Sharing My Story
As we begin a new year and new political era both nationally and in our state, I am taking the reins as the new executive director of One Iowa. This is quite the time to take on this role, but I am excited, honored, and committed to preserving and advancing equality in Iowa. In my first blog as executive director, I am sharing my story and will continue to do so as the leader of One Iowa.
I won’t be able to do this alone. We will need people to share their stories and put a face and voice to the LGBTQ community. One way to do this is by attending our LGBTQ Day on the Hill this Thursday, January 12th. Click here to see a full schedule and register.
Since One Iowa has had a rich history of great leaders and success, my intentions are not to come in and make significant changes immediately. I am currently putting together the final details for my 100 day plan. I will be meeting with as many people as I can to listen and learn from you regarding the needs of LGBTQ Iowans. I will share more details on this 100 day plan later this month.
I am forever indebted to the shoulders we stand on that allow me to marry the person I love (my husband Charles), live my life as an openly gay man in my community, and have the privilege of serving as executive director of One Iowa. I thank the trailblazers in the LGBTQ community before me who risked and lost their lives for our rights.
I especially thank the Iowan trailblazers in our community. In my doctoral work and dissertation, I was fortunate to learn about some of the historical firsts in Iowa and across the country. I plan on building a platform for Iowans to learn more about our LGBTQ history and hear about those who were willing to share their face and voice for this community even during dangerous times.
As a lifelong Iowan, I understand what it means to be LGBTQ in our state. I grew up on a farm in a rural, Christian, and white community where sexual orientation and gender identity outside the societal norm was not often discussed, except in a negative light. Coming out over ten years ago was tough for me, as I know it was for so many others. Fortunately my family has been nothing but supportive. Even at Charles’ and my wedding almost seven years ago, all of our living grandparents attended. My parents walked me down the aisle, and Charles’ father and grandmother walked him down the aisle.
You can read more about my background in this article about how I found my voice when I was a Des Moines Business Record’s Forty Under 40 honoree.
Through my lived experiences as a gay man, I have been able to better understand the historical marginalization the community has faced and what must be done to continue improving equality for LGBTQ Iowans. I also recognize the privilege I have and understand that intersectionality must be a part of the conversation when discussing LGBTQ equality, one that I am committed to raising as someone in a position of power with privilege in some aspects of my life.
If only we had a crystal ball to predict the future. Without knowing exactly what will happen, we must prepare ourselves to preserve equality in Iowa. It is my hope that we can continue the progress that has been made. There is no going back into the closet. We must continue putting a face and voice to our community.
Now is the time to commit to the Iowa LGBTQ community. You can do this by financially supporting the important work we do at One Iowa by making a one-time donation or setting up recurring donations. You can also show your support at events like LGBTQ Day on the Hill. I am looking forward to working with you.
Thank you for sharing your face and voice.