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The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

‘Time for change’: Local organization aims to help area LGBT+ youth

A local organization is working to provide resources and support for the LGBT+ community in the Quad Cities.
Tommy Glennon
A local organization is working to provide resources and support for the LGBT+ community in the Quad Cities.

Living in a state often described as close-minded and conservative, Iowans who are not a part of the societal norm are more likely to feel ostracized or shunned. LGBT+ Iowans are a marginalized group that struggles with the state’s homogenous society. A mere 3.6% of Iowa’s population identifies as LGBT+, placing Iowa 39th in the nation in LGBT+ individuals. These statistics reveal the limited support for LGBT+ Iowans.

A local organization is changing this lack of support by offering a safe location for LGBT+ people of all ages in the Quad Cities. Clock, Inc., founded by Chase Noris, officially opened their doors in March of 2019. The organization’s name is symbolic; founders say the clock represents a time for change and that their clock logo’s hands always stay at 6:28, as they consider the beginning of the Gay Liberation Movement in the Unites States to have started with the Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969 (6-28).

The Start

Executive Director Chase Norris started a LGBT+ Youth group while completing his Master’s degree in Counselor Education. As the group amassed a larger following, Norris’s graduation grew closer, which created uncertainty about the future of the group. 

Unwilling to abandon the group, Norris worked with them to provide a permanent, highly desired, paramount resource: a safe place to go.

Plans for the space were entirely generated by group members. All their hard work paid off when, in 2018, Clock, Inc. was officially founded in the Quad Cities. A few short months later, Clock, Inc: LGBT+ Community Center in the Quad Cities was opened; it is now a 501c3 nonprofit organization. 

LGBT+ Services

Featured on the Clock, Inc. website is their mission statement: “Clock, Inc.’s purpose is to provide a non-judgmental, safe and reliable community center for LGBT+ individuals to reduce any feelings of discrimination or isolation.”

In order to establish a safe, sheltered environment, the organization provides numerous services. A variety of group sessions are accessible to members of the LGBT+ community: middle schoolers, high schoolers, adults, transgender/nonbinary people, transgender youth and parents of transgender individuals. 

Senior Charles Budan recognizes the importance of such organizations.  “I think that the program supporting LGBT+ individuals is incredibly beneficial. Programs like Clock, Inc. can do wonders for kids who are finding and becoming comfortable with their own identity,” he said. “Providing kids with support, validation and affirmation is incredibly important for their mental health, especially in environments where they may be deprived of this.”

Counseling sessions of 30, 45 or 60 minutes provide assistance for anyone seeking treatment. Recognizing the difficulty of transitioning and coming out as transgender, Clock, Inc. also provides individuals with clothing swaps. By providing clothing free of cost, this service helps people access clothing that matches their gender identity. 

Fundraising Chair Stacey McIntosh is a dedicated employee who hopes to raise awareness about Clock, Inc. “I am passionate about what Clock, Inc. does not just in our community but in our region,” she shared via Clock, Inc.’s website. “There is no other organization like it in our region, we need to help people understand the mission and vision and then connect them with our cause.”

Unquestionable Importance

Providing a safe location for LGBT+ individuals in the Quad Cities is an essential service for this marginalized group. Not only does Clock, Inc. provide material resources like clothing and computer labs, but validation that improves the mental health of LGBT+ people. 

The mistreatment and stigmatization from society is detrimental to emotional health of people who belong to the LGBT+ community, though they are not inherently prone to suicidal thoughts and other mental health issues. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people, and LGBT+ youth are at a significantly higher risk of suicide—4 times greater than their cisgender and straight counterparts. 

Though Budan had a relatively peaceful coming-out story, he recognizes the significance of local organizations such as Clock, Inc. for LGBT+ individuals. “[My story] is absolutely not the case for queer folks everywhere. I am white, cis and I am incredibly privileged,” he said. “It’s important to stay aware of the issues faced by less fortunate members of the LGBTQIA+ community. From those outside of the community, bigotry and ignorance are the most common attacks against queer people,” he shared.

In a region that can seem unwelcoming towards LGBT+ individuals, Clock, Inc. serves as a reminder that there are always people and organizations who strive to build a more accepting community. The various services and resources provided by Clock, Inc welcome LGBT+ peoples in the Quad Cities with open arms.

To find more information about Clock, Inc.’s services, mission and goals, view their website here

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About the Contributors
Leila Assadi
Leila Assadi, Lead Editor
Leila Assadi is a senior at Pleasant Valley High School and serves as the Lead Editor for the Spartan Shield. Throughout her four years of high school, Leila has participated in numerous extracurricular and academic activities, including National Honors Society, All-Academic sports teams, and a rigorous class schedule. Her favorite classes include AP Language and Composition, Humanities, and AP Spanish. Outside of the classroom, Leila immerses herself in school activities. She is an executive member of Spartan Assembly, a member of Ethics Bowl who competed at the national level at UNC in 2022, President of A Positive Place, Co-President of Environmental Club, Vice President of Students for Political Action and a member of Girls Learn International. Along with her clubs, Leila is a varsity soccer player, varsity bowler, and four year choir member. Hanging out with friends, listening to music, attending concerts, and thrifting occupy Leila’s free time. Leila enjoys writing and looks forward to working on the Spartan Shield this year. 

Tommy Glennon
Tommy Glennon, Copy Editor
Tommy Glennon is a Copy Editor for the Spartan Shield. As a first-year contributor, they are thrilled to be working with such a talented staff. A member of numerous extracurriculars, Tommy keeps busy by singing with the Chamber Choir and jazz choirs, an activity they have participated in for all of high school. Additionally, they have sung with both the QCSO and Iowa All-State Chorus. Tommy is also a member of A Positive Place club, a safe space to discuss difficult issues plaguing the school. Outside of school, they enjoy working with technology, gardening, listening to Taylor Swift, and working out. They’re ecstatic to be writing for such a distinguished journalistic outlet!  
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‘Time for change’: Local organization aims to help area LGBT+ youth