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Friday, October 20, 2017

MN attorney general joins brief in support of Georgia lesbian’s discrimination lawsuit


Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, together with 17 state attorneys general, last week filed an amicus brief in support of a Georgia lesbian who is suing her employer for discrimination. The brief asks the U.S. Supreme court to weigh in on whether Title VII of the Civil Rights act should apply to sexual orientation.

Jameka Evans was a security guard at Georgia Regional Hospital and according to her lawsuit says that she was discriminated against because she is a lesbian and because she refused to conform to gender stereotypes. Evans and her attorneys have lost their case in lower courts but are appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Employment discrimination against gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers not only deprives them of important economic opportunities—it also stigmatizes their most intimate relationships and thus ‘diminish[es] their personhood,'” the attorneys general wrote. They argue that because some courts have ruled that Title VII protects LGBTQ employees and others have ruled that it doesn’t, the Supreme Court must resolve this issue. “Because the amici States’ gay, lesbian, and bisexual populations will be exposed to significant harms while the split persists, the States have a substantial interest in this Court’s prompt resolution of the important question presented here.”

Here’s the brief:

Download (PDF, 188KB)

McCollum, Walz want answers about Trump’s trans troop ban


Minnesota Reps. Betty McCollum and Tim Walz were among 114 members of Congress seeking answers from Defense Secretary James Mattis about Trump’s order banning on transgender people from enlisting in the military.

Specifically, the lawmakers are seeking information on any communications between the White House and the Pentagon about the ban on transgender people enlisting:

“We request information about what discussions or correspondence between the White House and the Pentagon, if any, led President Trump to make his assertion. If senior military or Department of Defense personnel asked that the president ban transgender individuals from military service, we request access to any letters, e-mails, telephone transcripts, meeting logs and minutes, or other materials that document such requests,” the letter stated. “If the Department has records of any other discussions that might have justified the president’s claim, we request to see those materials, as well. We seek access to these materials in order to determine whether the president, his national security team, and military leaders are actively coordinating policy with one another, or whether the president’s transgender ban announcement reflected a breakdown in communication.”

Rep. A. Donald McEachin, the lead author of the letter, blasted Trump’s ban:

“Decades ago senior military leadership and Members of Congress tried to say that a group of people, African-Americans, were not fit to serve and would run at the sight of a battle. I cannot believe that we are here today facing similar discrimination against transgender individuals. Transgender individuals are already bravely serving our country and do not need this discriminatory distraction.”

In a letter on Aug. 31, Reps. McCollum and Walz as well as Keith Ellison were among 143 members of Congress urging Trump to drop the ban.

Here’s the full letter:

Download (PDF, 2.71MB)

Out North Brings Minnesota’s LGBTQ+ History To TPT On October 16th


Out North – MNLGBTQ History dusts off important stories from the annals of queer history and brings them to your living room starting on October 16th. Out North is a documentary coming to TPT (our local PBS affiliate) chronicling the history of queer Minnesota and showing the social and political strides our state has made since the 1970s. The documentary focuses on those identities that have been underrepresented as white gay culture has become more mainstream. The film therefore covers stories of the Minnesota Two Spirit community alongside other queer communities of color. Also featured are stories of rarely remembered movements in queer culture like the women from the “Back to the Land” movement and tales of what it was like to be LGBTQ+ on the prairies of rural Minnesota.

Out North explores major events in our history alongside showing the different communities and identities that make us up. One such major event is the creation and running of FREE, one of the first LGBTQ+ college organizations in the country. This was considered a radical, revolutionary act that predates Stonewall. The history of Pride and the lack of safety in earlier parades and festivals is also chronicled, highlighting a stark difference between our impressions of Pride now (especially in the Twin Cities).

