University of Iowa president James Freedman in 1985 approves a campus-wide policy banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The policy, however, does not appear in the university’s policy manual until 1995 – ten years later.
The growing number of reported AIDS cases and mounting frustration with the state’s slow response to the crisis prompt formation of the Johnson County AIDS Coalition, offering volunteer training and services to people with AIDS. Later, ICARE – the Iowa Center for AIDS Resources and Education – is founded. In addition to training sessions, AIDS support groups begin to form on campus and in the Iowa City area.
Gay People’s Union meeting announcement, 1985.
Gay People’s Union sponsors an appearance in Iowa City by Karen Thompson in November. Thompson fought for the right to visit her lover, Sharon Kowalski, who was seriously injured in an automobile accident in 1983. In 1991, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled in Thompson’s favor.
Announcement of an AIDS benefit show in Iowa City in September
During Harvey Milk Week in November, the Iowa City chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) holds its first organizational meeting.
Bev Arthur and her son, Martin, co-author the book “Mama’s Boy,” chronicling Martin’s coming out as a gay man. Martin, of Iowa City, had come out to his mother in a letter he wrote in 1974 while a graduate student at the University of Iowa. The title, he told the Iowa City Press-Citizen, is “a send-up of the old cliché and to grab readers’ attention.” The book, published by Strawberry Hill Press of San Francisco, garners praise from Publishers Weekly as a “refreshing narrative.”