aroundtheregion

Wisconsin
Anti-transgender, openly gay white nationalist Milo Yiannopoulos went after a transgender student in his speech in Milwaukee last week, New York Magazine reports:

On Tuesday, alt-right troll Milo Yiannopoulos made yet another stop on his tour of colleges and universities across the country. He spoke at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, where he was invited by a conservative student group, and he used his platform to mock a transgender student, displaying her name and photo prominently onscreen.
In critiquing leftist criticism of the phrase “man up,” Yiannopoulos saidaround the 49:52 mark, “I’ll tell you one UW-Milwaukee student that does not need to man up.” He then showed the student’s photo. “Have any of you come into contact with this person?” he asked. “This quote unquote nonbinary trans woman forced his way into the women’s locker rooms this year.” He went on:
“I see you don’t even read your own student media. He got into the women’s room the way liberals always operate, using the government and the courts to weasel their way where they don’t belong. In this case he made a Title IX complaint. Title IX is a set of rules to protect women on campus effectively. It’s couched in the language of equality, but it’s really about women, which under normal circumstances would be fine, except for how it’s implemented. Now it is used to put men in to women’s bathrooms. I have known some passing trannies in my life. Trannies — you’re not allowed to say that. I’ve known some passing trannies, which is to say transgender people who pass as the gender they would like to be considered.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel gives some additional background:

A firebrand speaker who was permanently banned from Twitter for “inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others” blasted a transgender student by name at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, prompting the school’s chancellor to immediately condemn the speech in a campus-wide email.
Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos brought his “Dangerous Faggot Tour” to the Student Union at UWM on Tuesday night at the invitation of a new student group called Turning Point USA.
During his speech to a crowd the university estimated at 325 to 350 people, plus others watching via live stream on the Breitbart website, Yiannopoulos singled out a transgender student who had protested against a new UWM policy created for its recreation center’s locker rooms.
The policy was adopted after the student — who is in the process of physical transition from male to female — used the sauna in the women’s locker room last January. The new policy requires that “non-conforming genitalia be covered at all times,” and the university added private showers and changing rooms with curtains to make that easier.
Yiannopoulos named and showed a picture of the student to his audience, and accused the student of being a man trying to find his way into women’s bathrooms.
“The way you know he’s failed is I can still bang him,” said Yiannopoulos, who is gay.

That student sharply criticized university officials for allowing Yiannopoulos to attack them, Media Milwaukee reports:

The UW-Milwaukee transgender student who was singled out by controversial speaker Milo Yiannopoulos sent an angry, expletive-filled email to Chancellor Mark Mone, accusing the chancellor of insulting her and engaging in “goddamn lip service.”
“GO F-CK YOURSELF,” Adelaide Karen Kramer – whose photo Yiannopoulos projected onto a screen during his speech – started the email, which she sent to the chancellor and 458 members of the university community on December 14, the morning after Breitbart editor Yiannopoulos spoke to a sold-out crowd in the Wisconsin Room at the UWM Student Union. Kramer was responding to an email that Mone sent to all students and faculty after Yiannopoulos’ incendiary speech, in which he mocked Kramer and referenced whether he would want to have sex with her.
“Do you have any f-cking idea how hurtful this is? Do you know what it’s like to be in a room full of people who are laughing at you as if you’re some sort of perverted freak, and how many of them would have hollered at me (or worse) if I was outed? Do you know what this kind of terror is?” Kramer wrote the chancellor of the Milwaukee public university. (Kramer was featured in a recent in-depth profile by Media Milwaukee, which reported that UWM still does not have a clear formal policy for transgender students’ use of locker rooms at the Klotsche Center. You can read that here.)
In another sign of how heated the fallout continued to be in the wake of Yiannopoulos’ speech, a Libertarian student group at UW-Milwaukee, Young Americans for Liberty, received a threat of violence on Facebook the day after the talk.