Films and live events featuring LGBTQ+ history are arguably the most important way to build and keep community. Many in our community don’t know how queer people met each other prior to gay bars becoming commonplace hangouts, and a lot of newly out people aren’t able to name important changemakers and moments in our history. This is not the fault of any individual, but speaks to a larger issue of how LGBTQ+ people have been written out of history or straight washed over time to appease heteronormative, cisnormative culture. Other marginalized communities have oral histories told from generation to generation. That’s where our ability to tell and retain our history is a little bit different. One has to first find a chosen queer family, and then catch up on the generations of history, if it hasn’t been lost by then. That makes projects like Out North especially crucial. You don’t have to buy a ticket. You don’t have to know someone in the event to find out about it. This film chock full of some of our most vital history is coming to TPT, a PBS syndicate that most of us have access too even without cable. This is a huge step forward for access to this history in Minnesota, and the stories, people, and moments covered in Out North are sure to affect even the most jaded of us.

According to Out North‘s page on the TPT website: “The film explores the past through people and place, personal moments and major milestones. Rather than chronicling politics and policy, these stories tilt toward the human, lived experience.”

Local LGBTQ+ heroes and activists such as Andrea Jenkins and Stewart Van Cleve are also involved in the project, making it feel extra personal to those of us that have been working or creating in the LGBTQ+ community over the past several years.

Out North – MNLGBTQ History relied heavily on the materials available through the Tretter Collection at the University of Minnesota. The Tretter Collection, from their website, includes:

“The Michael McConnell Files, the largest Two Spirit Collection available, the Jim Chalgren Collection, the personal papers of Professor Toni McNaron, Patrick Scully, Dallas S. Drake, Stuart Ferguson, and Tobias Schneebaum. The archives of the National Log Cabin Republicans, National Education Association GLBT Caucus, the Lesbian Review of Books Archive, Gay/Lesbian Postal Employees Network (PEN) Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Paper Eagles–the employee group of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Ramsey County GLBT Employees Network, and the archives of the Twin Cities-GLBT Pride Committee.”

Out North specifically notes their use of this collection’s visual materials.

The film comes with several showings attached, including one at TPT’s studios themselves, one at Augsburg College, and one at Boneshaker Books. Most watch parties include conversation as well. Tickets are available here. Most events are free but require pre-registration. If you’re not up for an event, don’t worry. TPT will be broadcasting the film at 8:00 P.M. On October 16th.

Around the Region: SD religious right group drops plans for anti-trans bill


South Dakota
Efforts to ban transgender folks from using the bathroom in South Dakota are being put on hold, a conservative Christian group says, according to the Argus Leader:

The Family Heritage Alliance is retreating from its push to pass transgender bathroom legislation in South Dakota.
The influential Christian conservative group said it doesn’t plan to bring the controversial proposal back to Pierre until after Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s final year in office.
The Republican governor vetoed the bill in 2016 and has said he would do the same again if the legislation reached his desk again.
At the Family Heritage Alliance’s annual fundraising dinner Tuesday in Sioux Falls, representatives of the group and its lobbying arm said instead they would focus next year on organizing local activist groups to respond to threats against religious freedoms.
“We know the governor is going to veto it, and it’s an uphill battle and we just don’t want to fight it this year,” Ed Randazzo, the group’s director of political operations, said of the transgender bathroom bill.
The group has reason for optimism after the 2018 election, though. Tuesday’s gala was attended by Republican gubernatorial candidate Marty Jackley and Bryon Noem, husband of U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, who is also running for governor. Each has promised to make their faith key to running the office if elected.

Controversy continues at Marquette University as religious right groups pressure the school to drop a LGBTQ prom planned for 2018, the Marquette Wire reports:

The LGBTQ Resource Center announced plans to hold a Pride Prom in the spring of 2018 for members of the LGBTQ community and the general public. If the plan goes through, Marquette will be the first Catholic university to do so.
However, the event has not been met with excitement from the entire community. The prom isn’t scheduled to happen until April 14, 2018, but a petition is circulating the internet, urging President Lovell to shut the dance down.
The petition was started by TFP Student Action and can be found on their website. TFP, which stands for Tradition, Family, Property, is a group that works with students and parents on college campuses across the country to defend traditional moral values and restore the values of Christian civilization, according to their website.
Director of TFP Student Action, John Ritchie, cites the planned location of the Pride Prom as one of his major objections to the event.
“To promote ‘pride’ for any sinful lifestyle cuts at the root of Catholic education,” Ritchie said. “What’s worse is the disrespect shown for the house of God, because the ‘Pride Prom’ is scheduled to happen in the same building that houses the Chapel of the Holy Family, where the Holy Eucharist is kept and where Mass is celebrated.”

The Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce named its business of the year, the Green Bay Gazette reports:

The size of a business doesn’t limit its impact, as Robert McCarthy learned last week.
McCarthy launched Accurate Web Solution, a website, digital marketing and app development business in April 2016 and he remains its only employee. Yet his business and cultural efforts earned him the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year Award during the chamber’s annual dinner in Milwaukee on Sept. 27.
“This was my first award and it felt good,” McCarthy said. “I worked hard for it and it feels great to be recognized.”
The Wisconsin Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Chamber of Commerce celebrated its fifth anniversary as a vehicle for LGBT-owned and allied businesses to develop a culture of inclusivity in the state’s business community.

The Stevens Point Journal takes a look at how a community is working to improve transgender equity:

Robert Steinke’s blood was boiling.
Normally a pacifist, he thought about violence.
He had returned home to find his parent shaken. A person had driven past their house and shouted a derogatory slur at Carla, a transgender woman, while she worked in the yard.
“Especially when somebody’s at home, that’s their kingdom,” he said. “That’s their ultimate safe zone. That should never, ever, ever happen.”
The experience was a turning point for Steinke. When Carla came out in 2009, Steinke’s own feelings were complicated. He said he viewed himself as a victim, someone who had lost his father figure. But with that incident, around 2012, Steinke’s attitude changed. He felt he needed to start taking action.
He drove to downtown Stevens Point with a picket sign that read “End Transphobia” to engage and educate his community members. That demonstration was Steinke’s first step toward becoming a local activist for people in the lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender community. Many of his efforts focus on rights for people like Carla who are transgender — those whose gender doesn’t align with the sex they were assigned at birth.
Since then, Steinke has worked with local government officials to make Portage County more inclusive to transgender people. The grandson of a long-time local politician, Steinke said he knew how to navigate the political world to get trans-inclusive policies on the books. Per Steinke’s recommendations:
In January 2016, the Stevens Point City Council voted to protect its employees from discrimination based on gender identity and expression.
In December 2016, the Portage County Board voted to follow suit with the city.
In August this year, the City Council voted to also to include gender identity and expression as protected classes in its fair housing code.

Over twenty RuPaul’s Drag Race alums coming to Minneapolis to raise money for Puerto Rico


It will likely be on of the biggest gathering of RuPaul’s Drag Race alums in history and it will take place in Minneapolis. Local queer event organizers, Flip Phone, have teamed up with Drag Race star Phi Phi O’Hara to bring the stars of the hit show to a yet-to-be-announced Twin Cities venue to raise funds for Puerto Rico. In particular, proceeds from the event will benefit Somos Una Voz, a relief Initiative started by Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. The organization “is rushing food, shelter, medicine, power, and communications to those in need from the effects of recent natural disasters in Puerto Rico.”

Hurricane Maria has left millions of U.S. citizens on Puerto Rico without power, clean water, or access to food, and the federal government response to the disaster has been heavily criticized.

According to Billboard.com, Phi Phi O’Hara announced the benefit which will be called Queens United/ Reinas Unidas. O’Hara has set up a You Caring page asking for donations to help offset the costs of the event.

23 queens have signed on to help, according to Billboard, though the outlet notes that the line-up may change. They are: Acid Betty, Alexis Michelle, Chad Michaels, Cynthia Lee Fontaine, Darienne Lake, Farrah Moan, Ginger Minj, Jade Jolie, Jade Sotomayor, Jessica Wild, Jiggly Caliente, Kimora Blac, Naysha Lopez, Nicole Paige Brooks, Madame LaQueer, Mariah Paris Balenciaga, Mrs. Kasha Davis, Mystique Summers, Ongina, Pandora Boxx, Phi Phi O’Hara, Trinity Taylor and Yara Sofia.

