Welcome to the First Friday Breakfast Club!

The First Friday Breakfast Club (FFBC) is an educational group for gay, bisexual and transgender men. We gather monthly in Des Moines for breakfast, fellowship and a speaker. We provide a safe and supportive environment for all members and guests.

As Iowa’s largest breakfast club, we are active, dynamic and engaging. We educate ourselves on LGBTQ issues. We work to reduce prejudice and discrimination. Throughout the year, we raise scholarship funds for students who fight homophobia. We offer guidance to those who need help in the coming out process. And we provide opinion leaders and the community with positive images of LGBTQ people.

Please visit our website www.ffbciowa.org where we have our upcoming speakers and archive of prior speaker recordings as well as newsletters.  
You now have the ability to make one-time or recurring donations to support the scholarship program!

Click HERE to donate to the scholarship fund.  

The February 2022 newsletter is now available HERE.


Members, Guest and Allies,

Given the high Polk County test positivity rate of 29.9% as of Tuesday, January 18th, we have decided to conduct the February 4th, 7:00am FFBC meeting via Zoom. Omicron is surging currently in Iowa, so we’d like to take precautions to protect our members and the community. We hope the Omicron variant will peak quickly and we can resume in-person meetings in March, but we’ll take things one month at a time.

Our speaker on February 4th is Edward Kelly, Jr., author of Journey Into Love, an account of his passage out of judgmental Fundamentalism and anti-gay activism to LGBTQ+ advocate. Full details on Mr. Kelly, as well as Zoom login instructions, will arrive via our standard meeting announcement email from SignUpGenius on Friday, January 29, 2022. Please watch for that.

All dues payments will be placed on hiatus for February. In the event you have pre-paid dues for February, it will be shifted and applied to the first month for which your dues is unpaid. The FFBC Treasurer is tracking this for each member.

Thank you for your understanding and stay healthy.

— FFBC Board of Directors


Upcoming Speakers

February 4, 2022Edward Kelly, Jr., a Des Moines Register opinion guest columnist on September 5, 2021, titled “My journey from anti-gay activist to LGBTQ ally.”  Due to COVID, this meeting will be held via Zoom, and not in person.
March 4, 2022:  Mark A. Babcock, who sang with Leonard Bernstein and Robert Shaw, and performed at Carnegie Hall and the New York Philharmonic, will speak about playing the carillon at Des Moines’ St Paul’s Episcopal Church.  See the September 6, 2021, Des Moines Register Article, “Meet the man who plays the church bells that ring through downtown Des Moines

April 1, 2022:  Dave Miglin, a member of the Broadlawns medical center board and has recently completed his mission of visiting every incorporated city/town in the state of Iowa. He’s also involved in Iowa Stage Theatre Company.
May 6, 2022:  Eric Shepard, the new Artistic Director and Conductor of the Gay Men’s Chorus.
June 3, 2022:  Scholarship Presentations!  Becky Smith (She/Her/Hers), the Executive Director of Iowa Safe Schools. 
July 2022:  no meeting scheduled at this time.
August 5, 2022:  Jerry Hatfield to speak on Iowa’s changing climate pattern and soil health.
September 2, 2022:  Congresswoman Cindy Axne

FFBC members enjoy breakfast and a speaker during the monthly gatherings. Breakfast begins promptly at 7:00 am. Unless otherwise noted, all meetings are at the Hoyt Sherman Place.

Hoyt Sherman Place (website
1501 Woodland Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309

To view past speakers (and listen to remarks from select speakers), click here or on the PAST SPEAKERS link at the top of the page.

Speaker Recommendations:  If you have a recommendation for a speaker for a future First Friday Breakfast Club meeting please email to [email protected], providing information about the potential speaker, and contact information for them.  Your contact information would be appreciated as well. 

Items of interest

World AIDS Day – December 1, 2021

A note from the January 2021 First Friday Breakfast Club speaker, Eric Marcus, author and host of the Making Gay History podcast.

November 30, 2021
Tomorrow Is World AIDS Day
Eric Marcus

December 1 is #WorldAIDSDay, a day for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who’ve died from AIDS-related illnesses. 
Have you listened yet to our latest season, “Coming of Age During the AIDS Crisis“? If not, now’s a great time to do so — and be sure to join us on Instagram tomorrow as I revisit six sites that form the season’s backdrop. Tomorrow we’ll also launch our new YouTube channel, where you can enjoy my audio memoir complete with archival photos and captions.