The Milwaukee Bucks are hosting a Pride Night in March, Urban Milwaukee reports:

The Milwaukee Bucks will host Pride Night, presented by the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network, on Saturday, March 4, when the Toronto Raptors visit the BMO Harris Bradley Center. In partnership with the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, of which both the Bucks and Froedtert & MCW are proud members, the team will celebrate diversity and inclusion throughout the game by highlighting members of the local LGBT community throughout the night, including the singing of the anthem and the halftime entertainment.
“We’re proud to join with our great partners at the Froedtert & MCW health network and the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce to host this special night celebrating diversity and the vibrant LGBT community here in Milwaukee,” Bucks President Peter Feigin said. “As an organization, we strive to create an inclusive atmosphere for all of our fans at every game. Pride Night will be another wonderful opportunity for the entire community to come together and celebrate what makes our city special.”

According to Media Matters, Yiannopoulos continues the attack at an appearance in Mankato, Minn.:

Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos continued to attack a transgender student from the University of Wisconsin during his December 15 talk at Minnesota State University.
On December 13, Yiannopoulos spoke at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UMW), where he used the opportunity to openly mock and harass a transgender student that was recently enrolled at the school. As detailed by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Yiannopoulos “named and showed a picture of the student to his audience.” Yiannopoulos proceeded to attack the student’s physical appearance, using an anti-transgender slur and adding, “The way you know he’s failed is I can still bang him.”
The student, who was in the audience but reportedly unrecognized, later described the experience of being “frozen in total terror” that Yiannopoulos would cause someone in the audience to “incite the mob of the room against me.” The Breitbart livestream of Yiannopoulos’ talk included a “trigger cam” that targeted individual audience members with the crosshairs of a telescopic gun sight. The personal attacks on the student prompted UMW chancellor to send a campuswide email in which he strongly condemned “the belittling of others and their appearance, and the encouragement of hate and harassment.”
In a December 15 appearance at Minnesota State University, Yiannopoulos reiterated his attacks on the trans student, claiming to be a “second wave feminist icon”:

Iowa
Transgender Iowans face a lot of fear and anxiety over the state’s health care system, the Des Moines Register reports:

Aiden DeLathower began tending the fire pit in his backyard, hours before the sun dipped below the horizon. Restless with a mixture of excitement and anxiety, he paced around the flames like a kid waiting for Christmas morning, nervously poking embers and adding new logs.
Soon, the afternoon’s blue sky gave way to a pink-streaked dusk and eventually faded to night’s deep black. Finally, it was time for the evening’s main event: a bra burning.
Six weeks earlier, DeLathower, a transgender man, had his breasts removed. Now, free from “his chains,” he wanted to put life as a woman behind him. So with the encouragement of friends, DeLathower, 48, held a handful of brassieres over the flames.
“These have trapped me for 48 years,” he said, his voice catching. “Forty-eight years of shame and misery.”
DeLathower dropped in the intimates to ebullient cheers. As the fabric popped and crackled in the heat, he whispered, “Let them burn.”
DeLathower is one of a growing number of transgender people seeking medical care they believe is needed to make their brain match their body, experts said. But for many gender nonconforming people, health care can be difficult to access. Obstacles include a lack of specialized services, exclusions in private or public insurance coverage or the high price of full medical transition, which The Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery estimated could cost more than $100,000.
As transgender people begin to feel more comfortable coming out and living as the gender with which they’ve always identified, they are facing a “patchwork of rampant discrimination amid pockets of progress” in the health care industry, said Harper Jean Tobin, the National Center for Transgender Equality’s policy director.
“Despite having always been here, transgender people have been mostly invisible in society until recently,” Jean Tobin said. “So there is this popular perception that medical treatment needed to alleviate gender dysphoria isn’t real health care. The medical community has resoundingly rejected that perception, but it persists.”

