NATIONAL NEWS

LGBTQ pride group excluded from southwest Iowa town’s Labor Day parade

Sep 4, 2023, 12:54 PM

A local LGBTQ pride group was excluded from a southwest Iowa town’s Labor Day parade, apparently by the city’s mayor, who cited safety concerns.

Shenandoah Pride planned to have a small group walking with a banner and a drag performer riding in a convertible, with candy, popsicles and stickers to hand out in the parade in Essex, Iowa, said Jessa Bears, a founding member of the group. The parade is part of a four-day festival in Essex, which has about 720 residents.

Ryan Fuller, who planned to ride in the convertible as his drag identity Cherry Peaks, said he received an email Thursday from the parade’s organizer notifying him of the decision.

Fuller told The Associated Press Essex Mayor Calvin Kinney spearheaded the decision, with no motions or city council vote. Council Member Heather Thornton, who disagreed with the move, said “it was the mayor himself,” and added she was told he had the authority and didn’t need a council vote.

Kinney did not immediately respond to an email from the AP regarding the decision. The AP’s phone calls to City Attorney Mahlon Sorensen went unanswered.

Bears said the decision left her feeling “really shocked and angry, then just very sad and motivated to get the word out,” she told the AP. “This ban has done more for our visibility than the parade alone ever would have.”

Shenandoah Pride sought to be in the parade to “let people know there is a queer community in southwest Iowa that they can be a part of,” Bears said.

The groups that organized the festivities “fully supported their efforts and (are) just as upset as everyone else that they were excluded,” said Thornton, who is on the board of the club that had unanimously allowed the pride group to join the parade.

The ACLU of Iowa sent the city attorney a letter Saturday urging the city to let the group participate. The letter included a Thursday email from the mayor that cited safety of the public and parade participants in not allowing “parade participants geared toward the promotion of, or opposition to, the politically charged topic of gender and/or sexual identification/orientation.” Thornton said she knew of no threats.

Despite the parade decision, Shenandoah Pride does have a vendor booth at the festival.

Fuller said community members offered their yard as space for group members to watch the parade, and some people planned to wear pride shirts in the parade to show solidarity.

The group canceled its convertible for the parade, he said. “An apology would sure be nice,” Fuller added.

National News

Associated Press

Shooting kills 3 people including a young child in a car on an Alabama street

Three people including a young child were killed when their car was targeted with multiple gunshots outside a residence in Birmingham, Alabama, on Saturday evening. The Birmingham Police Department said in a social media post that a triple homicide investigation was underway in the 3400 Block of 27th Street North. The police said officers responded […]

21 minutes ago

Carlton Smith, left, and Justin Nimmo pose in from of the console of the Barton Opus 234 theater or...

Associated Press

Reviving Hollywood glamor of the silent movie era, experts piece together a century-old pipe organ

DETROIT (AP) — A massive pipe organ that underscored the drama and comedy of silent movies with live music in Detroit’s ornate Hollywood Theatre nearly a century ago was dismantled into thousands of pieces and stashed away. The Barton Opus, built in 1927, spent four decades stored in a garage, attic and basement in suburban […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, left, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator ...

Associated Press

Can a Medicaid plan that requires work succeed? First year of Georgia experiment is not promising

ATLANTA (AP) — By now, Georgia officials expected their new Medicaid plan, the only one in the nation with a work requirement, to provide health insurance to 25,000 low-income residents and possibly tens of thousands more. But a year since its launch, Pathways to Coverage has roughly 4,300 members, much lower than what state officials […]

3 hours ago

Catherine Ward, owner of One Acre Farms, a functioning educational farm to help special needs kids,...

Associated Press

After Beryl, Houston-area farmers pull together to face unique challenges

PORTER, Texas (AP) — Hurricanes cause trouble for everyone, but farmers have a whole other list of problems. Beryl has been no exception: Over the past week, the storm damaged crops, soaked rabbits and chickens, terrified goats, put horses at risk of developing colic and left cows without fences to keep them penned in. And […]

3 hours ago

Debris from the Titan submersible, recovered from the ocean floor near the wreck of the Titanic, is...

Associated Press

The first Titanic voyage in 14 years is happening in the wake of submersible tragedy. Hopes are high

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The company that owns the salvage rights to the Titanic is undertaking its first expedition to the ship’s wreckage in years, and those involved in the mission said they have both heavy hearts and lofty goals for a trip happening a year after a submersible disaster involving another firm killed five […]

3 hours ago

A person uses a cell phone on Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Los Angeles. The FBI Internet Crime Compl...

Associated Press

What’s worse than thieves hacking into your bank account? When they steal your phone number, too

WASHINGTON (AP) — One Monday morning in May, I woke up and grabbed my cell phone to read the news and scroll through memes. But it was out of cell service. I couldn’t make calls or texts. That, though, turned out to be the least of my problems. Using my home Wi-Fi connection, I checked […]

3 hours ago

LGBTQ pride group excluded from southwest Iowa town’s Labor Day parade