State Representative Mark Pocan examines the pivotal moments in his life and how they’ve shaped his commitment to using his elected positions to effect change.
Interest group: Activism
What started as a job turned into something bigger as WKOW 27 news anchor Mitch Weber tells Our Lives why he decided to make the Wisconsin AIDS ride a part of who he is.
Meet Justin Hager, the UW–Madison senior who’s combining faith and activism.
Associated Bank residential loan officer Mike Fumelle uses his profession as his form of activism
Even laws can’t keep religion away from politics. Tamara Packard looks at the struggles created when there isn’t a clear separation between church and state
Saying goodbye to Felicia Melton-Smyth
Saying farewell to Club 5’s founder, Ed Grunewald
Meet Alexis M. Rouge, performer extraordinaire and co-founder of Lexi Ravyn Productions
At 19 years old, Bob Bowers became one of the first cases of HIV documented. Now, at 45, he looks back at whom he’s become after living longer with the disease than without.
Thrown into a sobering reality, in his own words Dustin Smith tells what it was like when he learned he tested positive.
New Executive Director Karen Dotson offers a comprehensive look at the emerging needs in HIV/AIDS prevention and care, and how the AIDS Network is responding to that demand.
Meet Theresa Abel, activist and owner of the Artisan Gallery and Creamery Cafe in Paoli
Running for her sixth term, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin is still an equality pioneer as she talks about her newly-founded LGBT Equality Caucus and co-chairing Democratic Presidential Nominee Obama’s national gay leadership and policy committee.
When a preacher implied murder in his Wisconsin speech, what followed challenged our right to debate. Tamara Packard reviews a Supreme Court decision.
Looking to rebalance your portfolio? How do you contribute to something you feel passionate about? Jaime Zimmerman offers an attractive option.
As the GLBTQ Resource Teacher for the Madison School District, Bonnie Augusta is empowering GLBTQ students while educating faculty and staff on how to support the needs of queer youth.
After surviving years of declining health and a double transplant, OutReach’s Development Director Nikki Baumblatt looks back at the woman who cared for her, loved her, and stayed next to her through it as she tries to say: I Love You.
Past Fair Wisconsin Board President Dan Ross charts the path that he and his partner Charlie Squires took from meeting at a graduate school party into a shared life of activism.
Diverse and Resilient partners with OutReach on “Room to Breathe,” a solution to help us stop smoking. Amber Ault reports.
Caroline Werner interviews Carrie “Chaous” Riddle, a working class grandmother who has dedicated herself to volunteering on behalf of the most vulnerable among us
Years before George Segal’s “Gay Liberation” was permanently installed in New York’s Sheridan Square, the statues’ first home was in Madison’s Orton Park. Richard Wagner celebrates the work of the New Harvest Foundation.
Festival producer Jane Weldon chronicles how Madison became the home to this 35-year mission.
How did our neighboring state 90 minutes west achieve marriage equality? Tamara Packard reviews their Supreme Court’s unanimous opinion.
Meet Ali Dwyer. Through We Are All Mechanics, she is empowering women, one bike rider at a time.
In their own words, Fair Wisconsin Leadership Award winners Kathy Flores & Ann Kendzierski of Appleton exemplify the power we each have to make a difference.
GSAFE Educator of the Year Scott Lone of West Bend East High School approaches his role with dedication and courage.
Wisconsin AIDS Ride Coordinator Angela DuPont reflects upon her involvement with the ACT Rides and what she’ll take with her as she says goodbye.
The past 50 years in a civil rights movement through the eyes and perspective of a Madison native by Brian Powers.
Meet Katie Belanger. As Fair Wisconsin’s new Executive Director, she’s using her experience and resolve to fight the good fight.
Crisis by Mitchell Gold and Mindy Drucker
“After my first year as one of a very small number of ‘out’ students at Marquette, this class was like a life raft,” Jo Futrell said. “To be in a law class where I could speak from my own perspective as a lesbian—that was a big deal.”
And sometimes, love also makes the man. Tyler Driscoll, Michele Burton-Driscoll, and their son, Johnny, show us how.
What a fun way to promote this awesome show, walking around the Capitol Square during a Farmers’ Market in full drag. And that’s exactly what we did—coffee in one hand, show fliers in the other.
The so-called “sex plank” by the Young Democrats led the way toward future legislation protecting gay and lesbian Wisconsinites in 1966.
Meet Ellen Berz. As AIDS Network Board President, she shares her pride in the Network’s ability to address the ever-changing needs of clients, including the reopened food pantry.
J. James Tye III shares the opening sequence of the Out Professional and Executive Network.
GSAFE’s Middle School Program Assistant Monica Adams is ready to advocate for multicultural, queer youth around the state.
Freedom Inc.’s M. Adams makes the case for intersectionality and why Black rights and queer rights are inextricably bound together.
In the second of a two-part series, Caroline Werner delves into the history and ethic of a queer activist family.
Outgoing president Katie Belanger recaps the challenges and successes of her time at Fair Wisconsin on the eve of the organization’s transition to new priorities.
How the LGBT Books to Prisoners project is bringing a bit more hope and community to those serving time.
A fierce advocate for her rights and those of the people who come after, Ret. Col. Sheri A. Swokowski tells the story of how she came from conservative Wisconsin roots to become one of the highest ranking out transgender officers in the world.
Performer Alena Joling, a.k.a. Colin Acumen, found a way to fight the hard fights within the supportive and radical community of drag artists in Milwaukee.
Congressman Mark Pocan issues a rallying cry for the movement to turn its sights more thoroughly on creating safe and supportive environments for LGBTQ youth.
Kristen Petroshius, Cindy Breunig, and Laura McNeil of Groundwork urge continued constructive dialogue and action around issues of racial disparity in Dane County
After the nightmare of losing her child to suicide, Skylar Lee’s mother Joanne Lee is dedicating herself to continuing the work that her son began on behalf of the LGBTQ community that she struggled for so long to understand.
Historian Dick Wagner recalls his part in some of the pioneering efforts to officially recognize and support gays and lesbians through Wisconsin government.
T. Banks with the Young Gifted and Black Coalition makes the case for why queer people everywhere should be standing in solidarity with people of color against state sponsored violence.
Gary Hollander talks about his transition out of Diverse & Resilient, the nonprofit he founded to assist LGBTQ youth, and the exciting future in store for our state’s largest LGBTQ service organization.
GSAFE’s Brian Juchems digs deep into the heart of how good people can and do still harbor biases, and the work that must be done to fully examine and work beyond them.
GSAFE Youth Leadership scholarship winner Cas Bacon is fighting for the rights of a new generation of LGBTQ+ people, starting at home in Fond du Lac.
Encore Studio for the Performing Arts Executive Director KelsyAnne Schoenhaar talks about her own journey of unexpected
discovery at the crossroads of theater, disability, queer identity, and a million other things that make people
who they are.
Sheltreese McCoy, Crossroads Coordinator at the LGBT Campus Center & Multicultural Student Center at U.W.-Madison, muses on life at the intersections of multiple identities, and her work to build bridges between them for herself and others.
An open letter from the Wisconsin Trans Health Coalition on the necessity of community efforts to eradicate state violence against transgender people.
Madison Urban Ministry’s Linda Ketchum muses on what has changed—and what hasn’t—since the death of Tony Robinson in Madison, and where hope for the future of the community comes from the ground up.
Donald Haar describes his journey from personal struggle to becoming the helping hand that prevents our most vulnerable citizens from falling through the cracks of LGBTQ life.
Haruka Yukioka didn’t see faer truth reflected in faer childhood in Fond du Lac, but a trip to GSAFE’s leadership camp motivated faer to build a more inclusive community at home.
Team Orange’s Lora Wilkinson loves to recruit new members.
Anders Zanichkowsky is the hub that keeps all the many spokes of the ACT Ride wheels spinning.
Angie Alcorta follows her lifelong dream of becoming a counselor with a little help from her experiences with Outreach.
Felicia Melton-Smyth talks candidly to Our Lives about transitioning, her AIDS philanthropy work and the most important thing she’s ever done.
Longtime community activist Kathy Flores reflects on pursuing her calling while navigating the slings and arrows that come with being a public face in the fight for equality.
Amy DeGraff-Castro found ways to reconcile and embrace all the diverse parts of themselves through LGBTQ activism and outreach.
GSAFE’s Ali Muldrow pays it forward as an educator to incarcerated youth.
Intimate Partner Violence is an often ignored but, still serious issue, within the LGBTQ community in particular. Kathy Flores of Diverse & Resilient interviews a survivor who is part of efforts to educate, support, and create better resources for those impacted by IPV.
