For several weeks I’ve been doing a lot of traveling: Long Beach, Calif., Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. Each trip has been to attend a conference that has offered a unique and meaningful opportunity to learn and grow personally and organizationally. The most meaningful was Creating Change, hosted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, in Atlanta.
Two parts of that conference really stood out for me. The first was an all-day session called the “Racial Justice Institute.” The session’s focus was to help individuals understand their privilege and appreciate the challenge that people of color face every day. We can certainly see those struggles in Milwaukee. Ours is one of the most segregated cities in America, and our organizations reflect that problem.
Something akin to a plague is affecting the once most highly-regarded institutions: universities, national associations, the Catholic Church and now the ultra-conservative Orthodox community in New York City. Lust involving the molestation of children, it seems, is a many-splintered thing.
William K., now 45, is Roman Catholic and a child rape victim. He is gay, and he is angry. He appeared briefly in the documentary, “Mea Maxima Culpa,” which debuted Feb. 4 on HBO. The film addresses the issue of rape and molestation of children by members of the Catholic clergy. William K. is passionate about justice, not only for those who victimized the young, but for those who covered it up.
As we enter 2013, we continue to face the stark reality that too many people are dying or facing a life-threatening disease due to lack of access to health care. The new year provides a new opportunity for all of us to work together, despite partisanship, to address essential health care needs.
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin’s number one priority is to continue to meet our communities’ needs for essential and life-saving health care. Each year, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin serves nearly 80,000 patients with a wide range of preventative health services, including life-saving breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, testing and treatment for STDs and sexual health education.
On Dec. 25, millions of children from around the world woke up and rushed to their living rooms to see what gifts Santa Claus had left for them underneath the Christmas tree. I remember as a child being the first one up, waking up my parents and my brothers before 7 a.m. It was a joyous occasion.
But this year I couldn’t help but think about the families of the 26 people killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School and how they must have felt as they removed presents that will never be opened from under their Christmas trees.
On Feb. 14, you can do something to end violence against women. Join the “One Billion Rising” protests scheduled throughout Badgerland and demand that Congress pass the Violence Against Women Act.
For 15 years, the Feb. 14 V-Day campaign has publicized the atrocious levels of violence against women worldwide. Playwright Eve Ensler founded V-Day to coincide with Valentine’s Day. Performances of her popular play “The Vagina Monologues” and other V-Day events have raised millions of dollars for direct services for abuse survivors and for schools and clinics in countries where girls and women are denied education and health care.
A year ago, my husband and I packed up our lives in Florida and began a 1,200-mile drive north. In truth, it was a move home. I was born and raised in northwest Michigan, and my husband is from northwest Ohio. So it was really a move home to the Midwest. To a people whose values we share.
It’s good to be home. We never could have anticipated how warm the people here have been. You have welcomed us into your homes and into your community. Thank you.
I recently attended the swearing-in receptions for U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan. It was inspirational to be on Capitol Hill on such a historic day. Seeing Baldwin standing behind a podium with the U.S. Senate Seal provided a sense that all of the work was worth it. It gave me hope that the 113th Congress has the ability to move our community forward.
At the Equality Wisconsin holiday party in December, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele challenged Equality Wisconsin to raise $50,000 to increase our efforts to repeal the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Abele promised to match every penny that is raised by Jan. 31 up to $50,000. This generous challenge also provided Equality Wisconsin with a great source of inspiration to kick off 2013.
The new year is traditionally a time for resolutions and possibilities. But in my post-holiday blues, I can’t help obsessing about an underreported story of 2012 that portends ominous outcomes for our future.
Among the most neglected stories of 2012, especially given that it was an election year, was the advance of global warming and the climate crisis. The best sources for clear scientific data about our changing environment are the National Climate Data Center, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Resources Defense Council, which promotes information and advocacy. Both organizations have extensive online data and resources.
While the Internet has brought enormous benefits to society, it should be used with caution. The embarrassing hoax perpetrated on Notre Dame footballer Manti Te’o spotlighted the latest Internet scam of catfishing, one of the numerous hazards facing cybersurfers.
Cardinal Francis George told the Chicago Tribune that “two men or two women cannot consummate a marriage. It’s a physical impossibility.” After that statement, I was hoping for an appropriate response from the queer community.
I’d love to have seen a gay or lesbian couple getting down and dirty before the altar of whatever cathedral the cardinal calls home. I prefer the idea of collective action, so how about a mass demonstration of same sex copulation to bring on the headlines and howls of outrage?
On Jan. 2, we lost another feminist pioneer. The esteemed historian Gerda Lerner, a longtime University of Wisconsin professor, died in Madison at age 92.
Lerner was a leader in the field of women’s history, launching the first master’s degree program in women’s history at Sarah Lawrence College in the 1970s and the first doctoral program in women’s history at the University of Wisconsin in 1980. The UW program is one of the most prestigious in the nation and has produced dozens of exceptional historians who are teaching and publishing important scholarship on women.
By now I am sure that everyone knows Tammy Baldwin is the first openly LGBT person elected to the U.S. Senate, and that she’s the first woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate from Wisconsin. What’s next for our community politically?
Two weeks ago I attended the LGBT Leaders Conference in Long Beach, Calif. The conference, hosted by the Victory Fund, was a gathering of high-ranking LGBT leaders from around the world, but I want to talk about just one of them – Heather Mizeur. Currently a member of the Maryland General Assembly, Mizeur recently announced her intention to run for governor. If she wins, she would be the first out person elected governor in our nation’s history. She would also be the first woman elected governor of Maryland.