I left Iowa a long long time ago, after Ankeny High School and Iowa State University.

I haven’t been back in a very long time, but after living in Berlin, Manhattan, and Montreal, I have in a way returned to my roots by settling down in northern Michigan.

Your talk of snow recalls nights that I would be driving home from church in Altoona to Ankeny, wondering if I could even make it in the middle of a sudden squall. Michigan isn’t much different.

I can very much connect with the people who don’t feel that Pete is queer enough. Living in a rural area where LGBTQ equality is radical and fought against, I get it.

My very first queer mentors were Iowans of a long-ago era who embraced the radical left because only the radical left would embrace them back.

We LGBTQ folks are less likely to be moderate or centrist than most Mayor Pete supporters seem to be. Yes, we want safety. And we want serious societal change. Where I live now, I don’t feel particularly safe.

I think Pete is a fabulous candidate. I love how he’s normalizing “gay,” even if he isn’t bringing much normalization to those of us who aren’t as assimilated and hetero-normative as he is.

And no, that’s not a snipe. He has every right to be those things — to enjoy his life and prosper any way he chooses.

If he’s elected, I know I’ll feel a flush of pleasure and pride.

But he’s not my first choice. I’m sorry, but I want more than Pete. More progressive, more aggressive, more transformative.

And I think my growing up in Iowa has something to do with that.

Written by

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot. jamesfinnwrites@gmail.com

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