Around the Region: Chippewa Valley is becoming more LGBTQ friendly

BluGold Media takes a look at LGBTQ climate in the Chippewa Valley:

In the past year, the Chippewa Valley has made strides in its efforts to strengthen the LGBTQIA+ friendliness in the community.
The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire ranked No. 3 in the country on the list of best colleges for LGBTQIA+ students, while recent community efforts have revolved around the opening of a new LGBTQIA+ community center, sponsoring Queer Prom and planning the annual Pride Days that’s expected to draw its biggest crowds yet.
But, what does this mean for students on campus and members across the Chippewa Valley who identify somewhere along the sexuality and gender identity spectrum?

An anti-gay activist has been fired by the Iowa Senate, KCCI reports:

A legislative clerk in the Iowa Senate has been fired over sexual harassment allegations, Secretary of the Senate Charlie Smithson confirmed to KCCI.
Smithson said in a brief statement Saturday afternoon that “a credible complaint of sexual harassment was made” against Jake Dagel, who clerked for state Sen. Waylon Brown, a Republican from Iowa’s 26th District.
“Upon acknowledging the conduct in question, Mr. Dagel was immediately terminated under the Senate’s strict policy prohibiting harassment in the workplace,” Smithson said.
KCCI interviewed Dagel regarding an incident in September in which he sued the city of Des Moines over traffic cameras.
In 2013, Des Moines Area Community College paid nearly $14,000 to settle a free-speech lawsuit filed by Dagel, who was barred from distributing fliers criticizing a conference on gay youth.

One Iowa is marking 9 years of marriage equality, North Iowa Today reports:

A leading Iowa lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) organization is celebrating 9 years of marriage equality.
Nine years ago today on April 3, 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously decided to uphold Iowa’s legacy of equality and make Iowa the third state in the nation to establish marriage equality (Varnum v. Brien). Six brave plaintiff couples and families raised their voices, shared their stories, and stood up to intense public scrutiny in order to advance equality for same-sex couples statewide. Varnum v. Brien was a watershed moment for the nationwide LGBTQ rights movement that proved marriage equality could be achieved not just on the coasts, but in the heartland as well.
“One Iowa was founded as a marriage equality organization in 2005, and Varnum v. Brien was an incredible victory not only for our organization, but LGBTQ people throughout the state,” One Iowa Executive Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel said. “We’ve moved on to other important work, but One Iowa will never forget the Courageous Six and their contribution to LGBTQ equality in Iowa. We would not be where we are today without them, and I personally would not have had the privilege of marrying my husband Charles in 2010.”

The American Legion has reversed course and will allow a transgender boy to participate in youth programs, the Des Moines Register reports:

A transgender Iowa boy will be allowed to attend Boys State, an American Legion’s high school program, after the state board first denied himacceptance into the program.
Emmet Cummings, a transgender high school student from Center Point, said he was denied by the organization’s state board of directors March 19 after he was nominated by his local post in November to attend the weeklong governmental educational program.
Michael Etzel, president of the American Legion Hawkeye Boys State board, said they announced they were going to make an exception for Emmet on March 26. He referred questions regarding the exception back to the American Legion of Iowa headquarters.
Daniel McClure, one of six members of the legion’s board of directors, previously told the Register that the board was reinforcing its decades-old rules when it emphasized: You must be a biological male to attend Boys State.

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