred Native American lands,” said Rea Carey, National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director.

Iowa
A beloved teacher in Omaha and Council Bluffs died in late October. He and his partner were also one of the first couples married in Iowa once same=sex marriage became legal. The Omaha World-Herald has more:

Edwin “Hersh” Rodasky got his nickname from Hershey’s chocolate bars. He lived up to the sweetness of that nickname by inspiring and changing the lives of countless students throughout the Omaha and Council Bluffs area.
Rodasky died Oct. 24 of liver disease. He was 65.
“His impact was immeasurable,” said Michael Yowell, Rodasky’s ex-husband. “He impacted so many students’ lives over the 35 to 40 years that he taught, probably thousands of students. He was able to give confidence to people who didn’t have any confidence, and he encouraged his students to stay on the right path.”
In 2009, he and Yowell were among Iowa’s first gay couples to be legally married. The two spent 30 years together. Yowell said that Rodasky was at the forefront of the gay rights movement.
They adopted daughter Alisha DelSignore when she was 8.
“He was fighting hard to adopt me,” she said. “Back then, in the ’90s, it was really hard for two men to adopt.”
In 2009, Rodasky became a certified wedding officiate and opened his own business, Affordable Heartland Wedding.
“He always had a spiritual side,” Yowell said. “I think he saw once we got married in Iowa, it was the third state with marriage equality, that there were a lot of gay and lesbian couples who came to Iowa to get married. He saw that there was a need for it.”

Wisconsin
An art exhibit in Milwaukee focuses on transgender families, the Wisconsin Gazette reports:

Around 40 photos of transgender people will be on display at the Kenilworth Square East Gallery, 2155 N. Prospect Ave., in Milwaukee, Nov. 4 from 6 to 9 p.m. The exhibit, Our TRANS Family features photographs of transgender people and their families, which includes anyone who identifies as gender fluid or not on the gender binary, to demonstrate the common humanness with the general population. The gallery will also be open on Nov. 5 and 6 from 1 – 4 p.m.
Our TRANS Family is not meant to stress assimilation, but to show people in the transgender community as they express themselves with the support of their families, be it their biological or chosen families, according to the Cream City Foundation, in a press release.

According to religious right news outlet LifeSiteNews, Marquette University is condemning a radical right-wing Catholic group that protested the university’s efforts to be gender-inclusive:

Administrators at Marquette University have rebuked an on-campus demonstration held on Thursday opposing the Catholic university’s embrace of gender ideology.
The protesters, from the American TFP’s Student Action, who were on a tour of Wisconsin, held a 14-foot banner with the quote “God made them male and female” from Genesis 5:2. The scripture quote was followed by, “Stop the ravages of transgender ideology.”
Marquette introduced gender-neutral restrooms to accommodate “transgender” students last year. Signage was replaced, and instead of bathrooms being labeled “Men” and “Women,” they became “Bathroom A” or “B,” and “Bathroom 1” or “2.”
The TFP Student Action demonstration included flyers with information on how transgenderism is dangerous to the family, triggering some hostility and at least one faculty member who attempted to block their message.
A counter-protest by students was joined by the university provost, who said the TFP Student Action demonstration consisted of “messages of discrimination” that do not reflect “who” Marquette is.
“Messages of discrimination are completely out of alignment with who we are,” Dan Myers blogged.

The Wisconsin State Journal continues the conversation about how the state’s voter identification laws will disenfranchise transgender voters:

The state’s new law requiring voters to present photo identification could mean uncomfortable questions at the polls for people who are transgender or others whose physical appearance or name may not closely match their identification.
Transgender advocates said they’ve heard of scattered stories about poll workers expressing skepticism of some people who don’t identify with their biological gender during the spring and fall primaries, when the state’s photo ID law was in effect.
And state election officials said clerks have sought guidance on how to handle such situations.
[Gender, geography, outlook divide Clinton, Trump supporters] The Nov. 8 election is the first presidential election in which voters must present photo identification.
“It’s very public,” said Z! Haukeness, a Madison resident who is transgender. “Some people might feel intimidated even going there (and) worry about being outed. They’re going to ask, ‘Is it worth the stress of it?'”
While poll workers are not required to check a person’s gender on an ID, some city and county clerks who oversee elections have asked the state’s Elections Commission for guidance on how to handle situations in which transgender voters don’t have closely matching identification, according to spokesman Reid Magney.
And transgender voters are concerned they will face questions or even be turned away after showing IDs that may have photos and names listed that don’t match their current appearance or identity, possibly forcing those voters to reveal they are transgender or discouraging voting altogether.

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