Local and national organizations released the Iowa LGBTQ Media Guide today, to provide accurate information and encourage appropriate representation of the LGBTQ community in the media. One Iowa, Progress Iowa, and Interfaith Alliance of Iowa jointly released the guide, which can be viewed by clicking here.
The following leaders issued statements to be included in the Iowa LGBTQ Media Guide:
“LGBTQ Iowans have much to celebrate this Pride Month. Over the past 8 years, we’ve seen society move in a more inclusive direction that many of us could not have dared to hope for when we were growing up. Because of the United States Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage Equality, LGBTQ Iowans (whose marriages have been recognized in Iowa since 2009) are protected in all 50 states of the Union. LGBTQ people who wish to serve in the armed forces, moved by patriotism and knowing that they may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice, now serve openly in the armed forces. Many Iowa Schools host gay-straight alliance groups to support LGBTQ students, and most major employers do, too. Not only that, but Iowa law has protected citizens from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity for 10 years. Still, many challenges remain. Many states allow employment and housing discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and Congress has failed to pass the Federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Abusive, anti-gay “conversion therapy” which has been denounced by the American Medical Association, is legal in Iowa. Transgender Americans are murdered at an alarming rate: The Advocate counts 12 transgender women (that we know of) who have been murdered in 2017. All of them are women of color. Here in Iowa, Burlington gender-fluid/transgender teen, Kedarie/Kandicee Johnson (the teen used two names) was shot and left in an alley. As we celebrate Pride, we should revel in the progress of the past 8 years, with the full realization that organized, powerful forces seek to turn back the clock. These forces are evident in President Trump’s refusal to recognize Pride Month, a conspicuous departure from the policy of the past 8 years. In another move towards erasing LGBTQ Americans, the U.S. Census Bureau will not collect information about sexual orientation or gender identity on the 2020 census. Now, more than ever, we must be steadfast and defiant in visibly celebrating our lives and claiming our rights as citizens.” -Rep. Liz Bennett, State Representative, Assistant Democratic Leader, First Openly-LGBTQ Woman to Serve in the Iowa Legislature
“Iowa and the United States have made significant advances toward equality over the past decade, which is a reason to celebrate and appreciate all the sacrifices and progress made! However, make no mistake, all of our freedom and liberty is on the chopping block daily. We have to recognize these are still challenging times. We must recognize the battle is far from over and we must remain vigilant. Our progress should not be taken for granted.” -Sen. Matt McCoy, Des Moines
“As we celebrate our great and diverse community and honor our many accomplishments we must keep pushing forward to ensure full equality for all and make a commitment to stay vigilant so that rights now gained are not lost tomorrow. The truth is our transgender brothers and sisters face violence and widespread discrimination, LGBTQ people lack equal protection under the law in many states, our children are bullied, our desperate take their own lives, and I am one of just a very small handful of LGBTQ citizens to hold elected office in Iowa. There are vicious forces at work everyday that would like to take away our right to marry, to adopt, and to live freely, some would even take our lives. We must never become complacent or too comfortable, rights won over the course of decades by the blood sweat and tears of our many martyrs can be taken away in the blink of an eye. We must forever stand in solidarity with all members of our community and band together so that we can fully realize the promise of our movement.” -Chris Schwartz, Openly Gay Black Hawk County Supervisor
“The LGBTQ community has been an important part of both US and Iowa History. Through decades of hard work, LGBTQ individuals have begun securing equal civil protections throughout the country. In Iowa this includes marriage equality, anti-discrimination laws, hate crimes protections, and many others. These efforts continue as One Iowa works to preserve and advance equality for LGBTQ Iowans. It is imperative that LGBTQ individuals are accurately represented throughout our community. LGBTQ individuals continue to be stigmatized and stereotyped, practices that contribute to creating environments that are unsafe or openly hostile. Terminology, pronouns, names, and so much more are critical to portraying LGBTQ individuals in the news. News outlets must strive to build and maintain trust within the LGBTQ community through a commitment to following best practices that address these issues. As the leading LGBTQ advocacy organization, One Iowa is committed to providing this assistance. We believe this resource will help organizations begin to improve their understanding of the LGBTQ community. If outlets have any questions or concerns, they should feel free to reach out to us for additional guidance.” -Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel, Executive Director, One Iowa
“Iowans, including people of faith and no faith across our state, are honored to stand with family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers in the LGBTQ community. Iowa has a strong, progressive history of being on the right side of history regarding equal rights and protections. There is little doubt that Iowa will continue on that path to ensure all Iowans are treated with dignity, respect and equality under the law. Under no circumstances should anyone be discriminated against or face violence simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Education is key in this journey toward equality. It is our hope that this guide will move our state further down the path to understanding and accuracy.” – Connie Ryan, Executive Director, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa
Included in the guide, which can be viewed by clicking here, are an overview of the LGBTQ community in Iowa, including demographics, a background on Iowa laws, and best practices for LGBTQ coverage, including a glossary of common terms.