Institutions of higher learning are typically at the cutting edge of forward-thinking and cultural evolution. But not at Marquette University, where progressives complain that backward religious conservatives have a stranglehold on the administration. As a result, they fear the university’s academic standing is moribund.
“Marquette is where faculty go to die,” an unnamed faculty member told a researcher contracted by the university to examine conditions for LGBT people on campus.
After an autumn in which a number of gay youth took their lives and scores of LGBT allies lost their political offices, Congress’ vote to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” came as a particularly welcome holiday gift. It’s a gift that will keep on giving.
The military ban was rooted in straight men’s homophobic revulsion toward gay sexuality and their contempt for strong women who don’t need them. The ban gave social credence to the most destructive myths about gays and lesbians – that we are mentally and physically unfit, immoral and out-of-control sexual predators.
A recent report from the Cream City Foundation showed Wisconsin in general and Milwaukee in particular lag significantly behind other cities in the region in workplace equality.
CCF compared the scores that regional corporations earned on the Human Rights Campaign’s corporate equality index, which assesses the employment policies, benefits and practices of companies toward their LGBT employees. Wisconsin’s average score of 51 percent fell below the 81 percent achieved by employers in Illinois and the 80 percent obtained by Minnesota employers.
The brilliant production of “Cabaret” now playing at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater shines a light on some striking parallels between the rise of fascism in pre-WWII Germany and our current socio-political climate.
In 1930, Germany was a nation on edge in many ways that feel uncannily familiar. As Germans struggled with an historic economic downturn and a loss of world standing – largely the consequences of military aggression – the nation’s society moved further to the edges.
Daniel Hernandez Jr. is not a famous performer, elected official, scientist or business mogul. In fact, before this Good Samaritan helped to save U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ life, he was not a celebrity of any sort. He was a college student doing an internship with Giffords’ office.
Hernandez denies he’s a hero, whatever that means. But he does not deny he’s gay, which makes him a hero to us.
The recent concession of Minnesota gubernatorial challenger Tom Emmer was gratifying. After all, Target Corp.’s donation to a group supporting the anti-gay Emmer led to a national boycott.
Although pro-equality Democrat Mark Dayton’s margin of victory over Emmer was so razor thin that it took more than a month to decide the race, it’s a significant win nonetheless.
In late October, a committee of the Green Bay City Council voted to authorize the city to join forces with Wisconsin Family Action in a lawsuit to overturn the state’s domestic partner registry. No other municipality in the state has considered such an action.
Observers are convinced this attack on LGBT people came in response to a city worker’s request that the council consider domestic partner benefits for its gay and lesbian employees. They also believe the action was ordered by WFA chief Julaine Appling, who’s notorious for such retaliatory behavior.
The Wisconsin GOP has elected the most extremist candidates in memory. Don’t expect any of them to support basic LGBT rights, let alone equality.
Even during normal election years, Republican primary candidates are hostage to the approval of far-right groups such as Wisconsin Family Action, whose adherents vote in huge numbers. This year, Republican candidates were driven even further to the right by the seething Tea Party movement.
The state’s new Republican leadership burst through the gate Jan. 3 with a bizarre legislative agenda that represents a sharp turn away from the job-creation rhetoric spouted by GOP candidates during last fall’s campaign.
Republican lawmakers introduced a flurry of bills that reflected eight years of pent-up conservative anger. From their first hours in power, GOP members signaled that their governing agenda would be set by the lunatic fringe.
When Indianapolis officials appointed LGBT liaisons to their police and fire departments last month, they released a statement touting their action to the public.
“Today’s announcement establishing police and fire liaisons to the LGBT community demonstrates our commitment to service and inclusion,” the statement said. “We look forward to working with the LGBT community, exploring issues involving the LGBT community in police and fire training, and partnering on future projects.”
Editorial boards across the state have rebuked Rebecca Kleefisch, the Republican nominee for Wisconsin lieutenant governor, for refusing to debate Democratic opponent Tom Nelson. Pundits also have taken her to task for avoiding interviews and news conferences.
Debates and personal appearances are all that’s left of the democracy that our founding fathers envisioned. They could not have imagined an age such as ours, when candidates buy political offices through slickly produced, ubiquitously accessed commercials filled with lies and false accusations.
On Sept. 19, AIDS Walk Wisconsin, the state’s largest AIDS fundraiser, returns to the Summerfest grounds. We urge you to become involved.
AIDS is not a gay disease but it continues to disproportionately impact our community. Gay and bisexual men in the United States are diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, at 44 times the rate of straight men. Still, the LGBT community has become increasingly apathetic toward the ongoing epidemic. The disconnect is generally attributed to the lack of experience that young people have had with the disease and to the improved treatments that have made HIV a largely manageable condition.