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IA Group: Planned Riot Will Not Intimidate LGBTQ Community

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Tuesday, June 14, 2022   

A leading LGBTQ organization in Iowa said community members won't back down after authorities in Idaho blocked a planned riot at a Pride event there. Thirty-one members of a white nationalist group were arrested Saturday after law-enforcement officials got word of the plans.

Keenan Crow, director of policy and advocacy for One Iowa Action, said it follows more heated rhetoric in the past year amid a push by some conservatives to adopt policies deemed hostile toward those who identify as LGBTQ. They feel politicians on the right are fostering a more toxic environment.

"Painting the LGBTQ community with this kind of defamatory brush, it's not a surprise they would then gear up and try to disrupt an event in this way," Crow asserted.

But Crow noted LGBTQ people are used to hostilities and won't be intimidated from celebrating their sexual identity during Pride festivals in Iowa and elsewhere. In a number of cases, elected officials behind policies in question will cite reasons such as religious beliefs, and Iowa recently joined the group of states to approve a so-called "transgender sports" law.

Among Iowa leaders, the group pointed out recent comments by Gov. Kim Reynolds do not help the situation. At the GOP State Convention, Reynolds suggested "elementary school lessons on pronouns" are hurting public education. But Crow countered it is a great place to start in teaching people how to treat LGBTQ people as equals.

"One of those basic elements of respect is getting somebody's name right, their pronouns right," Crow explained. "But if they're being demonized by the top government official in the state as somehow harmful, yeah, that's going to put a damper on our ability to make sure that people are treated with basic decency and respect."

And while Reynolds' comments might not be as extreme as other conservative politicians, Crow added it appears she is trying to ramp up the rhetoric in the current environment. This spring, a Des Moines-area school district issued a diversity audit, which found racial and anti-LGBTQ slurs were a "pressing concern."


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