If you subscribe to our podcast, you may have noticed that we dropped a guest episode from The Log Books, one of my favorite LGBTQ history podcasts, in our feed this morning. “Please Be Gentle” is the first of three episodes they devoted to the early years of the AIDS crisis in Britain and it’s a gem — sweeping yet intimate and deeply moving. 

It reminded me of all the great art and reporting that the AIDS crisis has inspired and continues to inspire. Below are some AIDS-related reading, listening, and viewing recommendations that I find especially resonant. 

The AIDS memoir is a genre unto itself, and one that has produced many powerful works, but few have stayed with me like Borrowed Time (1988), in which Paul Monette charts the final 19 months of his partner’s life. It was my mom, Cecilia Marcus, who first introduced me to Monette when she gave me a copy of his 1992 autobiography, Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story.

Poet and activist Essex Hemphill(1957-1995) wrote searing and incisive works about AIDS, homophobia, loneliness, and racism (“a well-known transmittable disease”). His books are out of print (you can still find copies online, though they’re often pricey), so I’m especially grateful for digital spaces like this where Hemphill’s work lives on, in his own sonorous voice.

In the audio documentary Dying Words: The AIDS Reporting of Jeffrey Schmalz, Sam Freedman and Kerry Donahue use archival audio, much of it recorded by Schmalz himself, to paint a vivid and compelling portrait of an accomplished journalist who used his AIDS diagnosis to reshape how the New York Times reported on AIDS. It’s riveting.

The under-appreciated 1985 drama Buddies, about a person with AIDS and his volunteer buddy, was the first film about AIDS. I remember seeing it at the time, when the characters were my age; now they seem impossibly young. The film’s writer-director, Arthur J. Bressan, Jr., and Geoff Edholm, one of the leads, both died of AIDS-related complications.

I had my doubts about seeing a musical about AIDS, especially when people were still dying around us, but in 1990 I went to see Falsettoland and laughed and cried and left the theater humming. I still have the cast album and listen occasionally, but I have to be in the right mood; the music and lyrics capture the sadness of that time so heartbreakingly. Listen here.

2020-2021 Scholarship Presentation

July 2, 2021, was the 2020-2021 scholarship awards presentation.  Scholarship were awarded to nine outstanding students:  Moira BlueAllissa CoxLeah KaminskyKeon KruseMaverick MeimannEmmaline Mitchell, Greyson PullenMichael Rosenberg, and Lennon Schriever. See more about each scholar on the Scholars page.

The July speaker was Kevin Newbury a theatre, opera and film director based in New York City. Kevin’s work focuses on issues of community, empathy and social justice, with a particular focus on our shared LGBTQAI+ history and education. After extensive research into The Lavender Scare and this neglected period in American history, he developed a new opera, FELLOW TRAVELERS based on that learning and around Thomas Mallon’s book of the same name.The opera version, also titled FELLOW TRAVELERS premiered at Cincinnati Opera and has seen subsequent productions atPrototype Festival/NYC, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Arizona Opera, and Des Moines Metro Opera on July 17, 2021.  

Graying Rainbows Podcast Interview of FFBC’s David Cotton

Retired Air Force Brig. General David Cotton shares his story of coming out LGBT+ after leaving his military career. He struggled with depression and with ending his marriage, but he shares how he learned how to embrace vulnerability and discovered new ways to connect with others.  CLICK HERE for interview.

The Trevor Project National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health 2021

The past year has been incredibly difficult for so many, but we also know that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) youth have faced unique challenges. The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health sheds light on many of these challenges by capturing the experiences of nearly 35,000 LGBTQ youth ages 13–24 across the United States.

PRIDE on FX & Hulu

Pride on FX & Hulu starting May 14, 2021.  From Emmy® Award-winning Killer Films (This American Life, Mildred Pierce) and Sundance World Cinema Grand Jury Prize winning VICE Studios (Flee, The Report) comes PRIDE, a six-part documentary series chronicling the struggle for LGBTQ+ civil rights in America from the 1950s through the 2000s.  See more at this link.