“It has already been such an amazing and overwhelmingly positive response, we as a world and especially as a community are going to be able to come together and to something unlike anything before and make a HUGE difference,” O’Hara wrote on the You Caring page.

Event information can be found on Facebook.

Queering the Tarot: Page of Swords


The Page or Knave of Swords normally stands proudly but hesitantly holding a sword while looking either towards or away from the action. As a person, this Page is normally young or new on their path. Pages are messengers and the Swords are our cards of logic, cool heads, mental health, and recovering from oppression or trauma. Writers frequently get a lot of Swords court cards, as do doctors, mathematicians, and scientists (to name a few). The Page of Swords then brings new insight or clarity to a tense situation, illuminates new ways of healing or coping, or brings a new type of thought and energy into a situation. The Swords cards are action oriented once we have a plan, so this Page is also ready to wield that Sword, so long as they know what they’re doing. As advice, you are likely being called to be a person who brings fresh thought and critical planning into a situation, or perhaps you’re being told that you have a plan already so it’s time to take charge and act. As an event, it is likely that you are entering a period of new ideas or insights into your own life right now, or that this is a period where you’re learning a lot of new information. The Page of Swords is critically honest and forever curious about the “why” of any given situation. All of the Swords court cards represent a time to cut out or cut off negative habits, relationships, or situations. The Page is a good bit kinder than the rest of these court cards, so if that’s the message that comes through in a reading this is likely a mutual decision, or a habit that’s died off already and now it’s time to embrace it, or it’s something you can gently ween yourself off of.

The Page of Swords has shown up a lot of for me in tarot pretty much since I started my journey in a dusty dorm room basement a decade and a half ago. Quite frankly, once I realized I was queer, this card showed up again and again and again to push me to just get it over with and come out. I’ve seen that be true for several other clients. Even if one is already out to the world at large, this card indicates a need to come out at work, to your grandparent, or wherever that hole in honesty lies. The Page is not a negative card, so it’s safe to come out now. Alternatively, the Page of Swords speaks a lot to sexual and gender fluidity. Many of us come out as one thing, with a specific understanding of ourselves or our identity. As that shifts and evolves, the Page of Swords will show up to urge you to live your truth, however fleeting or confusing that truth may be. Words are important to Swords cards; there are many other cards that deal with fluidity where you don’t have to call yourselves anything, but with a Page of Swords, labels can be affirming and freeing. This card does then urge you to seek a label that fits your current experience. As your sexual identity shift and grows, the Page of Swords will probably show up each time as that annoying tough love friend, promising you that all of this was safe to feel, discuss, and live as, but pushing you to accept yourself in all of your various iterations. This card will also call you to actually face any changes you’re going through, instead of running or doubling down on labels or identities that no longer fit you.

While Wands deal more directly with social justice action than I often see the Swords as doing, this Page is a call to action. We’ve spent this whole suit dealing with oppression, and we spent the Wands suit learning to harness our fire into something actionable. Now this Page of Swords shows up to ensure us that all of this planning has paid off, and we are ready to pick up a Sword and fight. This is most likely a head-on battle. The Swords do represent law, medicine, etc. This is not fighting from within or trying to create change while also holding a job in one of these offices. The Page wants you to prep for a battle, you versus the person or organization you’ve been struggling with. You are ready.

We’ve talked a lot about the Swords in regards to mental health and healing from trauma. This Page brings a kind but urgent cool-headedness as you realize it’s time to bring in a professional to help you through your next stages of healing. You need psychological insight that doing the work on your own will no longer provide, but you’re also ready and feeling equipped to doing the deep dive that any good therapist will require of you. It is not only spiritually safe to move to another plane of coping or healing, but it’s emotionally safe to dig in deep and allow for third party insight. In some cases, this card could indicate that medicine for your mental health is needed now. You’re either starting a cycle of mental illness again or are coming out of one, and a Page of Swords shows up because they just want you to feel better this time around.

