Pride Month

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​Photo #1: MD Isley

I am the Vice President of Academic Affairs at DMACC.

Tell us about an LGBTQIA+ icon, event, person, or piece of media that is important to you and why? A few that come to mind are Harvey Milk, Edie Windsor, Larry Kramer, Leonard Matlovich… all for their bravery and leadership to help make our world a better, more accepting and equitable place… while fully acknowledging there is still so much work to be done.

How do you celebrate or show your Pride during LGBTQIA+ Pride Month (or anytime of the year)? I love spending time with my LGBTQIA+ friends and family during the month and anytime really as I find this wonderful community to both inspiring and invigorating due to the energy, creativity, passion, compassion and love they continually exhibit.

What is your favorite movie, food, place to visit or activity?
Favorite movies: The Color Purple and A Single Man
Favorite food: A rare filet or ribeye, summer tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.
Favorite place to visit: The Pacific Northwest, the Atlantic Northeast and the beautiful horse country around Lexington, Ky.
Favorite activity: I love spending time gardening and working on special projects on our small acreage with my Husband Doug and our dogs, horses, cats and chickens. I also treasure time with my aging parents, who are also two of my best friends.




Photo #2: Bethany Sweeney

I am a professor of English and history, mainly on the Carroll campus, though I sometimes teach at Ankeny and online, too. My favorite class to teach is Science Fiction, in which I focus on contemporary readings primarily by writers who are BIPOC and/or LGBTQIA+. I am also DMACC's Study Abroad Coordinator.

Tell us about an LGBTQIA+ icon, event, person, or piece of media that is important to you and why? Women's music festivals--Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, and others--have played a really important role in my life. My wife and I attended our first lesbian music festival when I was 19; since then, I've attended or worked such festivals as many summers as possible. Many of these festivals are women-only and the majority of women who attend are queer. The festivals challenge assumptions about gender and sexuality: they showcase gender identity and expression on a wide spectrum, empower women to engage in nontraditional roles, promote body positivity, and create spaces in which queer women are not minoritized. I find all of those experiences deeply affirming.

How do you celebrate or show your Pride during LGBTQIA+ Pride Month (or anytime of the year)? I don't tend to celebrate Pride month specifically--though I did last year, when our LGBTQ+ Affinity Group met for brunch and an Iowa Cubs game. I mainly show my pride by being both openly queer and openly polyamorous: my wife, Crys, and I have been together for 20 years and we've been with our partner Matt for 13. Crys's partner, Bill, with whom she's been for 3 years, is also part of our polycule (our extended relationship network). We are open about our family because we think it's important that LGBTQIA+ relationships are seen as a fundamental part of the fabric that makes up society. Besides, hiding one's identity and relationships takes a lot of work and can be painful. Some people don't have the option to be out of the closet--we've been there!--but because we have the privilege to be able to be open in this part of our lives, we are.

What is your favorite movie, food, place to visit or activity?
Okay, I can't make myself choose just one of these categories, so I'll just answer them all. Movie: Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Food: Cold brew/iced lattes. That counts as food, right?
Place to Visit: the Scottish Highlands, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and Maine (I know, I know, that's 4 places).
Activity: Reading a good SciFi or fantasy book with a coffee or IPA in my hand while on an island that I've reached by kayak or canoe.




Not Pictured: Candis Duke

I am the Pathway Navigator for Justice Impacted Students. I work within Newton Correctional Facility, Iowa Correctional Institute for Women and Polk County Jail to help incarcerated individuals gain access to educational endeavors. Blazing Saddle hosts Drag Queen Bingo monthly during the summer. These events are fundraisers that go to schools and other programming that helps support important causes in our communities. All year long I strive to engage in events that occur, I mentor youth who are needing extra supports and I support our locally owned LGBTQIA+ businesses. I stay true to who I am in all that I do in hopes that I can be an example for our young people that fall somewhere on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. I am a firm believer that we are at our best when we can be our authentic selves. My favorite activity is Lego building and having dinner at the Stuffed Olive.




Photo #3: Ronn Newby

My name is Ronn Newby, and I am a proud gay man. I came out to my parents when I was 18, which was not the easiest thing especially since religion and family values had a part in my decision. My parents sent me to a conversion therapy center to try to “pray the gay away” sort of speak. After several years of self-discovery, I finally came with terms that no matter how hard I try, I am and will always be a proud gay man.

I graduated from DMACC with a Certificate in Travel Personnel (program doesn’t no longer exists), attended a private university for my undergrade and went to a Christian university for my Master’s in Human and Work Relations (counseling).

I am a Professor of Psychology at the Ankeny Campus and have been at DMACC since 2007 starting out as adjunct and becoming a full-time professor in 2010. I have taught several courses in the Psychology Department concentrating in Introduction to Psychology, Human and Work Relations and Social Psychology.

I think the most important piece of media for me is music. I love to sing and dance, even though I can’t carry a tune and I tend to make up my own lyrics to the songs. My coworkers say that I have listen too much Cher. Cher gets me moving. When I am cleaning my house, often, I have Cher playing in the background. I have seen Cher in concert in Las Vegas and was completely flabbergasted with the number of outfit changes and the energy she had as a performer.

One of my all-time favorite musicals is RENT. RENT was on Broadway and still travels around the country performing at various venues. Last time I counted I think I have seen RENT on stage 6 times, not including the movie.

I celebrate Pride every day, being thankful that I have a welcoming community in my neighborhood and at DMACC. I have several rainbow flag stickers and signs on my office door “welcoming everyone” as my office is a no judgement zone.

My favorite food is Italian with Mexican coming in a close second. Oh wait, I forgot about dessert, chocolate anything. I also enjoy a great cup of soup and sandwich on a cold or rainy day.

I have traveled to 32 states including the most recent, Alaska and 9 countries/U.S. territories. I absolutely love to travel and have found that I really like to go on cruises as it gives me a chance to explore more parts of the world that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do on my own.

I am the owner of a small retail business called B&H General Store. I sell Fair Trade and eco-friendly products from around the world, 22 countries to be exact and am proud that I am the only store in the metro that exclusively sells Fair Trade products, i.e., journals, baskets, jewelry, coffee mugs, purses, wallets, holiday décor, dog supplies and much more. You can find me at various farmers markets; craft shows and online in hopes I can open a store front one day.

I nearly forgot that I have the best dog in the world, Henry. He is a 9-year-old Bichon Poodle and simply loves to be around other dogs and more importantly, people. Henry will actually “Sing” to the song, Home by Phillip Philips. He enjoys his treats and especially his pup cup from Dairy Queen and of course he is extremely spoiled!




Photo #4: Peter Kooger

​Hi, I’m Peter. You can find me behind the library service desk at Boone campus. I live in Ames with my husband, Michael, and a big dog named Blue. My favorite LGBT movie is Moonlight, my favorite activity is kiki-ing with my friends, and my favorite place to visit is Toronto. My favorite foods are Chinese food, anything made with chickpeas, and dessert.

The LGBTQ+ icon that I look up to most is Jim Toy. He was an amazing man who cocreated the Human Sexuality Office at the University of Michigan in 1971. It was the first college/university office supporting the rights of sexual minorities in the United States. I had the privilege of interviewing Jim in 2015, right before marriage equality became legal in every state. What a rock star.

During Pride month, I like to celebrate by going on trips with family and friends, going to Pride festivals, and listening to classic gay music like CeCe Peniston and Madonna. That said, I usually spend the whole year trying to live my best gay life. I hope you do too!