LGBTQ+ Club, DMACC Democrats host panel discussion

The LGBTQ+ and DMACC Democrats Club panel : Back: Reyma McCoy McDeid, Austin Frerick, Rep. Liz Bennett, Jerson Valenzuela, Bailey Perkins.
Front: Arissa Jensen

On February 14, the LGBTQ+ Club partnered with the DMACC Democrats, a new club on campus, to host a panel on activism and representation of the community in politics.

Students, professors, civilians, and politicians alike, gathered in the Building 6 auditorium for the panel.

The panel was moderated by Bailey Perkins,the author of this article and president of the LGBTQ+ club. Sitting on the panel was Reyma McCoy McDeid, running for Iowa House District 38, Austin Frerick, running for U.S. Congress in Iowa’s 3rd district, Liz Bennett, Iowa House Representative from Iowa’s 65th district, Jerson Valenzuela, DMACC student studying Graphic Design, and Arissa Jensen, studying information services at DMACC.

DMACC student Valenzuela spoke specifically about race and intersectionality within the LGBTQ+ community.

“I never thought I’d ever be discussing LGBTQ+ issues alongside local political figures. Especially in front of an audience. It felt great to make everyone’s day that much gayer,” said panelist Valenzuela.

Julie Simanski,co-advisor for the DMACC Democrats,says she appreciated the combination of local politicians as well as students of the LGBTQ+ community, presenting their viewpoints about the issues the community faces in elections and in the state.

The issues facing the LGBTQ+ community may have seemed to dissipate after the 2015 Supreme Court Decision striking down bans against same sex marriage- but their struggle continues on.

Iowa House Candidate McCoy McDeid explains why she got involved in politics in the first place, “Watching a lot of the oppression that occurs in this country that is doled out to people of color, people who are members of the LGBTQA+ community, people who are religious minorities and people with disabilities and other communities, I think by time I hit my mid-20’s I was a pretty angry person and I was one of those people that said, ‘you know politics has nothing to do with me. Nobody in politics looks anything like me, nobody in politics talks the way that I do, there’s really no hope for diverse people in this country.’ […] I’ve got to do what I can to make this country better so I had to face a lot of anger that I had. With regards to my perceptions of how diverse Americans are treated.”

“The panel was a great step forward in representation on Ankeny DMACC campus for the LGBTQ+ community”, said Olivia Habinck, president of the DMACC Democrats. “I really look forward to getting to work with the LGBTQ+ club and any other club looking to boost political awareness on campus.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *