By Alex Lasry
With more than an estimated 207,000 members of the LGBTQ+ community calling Wisconsin home, LGBTQ+ individuals are our friends, our neighbors and members of our family. LGBTQ+ Wisconsinites are a critical part of who we are as a state, and they make Wisconsin a better place to live and work.
While Pride Month has evolved into what is today a celebration of the LGBTQ+ Civil Rights Movement, it is important to remember it started as a protest against the historic discrimination and harassment that the LGBTQ+ community faced. Starting 52 years ago with the Stonewall Uprising in New York by trans woman of color fighting back against police brutality.
Progress, while sometimes slow, continues to be made toward a more just and inclusive society. Just last year, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an historic ruling by upholding federal employment protections for all LGBTQ+ Americans. While this was an important step forward to provide the LGBTQ+ community more protections under the law, there is still so much more work to do.
We must continue the work to ensure LGBTQ+ individuals feel safe, secure and welcomed as valued members of the community. We must close the significant health care disparities that LGBTQ+ communities of color, much like the broader LGBTQ+ community, face every day. We must reach out to, listen and learn the personal stories of LGBTQ+ individuals around the community as a way for each one of us to be part of and honor Pride Month.
Wisconsin was once at the forefront of advancing civil rights for LGBTQ+ people beginning with the nation’s first ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, education, credit and all public accommodations. We must continue this tradition not only this month, but every month.
Considering the current state of politics, it’s notable that this law was signed by Republican Gov. Lee S. Dreyfus who stated at the time that “It is a fundamental tenet of the Republican Party that government ought not intrude in the private lives of individuals where no state purpose is served, and there is nothing more private or intimate than who you live with and who you love.”
It is amazing how much the Republican Party has changed.
As your next U.S. Senator, I am committed to working every day to ensure our country and Wisconsin are places where anyone can be with whom they wish, love whomever they want and be whomever they want to be.
I encourage every Wisconsinite to recognize and celebrate the contributions of the LGBTQ+ community to our state this Pride Month and be an ally of the LGBTQ+ community every day.