LGBTQ Day on the Hill
On Wednesday, February 27, LGBTQ Iowans and allies gathered at the Capitol to raise their voices for our community at LGBTQ Day on the Hill. We started the day with a “talk to your legislator” training, then marched to the Capitol to rally in the rotunda. Speakers like Rep. Liz Bennett (Iowa’s first out LGBTQ woman in the state legislature), Hiawatha City Council Aime Wichtendahl (Iowa’s first transgender elected official), Rep. Ras Smith, Sam Brinton (native Iowan and The Trevor Project head of advocacy and government affairs), and more shared their stories with a crowd of LGBTQ Iowans, allies, lobbyists, and elected officials. Attendees then broke into small groups to speak to their legislators about banning conversion therapy for minors, adding transgender protections to our state’s hate crimes law, and more issues important to them. Dozens of legislators met with LGBTQ Iowans in their district and heard from them firsthand.
At its core, LGBTQ Day on the Hill humanizes the LGBTQ community. Legislators must see that LGBTQ people are not a political weapon, but individual people who face consequences in their everyday lives because of policy decisions legislators make. This happens when legislators meet their LGBTQ constituents and have real, honest, and sincere conversations with them about their lives.
Participating in events like LGBTQ Day on the Hill and talking face-to-face with elected officials is one of the bravest and most important things an LGBTQ person can do. Sen. Zach Wahls spoke to attendees in the morning and acknowledged this fact: “It requires a certain level of vulnerability. Those of you who are willing to come here and put yourself in front of legislators, I tip my hat to you.”
Iowa’s legislative session isn’t over yet. I encourage you to reach out to your legislators and introduce yourself. Their contact information is available on the Iowa Legislature’s website. If you’re nervous or unsure, know you can reach out to One Iowa Action for support.
I also encourage you to go to oneiowaaction.org to sign up for action alerts and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay in the know about legislative issues that impact LGBTQ Iowans. You’ll also receive strategic opportunities to contact your legislators about specific pieces of legislation.
Together, we can make a positive difference for LGBTQ Iowans.
An Op-Ed from One Iowa Action