Listening Guides

Not sure where to start?

While these are generalized genres, it should be noted that every story here, and indeed in the rest of the archive, are a collection of stories that cover multiple topics at one time, which is indicative of the richness of the histories in our lives.

Historical moments:

Rick Miller narrates various forms of organizing that emerged in Des Moines during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, including the Central Iowa AIDS Project, who organized the annual All Iowa AIDS Benefit; the Robert Mann House; and intersections with other forms of cultural organizing and activism.


Rick Miller describes how various LGBT organizations and groups formed and gained traction after the Anita Bryant visit to Des Moines in 1977, beginning with the Gay Coalition.


Rick Miller narrates a secondhand account of the events surrounding the Anita Bryant visit to Des Moines in 1977, which sparked the LGBT Rights Movement in Des Moines and Iowa more broadly.

Gay marriage:


Holly remembers when Iowa legalized gay marriage and how it made them feel at the time.


Gayla and Cindy discuss April 3rd, 2009, the day marriage equality was passed in Iowa. They proposed to each other multiple times, and immediately started planning their wedding.


Identity Development:


Holly describes an experience of hearing their dad say something homophobic and how that effected their choice not to come out to him. However, they are out to their mom and she is accepting.


Rev. Anna talk about how they learned about queerness and such in bookstores, specifically the book “Why am I Blue” as well as black feminist poets.


Anna talks about coming out to their parents and how they were not “comfortable” with having a queer kid, they discuss how the religiousness of their family contributed to this feeling from their parents. Then they roll into talking about how their church made it seem like they could not be religious and queer. Then they go back to talking about their parents.


Gayla and Cindy two discuss learning they were lesbians. Gayla talks about coming out to her parents, Cindy discusses her first coming out to family to her nephew.


Dylan discusses the nature of the closet in a small town.


Jamieson recalls the events that led up to his being outed by his peers in high school.


Loren confronts the nature of being a “good boy” and how it relates to LGBT people who live in the closet, the politics of staying off others’ toes.




Dylan remembers a time when they were discriminated against in the workplace, and then hit on later.


Kyle talks about his son coming out and informing how he thought of his experience and how he could put his skills to use.


Kyle discusses how the family relationship dynamic changed due to misconceptions with their son, and how it changed for the better.


UCC memory circle talks through the events that led up to the affirmation vote recently in the methodist church.


Loren remembers his role in the navy, and how the navy treated LGBT people.