By Nyesha Stone
On National Coming Out Day, this previous Thursday, Mayor Tom Barrett and Human Resources Center (HRC) President Chad Griffin launched a 2018 Municipal Equality Index (MEI) in Milwaukee.
According to a press release, MEI is the only nationwide assessment of LGBTQ inclusiveness in municipal law and policy, and Milwaukee was chosen because of its perfect score. Milwaukee received a 100 percent in HRC’s 7th Edition of the Municipal Equality Index, which assesses LGBTQ+ equality in 506 cities across the nation, including seven in Wisconsin.
A press conference was held at City Hall in which the mayor, Griffin, JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee), Member of the Wisconsin State Assembly Cavalier “Chevy” Johnson, Alderman District 2, Milwaukee Common Council Tony Snell, Milwaukee Equal Rights Commission Megin McDonnell, President, FAIR Wisconsin and Syd Robbie, a transgender Advocate all spoke.
Everyone spoke with passion and excitement about the perfect score on such a fitting day to celebrate. Griffin came to the mic and joked that Milwaukee has “the most beautiful City Hall in the country.” He then went on to explain the significance of this day, the score and the new editions that are being brought to Milwaukee because of this.
He thanked Milwaukee for standing with him and HRC for the equality on all people.
Barrett came to the podium and spoke for a brief second.
“My goal was to say the city of Milwaukee embraces diversity,” he said. “I want to thank everyone that was involved.
And from there, all of the speakers said a few words on the topic.
Johnson discussed how Wisconsin is one of the many states who hopped on board and banned conversion therapy—a practice that uses psychology or spiritual interventions to convince an individual to be heterosexual.
“It’s no reason to allow that action to continue,” said Johnson.
McDonnell also thanked Milwaukee for its efforts in supporting the LGBTQ+ community.
“We had to take matters into our own hands and that’s exactly what Milwaukee is doing,” said McDonnell.
Robbie took the stage and gave a powerful speech. He’s proud to be a part of a city like Milwaukee, he said.
“[Thank you] for showing Milwaukee can be the welcoming city we say we are,” he said.
The press conference ended with questions from the audience.
To find out more about the 2018 Municipal Equality Index visit https://www.hrc.org/mei