Around the Region: Pride gets underway in Wisconsin, Iowa


Pridefest in Des Moines occurred last week, the Iowa State Daily reports:

The East Village was filled with pride and positivity this weekend as people flocked to the capitol to celebrate pride, love and acceptance.
The Capital City Pridefest 2017 took place in Des Moines from June 9-11 and was filled with live music, dancing, drag shows and a parade. Pridefest, often called “Pride,” is an annual event put on by Capital City Pride, an LGBT group based out of Des Moines.

The Des Moines Register reports that local LGBTQ leaders are looking at how to add marginalized voices to Pridefest:

At a rally at Des Moines’ PrideFest on Sunday, local leaders and activists celebrated Iowa’s LGBTQ community, but they said they must continue to fight for equality.
“Things have become a lot tougher” since President Donald Trump was elected, said Sophia Stone, president of Transformations Iowa, a local support group for transgender people.
“The movement was set up to really address and focus in on those who are most marginalized in our community,” Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel, executive director of One Iowa, an LGBTQ rights advocacy group, said after a rally that followed the Capital City Pride parade in Des Moines’ East Village.
Hoffman-Zinnel listed racism, sexism, ableism, xenophobia and transphobia as issues that continue to affect society. Stone specifically noted trans women of color as one facet of the LGBTQ community that may face a higher risk of harassment or violence.
“It’s more important than ever that we come together and work with each other,” Stone said.

Madison held its pride event last weekend, the Capital Times reports:

Tarik Akbik met Jerald Wright while working at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The two would talk about dogs, drink sangria and go to clubs, Akbik said. A year ago, on June 12, Akbik heard about the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub and found himself constantly refreshing web pages to see if anyone he knew was killed.
He found Wright’s name.
“What’s terrible about tragedies like this is there’s 48 other people with a bunch of friends who are never going to have those moments with their friends again,” he said.
Akbik spoke in front of a crowd on the Wisconsin Capitol steps on Sunday afternoon as Madison’s LGBT+ community congregated for the “Equality March for Unity and Pride.” One purpose of the event was to remember the Pulse victims, and the other to call the community to action to prevent future tragedies. Speakers said that the transgender community is a population particularly in danger of victimization.
“For the LGBT community, the ‘T’ often gets left behind,” said U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, an openly gay Democrat from Madison.

The small northern Wisconsin town of Arbor Vitae held its first ever pride event last weekend, WXPR reports:

The first Northwoods LGBT Pride event is being held Saturday(6/10) in Arbor Vitae.
The secretary of the Rainbow Hodags, Don Schindhelm says the first Gay Pride rally was held 47 years ago in New York City. Schindhelm says since that time, the term “gay” has been replaced by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender sexual orientation.
Schindhelm says they’re holding a picnic event Saturday…
“….in Arbor Vitae we have a community Pride event, the Northwoods Pride picnic. It’s being held Saturday, June 10 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Arbor Vitae Fireman’s Park at 10672 Big Arbor Vitae Drive next to the firehouse there. The public is invited. It will involve some speakers, some music…”

Winnipeg’s LGBTQ community installed a rainbow crosswalk last week, the CBC reports:

A bright, colourful new crosswalk had been painted at The Forks to celebrate Pride Winnipeg and the city’s diverse community.
Spanning Israel Asper Way near the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the crosswalk was painted by members of the Winnipeg Frontrunners, an LGBT running group, for the Pride Run that takes place on Saturday.
It’s the first time a rainbow crosswalk has been painted in Winnipeg, following the lead of several other Canadian cities, said Andrew McLaren, organizer of the Winnipeg Frontrunners Pride Run.

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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, 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.