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NEW: Dubuque natives form umbrella group for LGBT community

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Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 12:58 pm

Two Dubuque natives, one gay and one straight, have founded an umbrella group for a host of support services and resources for the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) community and their friends and families.

Scott Reimer and Michelle Bechen met a decade ago and became close friends after they discovered their mutual concerns about an anti-gay undercurrent in Dubuque society. Before that, both had lived and worked in larger cities and when each returned, they saw their hometown had made progress.

"Dubuque has changed so much. There is more acceptance, but we still have a lot of work to do," said Bechen, an assistant social work professor at Loras, who teaches classes such as "Identity and LGBT." Nearly a year ago, the two started the formation of an over-arching organization to address many unmet needs within the gay community and to educate community members about their gay neighbors.

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