As we look at the world around us right now, it’s so easy to feel completely overwhelmed and frustrated. So many of us are dealing with really deep cases of compassion fatigue, disassociation, or blatant exhaustion from trying to handle everything. The Page of Swords also seems to be evolving to adapt to these times. I’m seeing people who have never struggled with mental illness before needing therapy or to learn coping mechanisms. I’m seeing some of the most well-balanced people I’ve ever met start to spin out. These are difficult, trying times. The Page of Swords shows up to remind you of the reality of the situation, both good and bed. Yes, this oppression that the Swords often deal with is very real. It’s not all coming from institutions this time either; homes are being destroyed from natural disasters and we are left literally picking up the debris, often without the aid of the places we are supposed to trust to help us. The Page of Swords is not going to lie to you about the reality we are facing.

However, the Page of Swords does bring a new view. Part of queering anything is learning alternative ways of existing, loving, and thriving. If we can’t rely on a government agency to offer an opportunity to help, we can find a new way to aid those in need. We can form a new organization, send what’s needed to individuals we know how to reach, or get together to brainstorm totally new ways of putting our passion into action. Ultimately this is what the Page of Swords wants us to do, and it’s what too much of the world needs from us now. The old ways are broken, and they might not be fixable. Find a new way. Be a new way.

Be sure to check out the full Queering the Tarot series.

Twin Cities queer arts must-sees this October


Welcome back to the Queer Arts Must Sees, our awesome round up of great Twin Cities arts events being produced, performed, or otherwise directly created by or of interest to LGBTQ+ artists and audiences in the Twin Cities. October is my favorite month of the year for two very worthy reasons: Halloween and all the goodies that entails, and the plethora of queer art the season change always seems to inspire. Here are some of the things we at The Column are most excited about this October.

Theatre & Film
The Haunted Basement is back by the time you’re reading this, and I’m already terrified and excited. This is basically the haunted house of your dreams (well, your nightmares at least), and always features lots of queer artists. They have a great new location and website too, so if you’ve never been, this is the year to give it a go.

These Shining Lives by Melanie Marnich brings Uprising Theatre Company back for the season. This piece, directed by Shalee Coleman, tells the story of the Radium Girls from the 1920s. Tickets are $20, but Uprising offers Pay What You Can options on all shows starting at $5. The show runs October 6th-14th at the Phoenix Theater. Find out more here.

Also starting October 5th is an unorthodox look at men in relationships that veers into all of their private thoughts, conversations, and fears in Unzipped by Mark R. Trost. Unzipped starts at Target Performance Hall in Open Book for the first weekend, and moves to The Landmark Center in St. Paul for it’s second Twin Cities weekend. Check the ticket page for more information, including cast bios!

On October 21st, Gender Reel is back in Minneapolis! This film festival featuring ALL transgender led or featured projects also features art shows, panel discussions, and so much more. Tickets and full line-up available here. This is the festival’s 7th year and looks like one of their best to date.

The Twin Cities Horror Festival takes place starting on October 26th, and one show I’m keeping an eye on is Theatre Unchecked’s Hand-Picked. Hand-Picked is a dark comedy about the realistic horrors of privilege. More available at the Twin Cities Horror Festival website.

Visual  & Literary Arts
There are still some really wonderful arts and crafts fairs going on as we transition into fall. Two that caught my eye because of the number of LGBTQ+ artists involved and the caliber of artwork or crafts for sale are Crafts and Cocktails at Tattersall Distilling and the Prior Affair Art and Craft show.

The Future will be hosting Concocting Queer Scripture on Friday, October 13th. Concocting Queer Scripture is a one-day generative (writing and visual art) workshop facilitated by interdisciplinary artist and Future resident Coco Spadoni. This event is free, but participation is required if you attend.

