The 37th annual WisCon Feminist Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention takes place in Madison at the Concourse Hotel May 24-27. WisCon is the biggest convention of its kind in the world. Speakers, discussions, movies, parties, music and more focus on feminist ideas in sci-fi, fantasy and speculative literature.I’ve been to WisCon, and it’s the coolest combination of nerds and radicals, eggheads and fan girlz and boyz in the cosmos. The four-day event costs just $50, which proves WisCon’s admirable commitment to accessibility while portending its doom in interstellar commerce.
With this weather, it’s hard to imagine that summer is so very close. But it is, and that means it’s almost time for Milwaukee PrideFest. To help us get in the spirit for Pride, over the next four issues I will honor four grassroots heroes of Wisconsin’s LGBT community. They symbolize the many commitment and selfless actions that have helped move our community forward.
My morning routine usually includes about 10 minutes of lying in bed and scrolling through my Facebook and Twitter feeds to see what, if anything, happened overnight. Most mornings it’s quite dull, except for the occasional I-can’t-believe-they-posted-that moment. March 15 was very different.
On that morning, my feeds where filled with friends and news organizations touting Sen. Rob Portman’s flip on marriage equality. I was thrilled that another conservative Republican was speaking out in favor marriage equality. It is worth remembering that Portman, R-Ohio, was on Mitt Romney’s short list as a potential vice-presidential candidate. During his interview with CNN, the senator stated that during the vetting process he informed Romney that he had a gay son and it was a “non-issue.” Most likely, it wasn’t.
In the Republicans’ 2011–13 biennial budget, funding was slashed in every major category, including education and health care, with one notable exception: transportation.
LGBT studies courses at our public universities are among the greatest resources for promoting understanding of queer culture. Dozens of Wisconsin students will earn certificates in the field this month.
How many of these accomplished lesbians do you know about?
Katharine Lee Bates (1859-1929) is most famous as the lyric writer of “America the Beautiful,” which she penned after being awestruck by the glorious view from the summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado. Her words were set to the hymn “Materna” by Samuel A. Ward, and the song has become a beloved anthem notable for its love of our country’s natural beauty and democratic values rather than its militarism.
Tucked away on a quiet side street in Racine sits the LGBT Center of Southeast Wisconsin, and without a doubt you will find inside its doors the subject of my “honoring local heroes” column: Jolie McKenna.
Jolie has been the executive director since August 2010 and, since taking the helm, has done amazing work. The once tiny center has grown by leaps and bounds under her leadership.
Recently, we took our son to West Allis Memorial Hospital for a simple out-patient surgical procedure. Prior to arriving, I had to come out over the phone three times – once to each department in the hospital as they asked for the parents’ names. Questions included, “Do you have the right to authorize care?” and “Are you the legal guardian?” There were also a lot of questions about family health history.
It was a bipartisan spectacle, one served up for Americans craving cooperation in an era of divided government and persistent gridlock.
From one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other, President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress made what seemed like an attempt to work together. Republicans dined at and a few blocks from the White House and the president visited Capitol Hill, each essentially on the others’ home turf. Talk – in public at least – focused on areas of possible collaboration. The phrase “grand bargain” was tossed around as if big, across-the-aisle deals were in the works.