One Iowa to host Midwest LGBTQ Older Adults Conference

DES MOINES — One Iowa, a statewide LGBTQ organization, will host the Midwest LGBTQ Older Adults Conference on Wednesday, August 7 from 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Goodwill of Central Iowa Headquarters in Johnston. Formerly known as the LGBTQ Senior Summit, this annual event provides workshops and networking opportunities to address the needs of older LGBTQ people in Iowa. This year’s theme is “Legacy and Empowerment”, and older LGBTQ individuals and service providers who work with them are encouraged to attend and connect with one another. “76 percent of LGBTQ adults are anxious about having ‘adequate family and/or social supports to rely on as they age’ according to 2018 AARP data,” One Iowa Interim Executive Director Courtney Reyes said. “That number is far too high, and that’s why we’ve worked with our LGBTQ Older Adult Advisory Council to develop a conference specifically targeting areas of highest concern for this community.


Lawsuit against Iowa’s ban on Medicaid transgender healthcare tossed

DES MOINES — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging a law that exempts gender-confirmation surgeries from being covered by Iowa’s Medicaid program. Courthouse News reported that Polk County District Judge David Porter dismissed the suit on Thursday, saying the issues were not ready for judicial review. The new website reported that Mika Covington,  Aiden Vasquez and One Iowa argued in their May 31 complaint that the state’s ban on Medicaid coverage of sex-reassignment surgery violates their equal protection rights under the Iowa Constitution by “intentionally singling out transgender Iowans as a class for discrimination in public accommodations through the provision of publicly funded healthcare under the Iowa Civil Rights Act.”

From Courthouse News:
Covington and Vasquez had not yet sought or been denied Medicaid coverage, so they must first appeal the state’s Medicaid rules at the administrative level before challenging them in court, he wrote in a 13-page order. The complaint named as defendants Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Human Services, or DHS. A spokesman for the governor did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

Iowa jury rules against former governor in anti-LGBTQ discrimination suit

DES MOINES — An Iowa jury has award a former state official $1.5 million in damages after finding that former Gov. Terry Branstad had discriminated against him because of his orientation. The Des Moines Register reported Monday that the jury had decided that the state and Branstad has retaliated against former Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey. The jury said Branstad and the state had discriminated against Godfrey based on his sexual orientation

“It feels a little bit unreal. I’m just so happy that I and my family have finally had justice in this case,” Godfrey told the Register. From the Des Moines Register:

Godfrey, a Democrat, sued in 2012 alleging that Branstad, a Republican, pressured him to resign and cut his pay when Godfrey refused. 
“I have always treated everyone, gay or straight, with respect and dignity.

One Iowa Exec Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel stepping down

DES MOINES — One Iowa, the state’s LGBTQ rights organization, announced Tuesday that its executive director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel is resigning. One Iowa said in a Facebook post that Hoffman-Zinnel was leaving for a career opportunity. His last day will be August 7. “We are grateful for Daniel’s vision, creativity and leadership,” the organization said in the post. “We know he will continue to be a vocal advocate for and supporter of our work and we wish him the best in his new endeavor.”

One Iowa to serve as plaintiff in ACLU lawsuit against transgender Medicaid exception to Iowa Civil Rights Act

DES MOINES — On Friday, the ACLU of Iowa filed a lawsuit on behalf of One Iowa, Aiden Vasquez *, and Mika Covington to block the portion of a law (HF 766) allowing Medicaid to deny coverage for medically necessary gender affirming surgery by carving out an exception to the Iowa Civil Rights Act’s nondiscrimination protections for transgender people. Gov. Reynolds signed HF 766 into law earlier this month. One Iowa Executive Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel spoke at an ACLU of Iowa press conference at 1 p.m. A video of the press conference can be found on the ACLU of Iowa Facebook page. “A patient’s health should always come first,” Hoffman-Zinnel said. “Denying transgender people the medically necessary health care they need, as directed by their doctor, can contribute to depression, anxiety and increased risk of suicidal thoughts.”

“Through our work with transgender Iowans, we have seen firsthand how powerful, life-changing, and absolutely essential to treat gender dysphoria can be for transgender Iowans.

Iowa judge blocks law defunding Planned Parenthood sex ed

DES MOINES — An Iowa judge has temporarily blocked a law that defunds Planned Parenthood’s federal sexual education funding. The Des Moines Register reported Wednesday that Planned Parenthood of the Heartland sued the state after Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the law earlier this month. 