Local artist heather c. lou (hclou ART) is bringing her gallery show featuring commissioned works by womxn of color and other feminist art pieces to Boneshaker books. The art is already showing at Boneshaker, but on October 20th there’s a reading from hclou ART’s written work. Light refreshments will be served, and a $5 love donation is encouraged. Find out more on the event’s Facebook page.

Music & Comedy

Jason Schommer is coming to Lush for a one man show about brushes with celebrities and his quest to be among them. Schommer is a storyteller and stand-up comedian who has had success all over the country. This show is just $5, and tickets are available here.

Drag, Burlesque, and Cabaret
The Minneapolis Burlesque Festival on October 5th-8th  is one of the greatest weekends in Minneapolis, and this year promises to step it up even more. Violet Chachki will be featuring, as will renowned national burlesque acts Kitten ‘N Lou and Poison Ivory. This is all in addition to the over 100 acts from all over the world joining us in Minneapolis. More information (including ticket purchase info) is available on their website.

October 5th is THE weekend for premiere queer art. In addition to the festival above, Patrick’s Cabaret has Controlled Burn: queer performance for a world on fire October 5th-7th . Controlled Burn is three solid nights of unbelievable queer performances, and is probably the event I’m most excited about this October. Check out the ticket website for full line-up and to nab your tickets today.

Daddy: a QUEER variety show is back on October 12th at The Icehouse, this time featuring Marcel Michelle Mobama, Nick Jordan, 4th Curtis, and Addison Sharpe. This event sells out fast, so grab your tickets here.

Drag Queen Margo Caprice is back in the Twin Cities after her many adventures in L.A. And sometimes New York. She’ll be doing a two night set of her new show CHER and CHER Alike at the Bryant Lake Bowl on October 13th and 14th. All proceeds benefit the Aliveness Project and Gadfly Theatre Productions. More information on the Facebook event.

Friday, October 13th also brings us Nadi X’s Seven Deadly Sins starring some of the best names in burlesque and drag all performing around the title theme. This event will be at Townhouse Bar. More information here.

Patrick’s Cabaret is also bringing us another Raw Material this October. This one features Gabriel Mata, Ellen Hinchcliffe, and Lucas Scheelk. Event is on October 26th and will be at Pinwheel Arts in Seward. More information via Facebook.

Recurring Events
Huge Theater has an open Queer Improv Jam for queer improv artists to come and laugh and play together on the first Sunday of the month at 5:00 P.M. No need to register, just come to 3037 Lyndale Ave S. to jam with great professional and amateur improv-ers. No cover.

You definitely don’t want to miss OutSpoken, a queer open mic hosted by Paul Canada on the second Wednesday of every month. This great event is now hosted at Lush! More information here.

Every Thursday night Can Can Wonderland puts together a variety show like none other. Six to eight acts share Can Can’s stage. Local LGBTQ+ talent and those known to the community for legitimate allyship often feature. The event is free, 21+, and starts at 9:00 P.M.

The second Thursday of the night is a special time in comedy here in the Twin Cities. Pssy Ctrl is an all female & queer comedy event happening at the Comedy Corner Underground. It’s hosted by Rana May and Shelley Paul and is just $7 unless you’re a student—then it’s free. No reservations, just show up!

Telling Queer History is a story-telling and community building event that happens on the second Sunday of every month and changes locations. Check out their Facebook page for more information and to keep up with their rotating spaces.

Another amazing storytelling event is curated and hosted by the one and only Andrea Jenkins and John Medeiros. It’s called Queer Voices: A Reading Series and takes place monthly with amazing features each month. Intermedia Arts’ website has more.

Lush’s entire nightlife entertainment line-up is incredible. Must sees include:

  • Black Hearts Burlesque every Friday night at 10:00 P.M. featuring Black Hearts Founder Elektra Cute.
  • #DragRevolution every Saturday at 10:00 P.M. hosted by Twin Cities legend Victoria DeVille.
  • Deviance: A Transmasculine Cabaret featuring music, drag, boylesque and more every fourth Saturday at 7:00 P.M.
  • Local lesbian comedy darling Sarah McPeck’s variety show The Big Fat Comedy Hour on the second Sunday of the month at 7:00 P.M.
  • Drag Brunch every Sunday at 11:30 featuring an all-star line-up and always with a theme that guarantees the most fun for your money.

