Disability is also a civil rights issue

Written by Jamakaya Friday, 18 October 2013 10:08

LGBT leaders are fond of declaring marriage equality the “civil rights issue of our time.” 

This is rather arrogant, because it ignores a number of ongoing struggles for freedom that are equally compelling and involve the fates of millions of people. Because October is Disability Awareness Month, I will address that struggle. It is really “our” struggle because any of us — due to injury, illness or quirky chromosomes — can develop a disability at any time.

Blending advocacy and protest

Written by Katie Belanger Saturday, 21 September 2013 08:26

One of the key questions that plagues the LGBT equality movement in Wisconsin and beyond is the question about whether it is better to be “grassroots” or an “a Capitol insider” playing the game of politics.

In my opinion, playing one strategy off the other is a red herring that undermines our collective ability to move forward.

40 years of LGBT memories at a glance

Written by Jamakaya Friday, 06 September 2013 15:20

Portrait of former Gov. Tony Earl

In 1973, 10 years before employment rights for LGBTs were adopted by the state, a Dane County judge upheld the firing of Paul D. Safransky by Southern Colony, an institution for children with disabilities, due to Safransky’s homosexuality. Safransky was not accused of any misconduct, yet the judge declared: “We do not think that the institution has to wait for something bad to happen when an employee such as plaintiff flaunts his unorthodox conduct and there is even a hint that he might go farther than talk about it.”

Union busting: Don’t mourn – organize!

Written by JAMAKAYA,
Thursday, 22 August 2013 14:27

Early this year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported union membership in Wisconsin had fallen to just 11.2 percent of the labor force.

When schools get things dead wrong

Written by Katie Belanger,
Contributing writer
Monday, 07 October 2013 09:58

“Valentine Road,” a heartbreaking and disturbing documentary screened at the Milwaukee Film Fest, explores eighth-grader Brandon McInerney’s 2008 slaying of fellow classmate Letisha King at EO Green Junior High School in Oxnard, Calif.

Still exploring her sexuality and her gender at the age of 14, Letisha hadn’t openly identified as transgender at the time of her death. The filmmaker, interviewees and the media continue to refer to her as Larry King and use male pronouns, but I am going to refer to her as she requested in her last days.

Slowing the rush to war

Written by Jamakaya Saturday, 21 September 2013 08:22

Although it may be only a temporary reprieve, I’m glad our trigger-happy leaders have been prevented from lobbing missiles into another Middle Eastern country.

Pro-gay protests at Sochi Games? Dream on…

Written by John Leicester,
AP writer
Friday, 23 August 2013 09:46

Perhaps the most under-worked journalists at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics were those tasked with spotting any protests by athletes. Since Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps and their fellow, far less famous Olympians didn't yell "Free political prisoners!" or wave Tibetan flags, the reporters had little or no meat for stories.

Next February at the Sochi Games, protest-watch reporters should be free to hit the bars early, too. As in Beijing in 2008, chances are slim-to-nil that significant numbers of winter Olympians will kick up a big fuss against Russia's assaults on gays and their freedoms.

Handling bullying and campus dangers

Written by Wes Manko,
Special to WiG
Thursday, 22 August 2013 14:20

Research suggests that one of the best ways to stop bullying – whether it’s verbal, physical or cyber – is to report it to school authorities and law enforcement, if appropriate.

But bullying also can be countered by taking the power away from the bully through ignoring the taunts or making a joke out of them. Although this might not change the bully’s behavior, it can take away his or her power.

Sex-Drenched but sex-stupid

Written by Jamakaya Monday, 07 October 2013 09:43

American culture is schizophrenic about sex: promiscuous and repressed; kinky and coy; salacious, insecure, hypocritical, clueless. We live in a sex-drenched culture that, paradoxically, is sex-stupid. No wonder everybody’s in a muddle.

You’d think the proliferation of sex manuals, sex therapists, sex videos, sex clubs, sex products, sex surrogates, sex drugs, phone and online sex, sex research and sex education would make us more informed and satisfied. A number of studies suggest that it just makes us more anxious and confused: Am I getting too little? Am I doing it too much? How can I tell her/him what I want? Am I too vanilla? Too kinky? What’s wrong with me?!

Manning's brave fight continues

Written by Helen Boyd Friday, 06 September 2013 15:29

Helen Boyd

When Chelsea Manning came out to the world as transgender this past week, the jokes started almost immediately. As Bradley Manning, she had become famous for her involvement with WikiLeaks, for which she was sentenced to 35 years in prison. With the jokes came the confusion, the doubts and the suspicions. Even within the community, people wondered if she was only coming out as transgender to avoid the prison at Leavenworth. People wondered if she is “really” transgender, or just pretending to be in order to avoid the kind of punishment she would receive as a man.

Two leaders building equality

Thursday, 22 August 2013 14:38

Two elected leaders, two different political backgrounds, one common goal – to build an inclusive community for LGBT people.

Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna, a self-proclaimed “fiscally and socially responsible” leader whose endorsement is often sought from GOP candidates, successfully introduced domestic partner benefits for city employees in 2011. Two years later, Outagamie County Executive Thomas Nelson is leading a similar effort at the county level.

Building strength through unity

Written by Katie Belanger,
Contributing writer
Friday, 09 August 2013 12:37

I never expected Salt Lake City to be so welcoming. But when 150-plus queer conference-goers came to town, the city and its people opened their arms to us.