From the Des Moines Register:

In a ruling Wednesday, Polk County District Court Judge Joseph Seidlin granted Planned Parenthood’s request for a temporary injunction. The sections of the law blocking Planned Parenthood from accessing funding will now be temporarily blocked from taking effect until the lawsuit is resolved. The judge wrote that without the injunction, Planned Parenthood would likely be harmed by losing out on grant funding for the upcoming year, which is set to be awarded in the near future. The organization received about $268,000 from the two programs this year.

Speakers announced for Iowa trans healthcare rally

DES MOINES — One Iowa Action, a LGBTQ advocacy organization, has announced speakers for a June 2 rally for transgender people’s healthcare. Earlier this month, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed HF 766 (the Health and Human Services budget bill) into law, banning the state’s Medicaid from paying for transgender people’s transition-related healthcare. The rally, called Rally for Trans Health Justice, will be at the Iowa State Capitol. One Iowa Action is hosting the event along with the ACLU of Iowa, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, and Transgender Action Group of Iowa. The speakers will be:

Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel (he, him, his), One Iowa Action executive director
Aidan Zingler (they, them, theirs), Transgender Action Group of Iowa organizer
Connie Ryan (she, her, hers), Interfaith Alliance of Iowa executive director
Daniel Zeno (he, him, his), ACLU of Iowa policy director
Alexandra Gray (she, her, hers), local transgender activist
Caity Szalay (she, her, hers), licensed social worker and therapist specialized in working with LGBTQ individuals
Rev. Alejandro Alfaro-Santiz (he, him, his), Trinity Las Americas United Methodist Church lead pastor
Mika Covington (she, her, hers), transgender woman on Medicaid
Keenan Crow (they, them, theirs), One Iowa Action director of policy and advocacy

“At this rally, we will come together as a community at the beginning of Pride month to show our state lawmakers that Iowans support the transgender community,” Hoffman-Zinnel said.

Rally against Iowa’s anti-trans healthcare law on Sunday, June 2

DES MOINES — One Iowa Action, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization, has announced it will host a Rally for Trans Health Justice on Sunday, June 2 from 1-3 p.m. on the Iowa State Capitol grounds in Des Moines

Iowa Gov. Kim Reyonlds, a Republican, signed a bill that bans the state’s Medicaid from paying for transgender people’s transition-related healthcare on May 3. “At this rally, we will come together as a community at the beginning of Pride month to show our state lawmakers that Iowans support the transgender community,” One Iowa Action Executive Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel said in a press release. “All Iowans, including transgender Iowans, deserve access to the medical care their doctors prescribe.”

One Iowa Action will announce rally speakers soon. A link to a Facebook event for the rally can be found here. Individuals or organizations interested in hosting a solidarity rally in another location are encouraged to email

Bear Necessities coming up in Des Moines

DES MOINES — The Capital Bears of Des Moines are holding their annual Bear Necessities bear run on May 17. There is still time to register at the Capital Bears website. The schedule;
3:00 – 6:00PM – Welcome to Des Moines – Comfort Inn Host Hotel
​6:30 – 8:00PM – Salad Tossing Contest – AllSpice – Locust St – East Village – Free Event – Limited Tickets – See Event/Salad Tossing Contest
​8:00-10:00PM – BEARTENDERS Bear Social & bear Grill Out (suggested Donation) – The Blazing Saddle
​10:00PM – Saddle Gurls  Show – The Blazing Saddle
7:oo – 9:00AM – Tour the Famous Des Moines Farmers market 

8:00 – 10:00AM – Bear Coffee with Paul – Ritual Cafe
​9:00 – 10:00AM – Papa Gene’s Downtown Walking Tour
​10:30 – 12:30PM – LUNCH – On Your OWN or with Some Capital Bears showing you Around
^12:00PM – 6:00PM – The Bear Cave – PRivate Event Space 
– Beach Bear – Theme^ (This Night, Wear your best beach Gear. You can get down to your jocks or as comfortable as you feel)
​^5:00PM – Included Dinner from Smokey D’s Award Winning BBQ^
​7:00-10:00PM – Beach BEAR Happy Hour – The Garden NightClub  ​** No Cover b4 8pm for Bear Variety Show**
​8:30PM – Bear Variety Show – The Garden Night Club**
​Dance The Night Away atThe Garden Nightclub If you Like Or… ​^11:30 – 1:30AM – Bear Pool Party – Host Hotel -Comfort Inn Des MoinesDowntown POOL^