For tickets to events at Lush head over to their website. They’ve got an event space that seats plenty, but it does sell out regularly so grab your tickets in advance.

The Gay ’90s has a rough reputation in the LGBTQ+ community, but they’ve spent the past year or two cleaning up their act and bringing in some great new acts. Fan favorites include:

  • Sweetpea and Mistress Mara hosting Kinky Friday on the first Friday of every month. This 18+ event is part performance, part kinky party, and all around great time.
  • GLAM! Boylesque shows up intermittently at the Ladies of La Femme Lounge. The next one is June 9th. Don’t miss out!
  • Speaking of Ladies of La Femme—there are nightly drag shows at this huge lounge for plenty of you and yours to show up and see some great drag. Many of the queens have been there for years, and those legends alone are worth seeing. The new talent that gets brought in is also absolutely wonderful.

One of the first LGBTQ+ bars I came to regularly when I first came to Minneapolis was The Townhouse in St. Paul. While the entertainment line-ups are obviously completely different now than the were almost a decade ago, they’re still diverse, entertaining, and full of solid artists. Best shows include (but are not limited too):

  • Pumps and Pearls Drag Revue at 9:30 P.M. Every Wednesday night.
  • Dragged Out, a cast of Drag Kings with special guests that fills up the main room on the third Friday of every month.
  • A great trial run for aspiring burlesque performers and other awesome performances happens the second Friday of every month at 10:30 P.M. And the Nudie Nubie’s Show hosted by Red Bone and Foxy Tann.

Please note: we’d love to include YOU and YOUR work at The Column’s Arts Calendar. Please submit events to snow.cassandra@gmail.com. As a fun bonus, if your event is super innovative or exciting, we’re likely to reach out for a deeper feature or review.

Around the Region: Iowa sued over anti-trans discrimination in Medicaid


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.”

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.

4th Annual Trans* Equity Summit kicks off Thursday


The 4th Annual Minneapolis Trans* Equity Summit kicks off this Thursday, Sept. 28, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The summit is hosted by the City of Minneapolis in conjunction with the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board.

Doors open at 9am and this year’s event will include a focus on health and history.

Monica Roberts, founding editor of TransGriot, a website focusing on elevating the voices of transgender women of color, will keynote the summit at 9am. Results from the U.S. Transgender Survey will also be presented during the morning session.

Breakout sessions throughout the day will focus on “meeting healthcare needs, being an ally, healthcare laws, public policy and more” according to the Minneapolis Parks website.

The event is free and open to the public.

Over the last four years, the City of Minneapolis has moved to make transgender equity a permanent part of the city’s work. In April, the city council voted to make the Transgender Equity Council an official and permanent part of the city’s work.

Controlled Burn: Queer Performance for a World on Fire starts burning on October 5th

Image from last year’s Controlled Burn by Ari Newman

A three night festival of queer artists centered on anger, sadness, and imperfection already sounds like exactly what I want to see as the world around me continues it’s quick pace towards sure destruction. What Patrick’s Cabaret has created with Controlled Burn: queer performance for a world on fire is truly innovative beyond that. Performances range from music to movement to performance art to new and thrilling pieces from mediums we haven’t even put words to yet. Controlled Burn is a place for queer artists to be as furious or experimental as they want to be, and the community created as the smoke dies down is like none other.

Patrick’s Cabaret Artistic Director Scott Artley saw a need for this kind of space, and decided to use his role at Patrick’s to fill it.

“In the queer art that I was seeing produced around town, so much of it was about queer people being campy, exuberantly happy, colorful in a cotton candy kind of way,” says Artley. “That’s wonderful. That’s powerful, but I also wanted to cultivate a space for us to be rageful, and messy, and moody.”

