ACLU of Iowa Board Member Jonathan Wilson of Des Moines has been selected to receive an inaugural LGBTQ Legacy Leader Award.
The awards are a partnership between One Iowa and dsm magazine that aims to recognize important contributions of LGBTQ Iowans.
Jonathan is an attorney and former Des Moines Public Schools board member. He clerked for the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals, taught at the Australian National University College of Law, and served as the Executive Director of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund in Washington D.C. He later returned to Iowa where he taught at Drake University Law School and joined the Davis Brown Law Firm.
The following is an excerpt from the LGBTQ Legacy Leaders award recipient profile featured on the dsm magazine website.
Jonathan Wilson: In The Spotlight
By Luke Manderfeld
It’s been almost 25 years, but Jonathan Wilson vividly remembers the exact time he came out to the world: 10:24 p.m.
The date was Jan. 25, 1995, and Wilson, a lawyer and Des Moines Public School Board member for 12 years, asked to address the standing-room-only crowd and cameras broadcasting across the state. The topic at the meeting that night: homosexuality in the public schools. The meeting was called in response to a curriculum proposal that included education about sexual orientation.
At 10:24 p.m., it was Wilson’s turn to speak. He read his prepared statement, which included coming out as a gay man. In the hours leading up to the moment and in the time afterward, he assumed he’d have to wind down his law practice. What was the response from the community going to be?