Local LGBTQIA+ stories to be told through monthly virtual event


Ames Pridefest will feature multiple virtual events instead of its annual street festival for the 2020 year.

Logan Metzger

Ames Pride is teaming up with the Ames Public Library to host the Pridefest 2020 Storytelling Project in lieu of the annual street festival.

“In lieu of a street festival, Ames Pridefest 2020 will take place through virtual programming from June – December,” according to the Ames Pride website. “The Pridefest 2020 Storytelling Project, in partnership with Ames Public Library, will create opportunities for local people to tell their stories during our Pridefest celebration. Stories will be shared in multiple ways including in a scheduled monthly event, via social media posts and through other programming formats as storytellers would like.”

The first in the series of events will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday through a Zoom webinar.

Susan Gent, community engagement specialist for the Ames Public and University libraries, said these events will allow Ames Pride not to lose momentum from the previous years of Ames Pridefest.

Each month, from June to December, Ames LGBTQIA+ community members will share personal stories based on a theme selected by Ames Pride. Storytelling events will usually take place on the 4th Saturday of the month, while most stories will be shared in other ways throughout the month.

All of the events will take place through a live Zoom webinar that will later be shared on YouTube for those who missed the event, Gent said no in-person events are planned for this series.

Ames Pride is soliciting submissions for the following monthly themes:

  • July: Independence (Sat. Jul 25)
  • August: New Beginnings (Sat. Aug 29)
  • September: Education and/or Labor (Sat. Sep 26)
  • October: Gender Expression, Alternate Personas and/or Coming Out (Sat. Oct 24)
  • November: Giving Thanks (Sat. Nov 21)

Those interested in telling their story can fill out the application on the Ames Pride website. Applications received by the 1st of the month will be given first consideration to be featured in the monthly live event.

“The idea is to solicit stories from the LGBTQIA+ community to make space for those stories, to honor them, to celebrate them, to acknowledge them,” Gent said.

Stories can be shared in a variety of formats from spoken word, written word, through music or even visual art.

“Just like how the Pridefest festival has a lot of different components, we want to make sure that people who want to tell a story can find lots of different ways to express it,” Gent said. “We are hoping that someone that is a spoken word artist might want to perform or if someone feels like they have created a series of paintings or drawings that showcases their story related to the topic, we could share those visually through social media or interview them about their work. If someone is a singer/songwriter they could do a performance, we are excited to mix it up.”

The Ames Pride website said all members of the Ames and Story County LGBTQIA+ community are encouraged to apply. The website also said stories must speak to the experience of the LGBTQIA+ community and priority will be given to stories that:

Are both told by and speak to marginalized audiences within the LGBTQIA+ community.

Incorporate or connect to current issues.

Come from local community members or those who have demonstrated a connection to Ames Pride and Ames Pridefest.

After an individual decides they want to share their story and they have been approved by Ames Pride based on their requirements, the individual will be able to work directly with Ames Pride to better curate their story and get it ready for sharing in whatever format they choose, according to Gent.

The Ames Pride website said the majority of submitted stories will be shared through other means such as social media, some stories will be shared at the monthly live events.

The first event in the series is known as “#WhyAmesPride” and will showcase four members of Ames Pride: A. Norman, Joel Hochstein, Mara Spooner and Mick D. These members will discuss how Ames Pride came to be and everything that goes into the annual Pridefest.

“#WhyAmesPride is the first of our monthly Storytelling Project live events and features voices from Ames Pridefests past,” according to the Ames Pride Facebook event. “Join in to hear from the people who have made the magic happen in Ames and learn about our plans for this year.”

Gent said questions are welcome from attendees who have questions during the virtual event.

The link to the Zoom event will be added to the Facebook event the day of the event.