Home News Around the Region: Communities rally for trans equity in Iowa, Wisconsin

Around the Region: Communities rally for trans equity in Iowa, Wisconsin

Around the Region: Communities rally for trans equity in Iowa, Wisconsin

A rally for transgender rights was held in Appleton last week, the Post Crescent reports:

Nearly 300 people gathered in Houdini Plaza to advocate for transgender rights on Saturday afternoon with a simple message: Accept transgender people for who they are.
“I’m just your average high school guy,” Connor Tenor, a 16-year-old organizer of the rally from Kimberly, told the crowd. Tenor started the event after President Donald Trump’s revocation of a Department of Education guideline created under the Obama Administration to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice.
Saturday’s rally was the fourth event in the Fox Cities advocating for progressive policy since the election of Trump. One was held in favor of the Affordable Care Act, another was to show support for immigrants and refugees, and the third marched for women’s rights on International Women’s Day.

Inside Higher Ed digs deeper into the revocation of transgender health care from state employees by the Walker administration:

The State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance is no longer covering procedures, services or supplies related to gender reassignment as part of its uniform benefits. The University of Wisconsin System shared news of the change, which was effective last month, with employees this week via email. Steph Tai, a professor of law at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, said the Committee for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer People in the University is planning a formal response to the change. A university system spokesperson referred requests for comment to state officials.
Wisconsin halted gender reassignment coverage for transgender state workers after a brief period of availability in January. The Group Insurance Board, which oversees benefits, decided in July to add coverage for transgender services this calendar year, according to guidance that the Affordable Care Act required such coverage, the Wisconsin State-Journal reported. But Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a Republican, asked the board to reconsider, via the state Department of Justice. It said that providing transgender services was based on “unlawful” rules that “improperly interpret” Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibit gender discrimination in education. A state consultant reportedly estimated that two to five people would have used the transgender services per year, at a cost of up to $250,000 annually in a $1.5 billion program that covers 250,000 employees and dependents.

Gender Revolution will be screend in Oskaloosa this week, Oskaloosa.com reports:

OSKALOOSA — A local chapter of a national LGBTQ support organization will be hosting a screening of the National Geographic documentary “Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric” at 6 p.m., Tuesday, March 21, in an effort to help educate the local community about issues related to gender identity and the LGBTQ community.
The documentary, which was made in conjunction with an entire issue of National Geographic magazine dedicated to LGBTQ and gender issues, examines the “rapidly evolving complexities of gender identity,” said Chad Farner, an Oskaloosa Middle School teacher and a president and co-founder of the PFLAG Oskaloosa chapter.
The film will be shown in the Fellowship Hall of the St. Paul Congregational United Church of Christ, 501 High Ave. E., Oskaloosa, and will be followed by a discussion on the issue of gender identity and LGBTQ issues with a local transgender woman, Robin White, present to interact with attendees.

The saga surrounding the aleged forced resignation of a Drake University coach because she is gay continued last week, the Des Moines Register reports:

Drake University and women’s head basketball coach Jennie Baranczyk are calling to dismiss a lawsuit by a former assistant coach that claims she was forced to resign from her job because of her sexual orientation, according to court documents.
In December, a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of former assistant coach Courtney Graham, claims she was pressured by Baranczyk to quit about six months after the head coach learned she was gay, violating Iowa’s anti-discrimination law.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Des Moines claims Baranczyk sent Graham home multiple times without explanation, excluded her from team meetings and scouting trips, and stripped her of job duties until the only remaining tasks she had were similar to those of an intern.

A rally at the Iowa Capitol in support of transgender equity drew over 200 people despite frigid temperatures, the Des Moines Register reports:

Dressed like an alien, Ria Keinert traveled from Ames to attend the Rally to Save Transgender Lives.
Her message was simple and fit nicely on a small cardboard sign: “The universe welcomes us all.”
“I have two friends who are no longer living as their originally assigned genders who are scared to death,” Keinert said. “I’m dressed like an alien, partly because it’s so cold, but the idea is to be welcoming. This universe welcomes us all.”

The rally on the west side of the Iowa Capitol on Sunday attracted over 200 people despite the cold weather and snowy forecast.
Alex Anderson was one of the organizers and the first speaker who called attention to President Donald Trump’s executive order that removed protection of transgender students from Title IX based on their gender identity. Then he turned his attention locally to House File 516 and the voter ID bill.
“This disproportionately impacts transgender people,” Anderson said. “If someone were to go vote and we did not match the ID we were given, or the person working the polling station thinks we don’t match the ID, we are not allowed to vote. This cannot happen.”

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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.