And… Minnesota gives me the best 44th birthday present!
And… Minnesota gives me the best 44th birthday present!
Okay, maybe not queer Wisconsin, but definitely LGBTQ Wisconsin, at least. There are two interesting articles out about the state of gay rights and marriage equality and non-discrimination in this state.
One is mostly about Fair Wisconsin: its history, current goals, and what kinds of policy and legislation they’ve been addressing.
The details of how Action Wisconsin, the predecessor to Fair Wisconsin, got started are sketchy, though there seems to be consensus it coincided with the election of Tammy Baldwin to the state Assembly in 1992.
The story is that the newly elected Baldwin, then the first out lesbian elected to the Assembly, was in great demand as a speaker around the state. Belanger says Baldwin would go to these speaking engagements and collect names and contact information in a spiral notebook.
“The legend is that those lists started Action Wisconsin,” says Belanger. John Kraus, spokesman for Baldwin, now a U.S. senator, confirms the story.
The second is about the change of attitude about marriage equality and gay rights in the state:
Yet Wisconsinites are now out of sync with the rest of the country.
The latest poll from Marquette University shows that 42% of Wisconsinites support full marriage equality, while 26% support civil unions and 28% oppose any legal recognition of these partnerships.
That’s a positive change from 2006, when 59.4% of voters approved a constitutional ban on marriage equality and civil unions.
Although it’s the law of the land, the constitutional ban is at odds with Wisconsin’s long tradition of tolerance, said Katie Belanger, executive director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights group Fair Wisconsin. She noted that in 1982 Wisconsin was the first state to make sexual-orientation discrimination illegal and voters clearly supported the election of Democrat Tammy Baldwin, a lesbian, to the U.S. Senate in 2012.
“We may disagree on all of the issues of importance to the full LGBT community, but a Wisconsin value is that we treat people fairly and with respect,” Belanger said.
And people wonder why we moved here! There’s so much to do! You can donate to Fair Wisconsin to help us keep moving things forward.
“The Paris Commune had fallen … but now he was fleeing for his life. He was in hiding, Eugene Portier . . . and that very month of May, 1871, he writes six long verses & a chorus calling on all the hard working people of the entire world to overthrow their masters, and he was quite confident that they would, soon.” – Pete Seeger, from the documentary
There are six parts, and it’s a pretty cool bit of history. Gives us in the US, in particular, a little better sense of how exactly one-sided our political conversation has been since the 1950s.
Nine years later, three states had done so.
President Wilson started supporting the right in 1918.
In 1920, the US recognized suffrage for women. At that time, 9 states & 1 territory (Utah!) had given women the right to vote.
Nine years later, 10 states have done so.
President Obama started openly supporting it in 2012.
So then — when?
Today is LGBTQ Equality & Justice & Day in New York. It’s long overdue.
Back when they passed SONDA, they promised they’d come back. So tell our legislators it’s long over due: include gender identity in New York State’s non-discrimination act.
Also, I love this tidy summation from Fair Wisconsin‘s Katie Belanger:
Just this week alone,
(1) France became the 17th nation in the world to recognize marriage equality,
(2) the Delaware House voted in support of the freedom to marry, sending the bill to the Senate,
(3) Nevada kicked off the process to repeal its constitutional amendment banning marriage equality, and
(4) Rhode Island is poised on the brink of becoming the tenth state in the US to extend the freedom to marry to committed gay and lesbian couples – only one more procedural vote and on to the Governor!
(5) a fully inclusive federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was introduced in the House and the Senate. If passed into law, ENDA simply would make it illegal to discriminate in employment based on gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation.
Just to reiterate: this is great goddamn news: it will end discriminatory exclusion of health benefits for transgender City employees by Jan. 1, 2014 and allow employers offering health care to transgender employees to qualify for the “Equality Tax Credit”.
