Iowa
A lawsuit has been launched against the Iowa Department of Human Services over ban on Medicaid coverage for transgender-inclusive health care, the Des Moines Register reports:

Two transgender women are suing the Iowa Department of Human Services, saying the agency’s ban on Medicaid coverage for transition-related medical services such as sex-reassignment surgery is illegal and unconstitutional.
In their challenge of the Human Services rule, the women — Carol Ann Beal of northwest Iowa and EerieAnna Good of the Quad Cities — argue that the state’s Medicaid ban violates patients’ rights to equal protection under the law as promised by the Iowa state constitution and the Iowa Civil Rights Act.
“As the result of this sweeping exclusion, all surgical treatments for gender dysphoria are excluded from coverage, even though the same or substantially equivalent treatments are provided to non-transgender Iowans,” said Rita Bettis, legal director of the ACLU of Iowa, which is representing the woman.
Gender dysphoria is the medical term for feeling that one’s inner masculinity or femininity is incongruent with his or her biological sex.
Human Services declined to address Thursday’s filing, saying the department doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
Bettis pointed to mastectomies as an example of the inherent unfairness of the ban.
The same breast-removal surgery that is covered under cancer treatment is banned as a treatment for gender dysphoria, even if doctors in both cases deem the surgery to be “medically necessary.”

The Oskaloosa Herald checks in with the town’s PFLAG group after its first two years:

In the basement of St. Paul Congregational United Church of Christ, Tuesday night, Sept. 19, chairs were arranged into a circle. More than a dozen people chatted and grabbed some refreshments before taking their seats. Following the meeting, the group watched the movie “Stonewall Uprising.”
The people were there for a meeting of the Oskaloosa PFLAG chapter meeting. The informal and welcoming welcoming setting began with each person sharing their name, preferred gender pronouns and shared a little bit about themselves.
Chad Farner, a member of PFLAG, led the group through a few items of business before opening up the free discussion.
“I continue to be excited and amazed about the interest that the group generates,” Farner said. “It will be October of 2015 that we became an official chapter. Sometimes it seems like we’ve been doing it a long, long time. But also it’s just been two years and I think about all the things that we’ve done and the conversations that I’ve seen go on, and the fact that the Herald is putting front page articles about LGBTQ issues and putting it all in a positive light is—I think that says a lot for the fact that we’re all here and continue to come and make this thing happen. I get excited about that. That gets me revved up when I show up at these meetings.”

Wisconsin
The Christian Post (an publication opposed to LGBTQ equity) is drawing attention to a campaign to have a LGBTQ prom shut down at Marquette University:

Over 17,000 people have signed onto a petition protesting a Wisconsin Catholic University’s decision to hold an LGBT “Pride Prom.”
The LGBT Resource Center of the Milwaukee-based Marquette University recently announced that it will be holding the campus’ first-ever Pride Prom in the spring.
“Save the Date! We are excited to announce PRIDE PROM 2018 for the first time at Marquette in the AMU Ballrooms on April 14, 2018. This will be an all-ages, family-friendly event and open to the public,” the Resource Center said.
The conservative Catholic organization Tradition Family Property launched a petition last week protesting the event that as of Thursday morning has gotten more than 17,000 signatories.
The petition is addressed to Marquette University President Michael Lovell and calls on him to cancel the event, appealing to the academic institution’s Catholic identity.
“‘PRIDE PROM’ is scheduled in Alumni Memorial Union, the same building that houses the Chapel of the Holy Family, where Our Lord in Holy Eucharist is present,” reads the petition.

North Dakota
Williston’s annual LGBTQ event celebrated its third year last weekend, the Williston Herald reports:

Members of Williston’s LGBT community are extending an open invitation to an annual party planned for this weekend at the Upper Missouri Valley Fairgrounds.
The third Williston Rainbow Rendezvous is set for Saturday night at the fairground’s beer garden, where partygoers will crown a drag queen and drag king by the end of the night.
The 21-and-over free event runs from 7 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and includes a cash bar and DJ.
Organizer Alex Johnson, a Williston native who is a founding member of the Rainbow Rendezvous, says in past years the gathering has been both a party and a way for people to connect, regardless of sexual orientation.

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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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