The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa City activists, residents rally for Transgender Day of Visibility

A week of events hosted by activists raised nearly $2,000 for Iowa Trans Mutual Aid Fund, an organization that helps with access to gender-affirming care.
An+organizer+speaks+during+South+East+Iowa%E2%80%99s+Transgender+Day+of+Visibility+at+College+Green+Park+in+Iowa+City+on+Sunday%2C+March+31%2C+2024.+An+event+at+the+James+Theatre+raised+around+2%2C000+dollars+for+the+Iowa+Trans+Mutual+Aid+Fund%2C+which+goes+toward+gender-affirming+care+for+Iowans+on+Friday+night.
Jordan Barry
An organizer speaks during South East Iowa’s Transgender Day of Visibility at College Green Park in Iowa City on Sunday, March 31, 2024. An event at the James Theatre raised around 2,000 dollars for the Iowa Trans Mutual Aid Fund, which goes toward gender-affirming care for Iowans on Friday night.

Nearly 100 Johnson County activists and residents celebrated Transgender Day of Visibility at College Green Park on Sunday. The activists also called on state lawmakers who proposed legislation that would affect LGBTQ+ Iowans and encouraged residents to participate in local and state politics during the hour-long rally.

A week of events was organized by Mandi Remington, founder and director of Corridor Community Action Network, in collaboration with United Action for Youth, Public Space One, and transgender residents.

At Sunday’s rally, Remington and several other organizers, including some of the “JoCo7” — the seven individuals arrested and charged a month after a protest in October — spoke to the crowd about transgender rights.

Remington said the rally was a “celebration” of the 39 bills that did not pass through the legislature that would have directly affected LGBTQ+ individuals. Only one bill remains unscathed: Senate File 2095.

Iowa Rep. Elinor Levin, D-Iowa City, sang with The Quire of Eastern Iowa before the event, and said in an interview with The Daily Iowan, that the bills are “sitting on the shoulders of every member of our queer community.”

“Defeating a bill is great, not having it passed is great,” Levin said. “It’d be even better if they didn’t come up in the first place.”

Levin attended several of the week’s events to better understand the ideas, concerns, and conversations of Iowans and bring those ideas to the Capitol.

“We come a little bit closer to maybe actually making laws, making decisions, having conversations that represent what Iowans are saying back home, and until we have an actual trans representative in the House of Representatives, this is the best I can do to bring those things,” Levin said.

Not including the events Sunday afternoon, the events hosted throughout the week raised nearly $2,000 which will be donated to Iowa Trans Mutual Aid Fund, which helps transgender individuals access gender-affirming care.

Storm O’Brink, Iowa Trans Mutual Aid Fund board member, said the Iowa City area community has a strong, supportive transgender community.

RELATED: JoCo Board of Supervisors proposes action to support transgender residents

“I think it’s important for trans people to be able to exist with each other and have joy together, especially in this time in which the state is enacting numerous pieces of legislation that are blatantly anti-trans,” O’Brink said. “Being able to have these moments to connect and build community with each other helps us move through the trauma more effectively because community building helps you build trauma resilience.”

Tara McGovern, an Iowa City resident, activist, and one of seven transgender and nonbinary people arrested — known as the JoCo7 — after a protest in October 2023 against conservative speaker Chloe Cole. McGovern spoke about the recent formation of a Johnson County task force focused on preventing the enforcement of current or future trans legislation in the county.

The task force is led by Supervisor V Fixmer-Oraiz, who is transgender, and Chair Rod Sullivan and includes representatives from Johnson County’s transgender community.

“We will not accept tokenized efforts to placate us,” McGovern said in a speech to the crowd. “We will only accept real change.”

Emma Denney, who is also in the JoCo7, spoke about the dangers of visibility but the importance of advocating and attending meetings at the local and state levels.

“Visibility without protection is pointless, pathetic, and reinforces the violence that we as a community suffer and we don’t have to stand for that,” Denney said.

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About the Contributor
Roxy Ekberg, Politics Reporter
she/her/hers
Roxy Ekberg is a first year at the University of Iowa. In the Honors Program, she is double majoring in journalism and political science with a minor in Spanish. Prior to her role as a politics reporter, she worked news reporter at the Daily Iowan and worked at her local newspaper The Wakefield Republican.