But I just have to point out the very last bit of this article:
There’s a whole bunch more, but you get the gist of it . . . State Rep. Brian Sims called it “a remarkable day in our city’s rich history,” and you know what? It is.
So there you have it: The world is not totally made of shit. Have you got some good news? If so, send it to tips[at]philebrity[dot]com with “GOOD MOTHERFUCKING NEWS!” in the subject header — we’d love to hear about it.
Really, the Philadelphia City Council just passed an amazing equality bill. According to Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club the LGBT Equality Bill will:
• Make Philadelphia the largest city in the nation to end discrimination against transgender people in its employee health-care plan.
• Make Philadelphia the first city in the nation to offer a Transgender Health Tax Credit to companies that offer transgender-specific health coverage.
• Make Philadelphia the first city in the nation to offer a Life Partner Health Care Tax Credit to companies whose employee health plans treat life partners and their children equal to heterosexual families.
• Clarify that life partners of city employees have authority equal to heterosexual spouses for hospital visitation and medical decision making, and access equal to heterosexual spouses for pension, retirement and survivor benefits.
• Protect the rights of workers to dress and groom consistent with their gender identity.
• Require that individuals be permitted use of restrooms in accordance with their gender identity.
• Require city buildings to provide gender-neutral restrooms.
• Make it easier for transgender Philadelphians to update their name and gender on city documents.
This is very exciting stuff, a whole new plateau the rest of us have to catch up to.
Mara Keisling of NCTE spoke here at Lawrence a little over a week ago and she talked not just about trans issues and policy and legislation, but also about the importance of white people talking about racism and about what kinds of things are required of an activist.
She presented this list:
1. Have a worldview. Know what is right and wrong for you.
2. Be intentional. Don’t just do things the easy way.
3. Remember that you are in service with your activism.
4. You have to love the people you serve. If you don’t love them, you can’t serve them.
5. Respect other people’s work.
6. Know your superpower.
7. You can’t be amazing unless you are amazed.
And I found the list pretty astonishing. I’m certainly not perfect at it, but it does summarize so much of what I’ve been thinking these past few years about my own work.
I’ve got #s 1 & 4 down, at least. I’m pretty good at #s 3, 5, & 6. #s 2 & 7 are my weakest. I wonder, if you’re an activist, how these measure up for you.
New Zealand has made same sex marriage legal. They’re the 13th country in the world to do so. & Guess what? The US isn’t one of them.
(I can’t quite sort if they are the 13th or 14th. Seeing conflicting #s from good sources, so here’s a list.)
… and here are a bunch of songs expressing similar sentiments.
The U.S. Senate is close to announcing its plan to reform our immigration system. But as we’ve learned from this Congress, we’ve got to build up our tools to fight against attempts to exclude LGBT people from immigration reform.
We can do that by sharing the stories of LGBT people whose lives have been affected by our dated immigration laws.
It really matters that we all come out for immigration reform and the fact that there are transgender immigrants is just one reason to do so .
NCTE is prioritizing immigration reform because it’s a moral issue to address all of the indignities that every immigrant in our country faces, including everyone who is without documents, faces inhumane treatment in detention centers, or is in deportation proceedings because their relationship isn’t recognized by our government.
Join us in collecting these stories now.
I am so, so thrilled to see that my friend Sarah Garb is Appleton’s newest alderperson.
Here’s Fair Wisconsin’s list of endorsements in tomorrow’s election. I am so pleased to see both my friends Sarah Garb and Teege Metille.
