North Dakota
KVRR recaps Fargo-Moorhead Pride:

A street of rainbows shined across Downtown Fargo after the early morning rain.
The annual FM Pride Parade had their biggest turnout yet.
Floats, flags and candy littered the streets of downtown as thousands of people poured in for the annual FM Pride Parade.
“Rain or shine, even if it was pouring, we were going to be here anyway because we really want to reflect that love really conquers hate,” said Katie Granger.
People at the parade and rally managed to avoid getting wet on this rainy day.
“You can kind of tell this is kind of a sanctuary city in the area because you can see all the kids from all the rural town who didn’t fit in, they come here and they celebrate,” said Annie Motschenbacher.
One of the organizers told me it’s not just a time to celebrate but it’s also a time to reflect.
“Reflect on the work that has been done since Stonewall and all of the work that different groups have been doing tirelessly,” said Planning Committee Co-Chair Christina Lindseth. “All the different groups: Lesbian, Gay, Transgender… We reflect on those people who’ve given, as well as our allies. Now we reflect on these last eight months, everything that has been going on in the nation, everything that has gone on in our local community, as well as Virginia.”

Valley News Live also covered the weekend’s festivities and noted the lack of hate crime laws in the state:

A parade and rally wrapped up Fargo-Moorhead PRIDE 2017, bringing LGBTQ+ community members and allies alike together to show that our community won’t tolerate hate or discrimination. Though great strides have been made, many people still agreed that more work needs to be done so everyone is treated equally under the law.

A topic that hit the top of the PRIDE rally was the topic of hate crimes. While the Fargo-Moorhead community is supportive and welcoming of those who identify as LGBTQ+, Fargo doesn’t have any specific hate crime ordinances and the state of North Dakota does not have any hate crime laws. PRIDE advocate John Strand said “I do believe we need some policies on the books to address these circumstances when they happen.”
In North Dakota, LGBTQ+ people are not considered a protected class and Republican leaders in the state point to the Federal protections already in place for why they won’t pass what’s become known as non-discrimination ordinances. Strand, and others at the rally, disagree saying, “the only protections that exist are at the Federal level but you can’t turn everything into a Federal investigation.”

Wisconsin
LGBTQ Nation notes that a Wisconsin court has sided with a photographer who wants to deny service to LGBTQ people:

The Alliance Defending Freedom is declaring a victory after a Wisconsin court said they would clarify that a nondiscrimination law doesn’t apply to an anti-gay photographer because she operates a home business. The bombastic law firm, however, is pretending that they succeeded in overturning an inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance meant to “punish” their client.
Amy Lawson, who owns Amy Lynn Photography Studio, doesn’t want to serve gay couples who are seeking a wedding photographer. No couples have actually approached her and she doesn’t have a commercial space open to the public. There was no “punishment” to overturn because she had no standing to sue since she wasn’t harmed and couldn’t be.
Instead, according the firm’s bio of the plaintiff, Lawson put a notice on her blog that she wouldn’t serve gay and lesbian couple in 2016. After a customer complained, she took down the statement “for fear it might violate the law.” While Lawson didn’t know what the law actually said, you’d think the Alliance Defending Freedom would, but getting publicity has always been more important to the group than getting justice.

The Shepherd Express reviews a book about Milwaukee’s LGBTQ history:

These rare glimpses into Milwaukee’s early LGBTQ community (although it had no such title at the time), were only brought about by arrest and scandal. But evidence suggests that the city already had a secretive network of such like-minded people early on in the 1900s. Downtown hotels, bars, rooming houses and parks became known, by both members of the community and the police, as hangouts for gay Milwaukeeans. Police raids of these spaces resulted in arrests and, often times, in the public “outing” of the men charged as their names and addresses were listed in articles in the Milwaukee Journaland Sentinel. As noted by the Milwaukee LGBT History Project, at least one of these men committed suicide after having being named as a “deviate” in the paper.
According to Michail Takach’s 2016 book, LGBT Milwaukee, there were at least 33 gay or lesbian bars in the city pre-Stonewall. Most of these places were clustered in the river-bound Downtown districts long known for their embrace of certain behaviors—prostitution, gambling, drug use and others—that would not have been tolerated in other neighborhoods.

WSAU reports that a measure to add gender identity protections to the Stevens Point housing policy passed a key committee last week:

The City of Stevens Point’s Public Protection Committee unanimously approved a change to the city’s housing discrimination ordinance to protect transgender citizens on Monday night.
City Attorney Andrew Beveridge said the change isn’t hard to make, and a few words go a long way.
Beveridge said, “The amendment you’re looking at is just a small handful of words repeated several times throughout a couple sections of the ordinance, in an ordinance that’s otherwise quite detailed, but as you can tell from the statement you heard tonight, those words have a big impact.”
Committee Chair Mary McComb said that even though there are federal housing discrimination protections, the city should set an example by making the change to their own ordinance.

Iowa
An Iowa Democrat who was attacked over his support for transgender equality won his district, the Rewire reports:

Democrat Phil Miller was victorious in Tuesday’s special election for Iowa’s House District 82, despite a targeted GOP campaign to criticize his support of protections for transgender people.
Elsewhere, Democrats in Missouri failed to flip a seat that will now be held by an anti-choice activist.
Advertisements paid for by Republican candidate Travis Harris’ campaign and the Iowa Republican Party attacked Miller, the Fairfield school board president, for voting in favor of a policy allowing students to use the restroom corresponding with their gender identity. “We can’t afford to trust his poor judgment,” the ad said.
LGBTQ rights group One Iowa said in a statement published by Iowa Public Radio that the ad was “recklessly fueling rhetoric that contributes to harassment and violence that transgender people face.”

A reader in the Des Moines Register took Rep. David Young to task for anti-transgender language in his constituent survey:

Iowa’s Third District Rep. David Young frequently emails what he calls his “60-Second Survey” seeking input on issues/legislation that are of importance to his constituents. His most recent survey asks about use of taxpayer funds for gender therapy for military personnel.

South Dakota
The Associated Press notes that a Democratic candidate for governor is standing up for transgender students:

AP A Democratic governor candidate is speaking out against restricting which facilities transgender students could use in South Dakota schools.
State Sen. Billie Sutton said in a Friday statement to The Associated Press that such laws are a “solution in search of a problem.”

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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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