A former 1960s radical hippie activist looks back at the lessons she learned during the last great social upheaval in the U.S., and to how we might grow and move on from past mistakes when confronting new challenges (same as the old challenges)
Our Lives turns 10 years old this July, and this issue marks the start of our year-long retrospective. We take a look back at some of the people, stories, and changes that have marked the past decade of the LGBTQ community here in Madison, the state, and beyond.
On November 11 The New York Times carried the story, “Trump Win Seen as ‘Devastating Loss’ for Gay and Transgender People.” A wonderful column from Jennifer Finney Boylan, a transgender professor at Barnard College, followed. It was called “Don’t Blame Me.” The stories expressed what many of us had hoped…
TransLiberation Art Coalition founder Kaci Sullivan talks creating community and the importance of carving out space for trans and gender non-conforming people
to express and support themselves.
Historian Dick Wagner recounts the efforts by Wisconsin’s chapter of the radical AIDS activism organization to force lawmakers to stop ignoring and stigmatizing people with HIV/AIDS.
A candid glimpse into the life of Our Lives magazine reader Steph Tai.
Publisher Patrick Farabaugh shares the personal journey he’s been on to create a magazine that’s truly representative of our diverse community.
An interview with actress and Wisconsin AIDS Walk Honorary Chair Jane Lynch, by Steve Noll for Our Lives Magazine.
Longtime Indigo Girls member Emily Saliers is embarking on a tour to support her first solo album, with a stop in Madison on October 5 at the High Noon Saloon. Sandy Eichel interviews her for Our Lives in advance of the show.
Milwaukee’s Lex Allen charts a course through struggle, loss, finding his familia, and musical vulnerability and versatility.
Dr. Kathy Oriel strikes out on her own in order to provide quality and compassionate medical care, particularly for those too often left out of the system.
There is power in solidarity between survivors, regardless of gender, orientation, or race. We must not let the movement become exclusive.
James Van Abel found support and direction through Briarpatch’s Teens Like Us group, and now has the chance to give back to the next generation.
U.W. Ph.D. candidate Laura P. Minero draws strength and inspiration for her work from her own experiences as an undocumented, queer Latinx—and from the parents who worked so hard to give her opportunity.
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin President Tanya Atkinson takes a holistic view of social justice and healthcare advocacy, with plenty of love and laughter along the way.
Stacy Harbaugh interviews outspoken sex advice columnist and podcaster Dan Savage in advance of his tour stop in Madison
Connecting racial and environmental justice is all part of bringing their full selves to the table for Brenda Coley, Ann Brummitt, and the rest of the diverse crew at
the Milwaukee Water Commons.
Milwaukee resident James Katherine Carnell offers a personal look at the struggles of transgender and nonbinary people navigating the prison system, and offers ideas for a more humane way forward.
Joseph Brooks, co-founder of Miltown LGBT Families, talks about the group’s origins and why creating a space for LGBTQ parents and kids to come together and share friendship and resources is crucial.
High school student Zoë Wyse discovered her passion for social advocacy and fighting for LGBTQ+ rights during a pivotal writing workshop at the U.W. Her #IFeelSaferWhen campaign is just the start.
Historian Dick Wagner looks back at the history of the early lesbian magazine, The Ladder, and its many connections to Wisconsin.
Gary Tipler explains the vital LGBTQ history of the Wuennenberg-Clarenbach House, where some of the city’s and state’s pioneering LGBTQ lawmakers and movements made their home.
Anti-transgender rhetoric under the guise of radical “feminism” has been popping up in Madison, highlighting issues of bigotry and misinformation as well as what constitutes free speech vs. hate speech.
Photographer Caitlin (Katie) Barry set out to build queer community and provide authentic, sensitive portraiture with her LGBTQ Photo Pop-Ups.
As the new director of the U.W.’s Gender and Sexuality Campus Center (formerly the LGBT Campus Center), Warren Scherer brings to the job a wealth of experience and a dedication to listening and letting youth lead.
Emily Mills reviews the new biography about a transgender pioneer, “Lou Sullivan: Daring to Be A Man Among Men” by Brice D. Smith (Transgress Press, 2018)
Our Lives contributor Charles Wetzel talks coming out as a home-schooled kid in an Evangelical church, and finding a passion for both photography and politics.
Tobacco companies specifically target communities that suffer higher levels of minority stress, leading to higher rates of smoking among LGBTQ people.
Meet the independent group of attorneys behind Trans Law Help Wisconsin, and how they’re helping transgender and non-binary people navigate the rapids of a complex legal system.