Manitoba
The CBC did a story on two great grandmothers who are also a lesbian couple celebrating 50 years together:

Jean Baker and Sharon Colter’s romance started 50 years ago in a Toronto parking lot, and it’s still going strong in a small house in Winnipeg’s Minto neighbourhood.
In 1966, Baker was 26 years old, a single mom to two toddlers, and it was her first time visiting a gay bar.
“I sat at the bar for over an hour and a half. Nobody said hi to me. I felt really annihilated,” said Baker, now 76 years old. “I backed my car out of the parking lot and was heading out of the street, and I saw this lady, who was walking like John Wayne — she has this big stride on her — and I thought, ‘Well, I’ll ask her where girls meet.'”
But Baker got cold feet and ended up circling the lot three times to try to come up with something to say.
“I never did any pick-up lines in my life. I was always on the receiving end of pick-up lines,” said Baker. “I rolled down the window … I said, ‘Wanna go for a ride and raise a little hell?’ I don’t know where that came from. It was just right off the top of my head.'”
With a little coaxing, Colter agreed, and 50 years later the pair are great-grandmothers living in Winnipeg.
“It’s been an adventure, and it’s still an adventure,” said Colter.

South Dakota
Rapid City’s LGBTQ community gathered last week to remember two people who lost their lives recently, KOTA reports:

The Rapid City community gathered together to remember two lives lost.

These are the lives of two women taken by suicide in the same week.
Sunday St Andrews Episcopal Church was a gathering place for lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexuals and their allies to keep these women in memory.
It also lets the LGBTQs in our communities know that they are not alone.
The gathering was a call to action on how to support those who feel like they want to take their lives.
In doing so the Queer South Dakota organization was created. They have a 24-hour help line for those who need resources or someone to talk to.
The goal is to make the minorities in our community feel welcomed, less fearful and empowered.
“It’s a matter of the lives that are right in front of us, the faces, and the people that are right in front of us and making sure that we are loving them as best as we can and that the world is safe for them as well. The reality is that right now rapid city isn’t safe for all LGBT community people in all places,” said Queer South Dakota president, Brett Ray.

The Dakota Free Press notes that South Dakota has rated poorly on the State Equality Index:

Now the Human Rights Campaign and the Equality Federation provide the State Equality Index showing things may get worse for LGBT South Dakotans before they get better.
South Dakota is one of 28 states in the State Equality Index’s lowest category, in which LGBT citizens are still struggling to reach basic equality:
Most of these states, including Arizona, North Carolina, South Dakota and Florida, have many laws that undermine LGBTQ equality, from those that criminalize HIV and sodomy, to measures allowing religious-based discrimination against LGBTQ people. None have non-discrimination laws that explicitly include sexual orientation or gender identity protections; few have hate crime laws with those protections. LGBTQ advocates largely work to defeat bad bills and pass municipal protections for LGBTQ people [Mark Snyder, “Report Finds Opponents of LGBTQ Equality Are Ramping up State Efforts to Sanction Discrimination,” Equality Federation, 2016.12.14].
Hey, state legislatures, don’t you have bigger problems to worry about?
The State Equality Index scorecard for South Dakotashows we have none of the laws on non-discrimination, parenting, hate crimes, or health and safety that HRC views as promoting LGBT equality. We have just two of HRC’s ten positive youth laws: measures dealing with cyberbullying and transgender inclusion in sports. Certain religious paranoiacs in the Legislature and the public may undermine that inclusion with another transgender potty bill. Such anti-LGBT bills have surged in the last three years, and while Donald Trump’s Presidential intentions on LGBT policy are unclear, the Human Rights Campaign thinks Trump is opening the door for an even bigger surge of anti-LGBT legislation from conservative activists and legislators who hear chants of “Make America Straight Again.” Trump’s clearest signal that it’s open season on LGBT Americans may be his VP, corporate Christian theocrat Mike Pence.

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Andy Birkey
Andy Birkey has written for a number of Minnesota and national publications. He founded Eleventh Avenue South which ran from 2002-2011, wrote for the Minnesota Independent from 2006-2011, the American Independent from 2010-2013. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, The Star Tribune, The Huffington Post, Salon, Cagle News Service, Twin Cities Daily Planet, TheUptake, Vita.mn and much more. His writing on LGBT issues, the religious right and social justice has won awards including Best Beat Reporting by the Online News Association, Best Series by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorable mention by the Sex-Positive Journalism awards.

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