Controlled Burn premiered late last year, and Artley curated along with Rosa Garcia and Nicole M. Smith. The three created a true wildfire that last year’s attendees still talk about. We really don’t have an outlet for what we’re feeling right now when we look at the world around us. Everyone I talk to senses a burning deep in their gut trying to escape or maybe tell them something, and with no other way to explain it, most of us turn to art. Until Controlled Burn: queer performance for a world on fire, that art often had nowhere to go.

“The name invokes the imagery of a prairie fire, this wonderfully wicked force of natural violence that is also an essential part of the cycle of rebirth,” Artley explains. “In the first year, the Curators and I started putting together this event as the clouds started gathering around the 2016 presidential election, and when we finally staged the event in December 2016 we all felt the need was perhaps not any more greater than before, but definitely more pointed. We needed an event that would generate some real heat.”

The long-term plan for the Curation team of Controlled Burn is for one person to step down a year, making way for a new or emerging Curator to join the team and bring a fresh perspective. This year Artley is moving away from curating at Patrick’s entirely. Dua Saleh, a multidisciplinary performance artist who has won a VERVE grant, been featured at Button Poetry, and even heard on The Current, has joined this year’s Curation team. The knockout trio of Garcia, Smith, and Saleh has chosen eighteen breathtaking acts, including poet Kyra Crawford Calvert, emerging actor Khadija Siddiqui, and dancer Reneé Copeland. Six acts will perform each night, with each show being comprised of selections from all three curators. This adds to the frenetic feel of the night and allows audiences to experience a variety of performance and curation styles no matter when they come.

Image from last year’s Controlled Burn by Ari Newman

Among those featured at Controlled Burn is rising music star Joey Schad. Says Schad of the event and his act, “In this political climate, the queer/minority struggle has intensified. The roadblocks we face multiply every day and it becomes more and more dangerous to be us. In our activism and our art, its more important than ever to stay focused on protecting and advocating for our own. In nasty, convoluted times like this we can play an important role in our communities by amplifying our voices and solidifying our presence in the creative world. Controlled Burn is a chance for us to do so together, driven by the fire in ourselves that gives us the strength to eliminate the obstacles that try to defeat us.”

In spite of the very high stakes being played out throughout Controlled Burn though, Schad’s act won’t be all doom and gloom. “I reject the notion of us minorities being solely defined by our struggles. When media isn’t erasing us they predominantly parade to the world how we get screwed over, suffer and die. Controlled Burn is us taking the stage and show the world that we exist for more than just to suffer.”

Controlled Burn happens the same weekend as Patrick’s Cabaret’s Ignite! program. Ignite! Is a storytelling summit for queer youth happening on Saturday, October 7th. Ignite! Is led by Nicole M. Smith from this team of Curators as well as Kat Purcell who led Lightning Rod. After the workshop on Saturday afternoon, Ignite! Attendees are invited to Controlled Burn for free.

Since rebranding as a queer-led performance art company, and since Artley’s decision to step away from curating cabarets himself, Patrick’s Cabaret has taken what was already good about the organization (like the opportunities for emerging artists and unique perspectives for audiences) and really elevated what cabaret is and can be. Their recent event Taboo Tongues, curated by Eric Tu, featured some of the most raw and real poetry and performance I have ever seen—and I’m a regular in their (and many other) audiences.

From Controlled Burn‘s press release, “Named for the practice of intentionally setting fire to a prairie to promote new growth, Controlled Burn is a cabaret mini-festival featuring ‘queer performance for a world on fire.’ An intersectional space for queer performers, especially artists of color and with disabilities.”

Last year’s event granted the catharsis our community needed to make room to prep for all of the fights that 2017 would end up holding. I can’t wait to see what this year’s Controlled Burn burns away and newly inspires for all of us.

Controlled Burn: queer performance for a world on fire runs October 5th-7th at Intermedia arts. Tickets are $10 a night either online or through an artist with tickets in advance or $12-15 at the door. However, if you don’t want to miss a single moment of this radical mini-festival, there’s a three night pass for just $20 online. You can grab those tickets and see the full line-up for Controlled Burn here.