The holiday season is traditionally a time when families, friends, co-workers and communities come together in a spirit of love and good cheer. Unfortunately, the unprecedented level of political polarization in Wisconsin made for some tense moments around holiday tables in 2011.
It shouldn't be this way. As President Barack Obama has said, "We can disagree without being disagreeable." Ultimately, people on both sides of the political aisle need to check their tone. Becoming personal and angry fails to enhance any point of view.
When WiG began publishing two years ago, Wisconsin was a very different state. Progressive, pro-equality Democrats had control of both legislative chambers in Madison. Gov. Jim Doyle, an LGBT ally, held the keys to the Governor's Mansion.
But an ongoing economic crisis and a backlash against President Barack Obama – from both the left and the right – brought sweeping political change in November 2010. The change was abrupt and radical – its leaders uncompromising. It left Wisconsin Republicans and Democrats more divided than perhaps at any time in state history.
The Christian right often points to the health disparities faced by LGBT people as evidence there’s something inherently unhealthy about them. The disparities are indeed alarming: higher rates of psychiatric disorders, alcohol and substance abuse, smoking and suicide.
But the Christian right’s oppression of LGBT people is the self-fulfilling prophecy behind the grim statistics. A growing body of research shows the unhealthy choices made by LGBT people result from social stigmatization, discrimination, and denial of rights – all of which are promulgated by religious extremists.
Two recent events reminded us that Wisconsin has moved from the forefront of the nation’s progress to the vanguard of its decline.
The celebration of Women’s Equality Day on Aug. 26 was a bittersweet occasion for Wisconsin. U.S. Rep. Bella Abzug of New York established the observance in 1971 to commemorate the date in 1920 when the nation adopted the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote.
The Milwaukee LGBT Community Center is at a crossroads. Beset with a leadership crisis, another year of financial shortfall and a lack of community and donor engagement, the center faces challenges that could prove insurmountable.
LGBT Milwaukeeans and their allies must decide if they want the center to continue. If so, they must throw their dollars, energy and ideas behind it.
Scott Walker won a close race for governor largely on a promise to create 250,000 new jobs by 2015. Now, only 10 months into his tenure, Walker's own administration has acknowledged that he's going to miss that mark by a long shot.
The Department of Revenue released a report on Oct. 28 that predicted the state would add only 136,000 jobs in the private sector between 2010 and 2014.
It’s becoming difficult for voters of good conscience to identify with the Republican brand. If the GOP presidential debates continue in the spirit they’ve begun, by the time November 2012 creeps around there will be few decent people left willing to identify publicly as party members.
At a California debate last month, Texas Gov. Rick Perry bragged that he had lost no sleep over signing off on 234 executions – more than any other governor in modern history. The crowd erupted into cheers. It was like a scene from "Gladiator."
The following is an open letter to Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action.
You’ve dedicated your life to promoting heterosexual marriage as the crowning pinnacle of civilization. Yet you have remained single.
With the ongoing revelations of child sex abuse involving right-wing religious institutions and sports organizations – two of the nation's most homophobic settings – it's tempting to throw all the headlines back in their faces.
Tempting, but unfair. It's understandable that pedophiles would be drawn to clerical and coaching positions, which offer a high level of access to children.But just as there's no relationship between same-sex orientation and pedophilia, there's no evidence that religion, sports or homophobia are connected to the disorder.
The Christian right often points to the health disparities faced by LGBT people as evidence there's something inherently unhealthy about them. The disparities are indeed alarming: higher rates of psychiatric disorders, alcohol and substance abuse, smoking and suicide.
But the Christian right’s oppression of LGBT people is the self-fulfilling prophecy behind the grim statistics. A growing body of research shows the unhealthy choices made by LGBT people result from social stigmatization, discrimination and denial of rights – all of which are promulgated by religious extremists.
Last year, a spate of LGBT youth suicides sent shock waves throughout America.
Despite repeated polls showing young people are ahead of their elders in supporting same-sex marriage, it became evident last September that a shocking backlash of hate was poisoning the hallways, dormitories and locker rooms of the nation’s schools and colleges.
If there was any doubt that the corporate right and the anti-gay right are colluding, Wisconsin Family Action chief Julaine Appling erased it.
In a taped phone call with a concerned citizen, Appling acknowledged her group is part of a political coalition that includes Americans for Prosperity, one of the political front groups for billionaires Charles and David Koch. The caller had confronted Appling because a return address owned by her group was printed on fraudulent ballot applications that AFP sent to voters before the Aug. 9 recall elections. The ballots listed a return date after the election was over.