Cow & Quince and Lucky Dog Farm owner Lori Stern looks back on a winding-but-thoughtful path that took her from teaching young mothers to building sustainable and safe community centered around healthy food.
Our Lives Publisher Patrick Farabaugh speaks with Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin about their plans in Wisconsin over the next couple of years.
Randi Hagen recently caught up with Sarah McBride, National Press Secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, on behalf of Our Lives—to discuss her new book, working on behalf of transgender rights in everything from health care to faith communities, and more.
Our Lives Publisher Patrick Farabaugh speaks with Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin about their plans in Wisconsin over the next couple of years.
Attorney Tamara Packard explains what the recent Supreme Court ruling in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case does—and doesn’t—mean for LGBTQ rights in the U.S.
Karin Wolf interviews U.W.-Madison student Rena Yehuda Newman, whose new collection of essays and artwork gathers the work of transgender and non-binary artists in an effort to write their own stories of gender euphoria.
When one Wisconsin parent learned his child was born intersex, it set him and his entire family on a crash course with medical professionals, and toward an even greater fight for acceptance and support.
Controversy around Madison Police’s involvement in the annual Pride Parade highlights divisions within the LGBTQ community. Exactly what happened, and is there a positive way forward?
Whether on social media, via email statements, or in-person interviews, Madison’s LGBTQ community has made its various thoughts and feelings known in response to the controversy around police at Pride. We’ve worked to compile some of those responses below, as a way to paint a more comprehsive picture of the ways in which we grapple with an intensely complex and emotional issue—and to show how diverse those positions are.
Wisconsin’s Group Insurance Board votes to remove exclusion for transgender health care coverage.
Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe photographer Ryan Young reflects on the interconnectedness of their Two Spirit and Indigenous identities, and using art to build bridges and pride.
Creative writing helped Rachel L. reclaim the voice she’d lost after childhood sexual assault and trauma went unheard and disbelieved.
Recent news stories have highlighted the plight of LGBTQ asylum seekers, who often face persecution and even death in their home countries, only to experience discrimination and abuse in the U.S.
A major gift will establish a permanent endowment to support OutReach’s work in the Madison area LGBTQ community for decades to come.
The U.W.’s Trans Research Lab is pioneering research into mental and physical health needs and care for transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming (TNG) individuals. Lab founder Stephanie Budge and several of the lab’s researchers weigh in on the importance of the work being done, gaps in current knowledge, and why asking the right questions matters.
Courage House is poised to become the state’s first home and drop-in space for homeless LGBTQ youth. We asked co-founder Brad Schlaikowski the whys and hows of opening the new space in Milwaukee.
An unassuming basement in the Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee is home to what’s believed to be the country’s largest independent collection of LGBTQ zines.
Gary Tipler and Scott Seyforth chronicle the life and historical legacy left by David Runyon, tireless recorder and advocate of the LGBTQ community.
A delegation of local leaders from Madison traveled to meet LGBTQ activists in El Salvador, who are literally fighting for their lives against antagonistic governments and cultural stereotypes.
UW educator sj Miller is helping the next generation of teachers and students create a less binary, more inclusive world for all.
Davette Baker gives some insight into the recent strides made by the Human Rights Campaign to get out the vote in Wisconsin, and how to create a more lasting ground game for a pro-equality campaign.
How local activist and fundraiser Jenny Pressman has spent her life pushing for positive, equitable, social change from behind the scenes.
Charles McLimans, staff, and a legion of volunteers are helping The River Food Pantry expand its efforts to offer resources and a community of respect for Dane County residents facing food insecurity
When he’s not helping manage the Chocolaterian Café, college junior Sean O’Brien is busy fighting for progressive policies and learning the political ropes.
Lack of LGBTQ education especially deters trans patients from seeking healthcare; advocates prescribe continuous education.
More officials and businesses than ever have recognized LGBTQ Pride, with rainbow flags flying across the state and efforts underway to expand rights and support at both the public and private level.
A recent effort by the Trump Administration to deny birthright citizenship to children of same-sex couples has many on edge. Attorneys Michele Perreault and Raluca Vais-Ottosen of DeWitt Ross & Stevens break down what’s at issue and what’s at stake.
(OP-ED) By Zon Moua, Director of Youth Organizing at Freedom, Inc.
Madison has celebrated LGBTQ Pride since the movement began, though it has taken many forms. Scott Seyforth guides us through the many iterations of the city’s festivities and protests over the decades.