Wisconsin Supreme Court: Ed Fallone
Dane County Circuit Court Judge, Branch 16: Rhonda Lanford
Dane County Executive: Joe Parisi
Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge, Branch 45: Janet Protasiewicz
Appleton Common Council
District 1: Teege Mettille
District 3: Curt Konetzke
District 5: Sarah Garb
District 13: Kyle Lobner
Appleton Area School District, Board of Directors: Jim Bowman and Elizabeth Panzer (at-large)
Beloit City Council: Mark Spreitzer (at-large)
Dane County Board of Supervisors, District 1 Special Election: Mary Kolar
Eau Claire City Council: Michael Turner (at-large)
Fitchburg Mayor: Shawn Pfaff
Fitchburg Common Council
District 4, Seat 7: Steve Arnold
Fond du Lac City Council: Dan Manning (at-large)
Janesville City Council: Sam Liebert (at-large)
La Crosse City Council
District 2: Dempsey Miller
District 3: Ryan Cornett
Madison Common Council
District 1: Lisa Subeck
District 2: Bryan Post and Ledell Zellers (dual endorsement)
District 3: Lauren Cnare
District 4: Mike Verveer
District 5: Shiva Bidar-Sielaff
District 6: Scott Thornton
District 7: Steve King
District 8: Scott Resnick
District 11: Chris Schmidt
District 12: Larry Palm
District 13: Sue Ellingson
District 14: John Strasser
District 15: David Ahrens and Hawk Sullivan (dual endorsement)
District 17: Joe Clausius
District 18: Anita Weier
District 19: Mark Clear
District 20: Matt Phair
Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education
Seat 3: Dean Loumos
Seat 4: James Howard
Seat 5: Sarah Manski, TJ Mertz, and Ananda Mirilli (all endorsed)
Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, District 2 Special Election: Khalif Rainey and Ravae Sinclair (dual endorsement)
Milwaukee Public Schools, Board of School Directors
District 6: Tatiana Joseph
District 7: Claire Zautke
Oregon School Board: Rae Vogeler (at-large)
Sun Prairie City Council
District 2: Andrea Gage
District 4: Dave Carlson and Trish Schaefer (dual endorsement)
Waunakee School Board: David Boetcher (at-large)
And in the meantime, ENDA is being reviewed again with hopes of it being re-introduced.
My friend Sarah Gab is running for City Council here in Appleton, and she’s amazing – a new cool voice for the city, a lawyer, a mom, a Wisconsin native. Since most of you reading can’t vote for her – although I’m sure you would if you could – she could use some donations to keep her campaign afloat, as she’s up against an umpteen-year incumbent.
If you’re out of town and want to make a donation, you can donate to me via PayPal as she’s only accepting checks at this time.
Really: we need another council member here who’s looking to the future & not the past. Really, really, really.
Canada has just passed a bill that would protect transgender people nationally. The Prime Minister voted against it, and it still has to make it through the Senate, but still: impressive.
I’m adding a bit sent in by a reader about how the Canadian system works, and some info on what’s actually going on up there in terms of this specific bill. Interesting stuff.
Kate Bornstein is fighting cancer. Help her kick its ass by donating something to help her pay her bills and for her treatment.
I can say for one thing: I don’t know that I’d be around without her. Please let’s keep her alive. She blew the roof off this trans thing for so many of us; she continues to do amazing work year in and year out, and her heart is about as big as they come. I know that every time I see her, or talk with her, I have a renewed sense of my own dedication to this movement.
So give until it hurts. Masochist that she is, she’ll love that.
I love this graphic. Love it. (For those of you who don’t know, Transexual Menace was the first direct action trans rights group, & it was formed in response to the transphobic screed written by Janice Raymond called The Transsexual Empire. Moving on…)
As I like to point out in my workshops, I am firmly convinced that we have a national, if not international, obsession with penises. OR, some people are just walking around with penis on the brain all the time.
(& You know, not in the good way.)
If you haven’t heard the story, TLDEF has filed a complaint on behalf of a six year old whose parents and teachers and fellow students recognize as female. She’s been using the girls’ bathroom for a long while, and first told her parents she was female at about 18 months old. But for some reason, she was recently banned from using the girls’ bathroom and told to use the boys’ bathroom.
Which is, yes, ridiculous. So let’s all get over this problem with genitals, can we? Genitals do not determine gender. Rinse and Repeat.