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: Law & Politics
As the threat of a marriage amendment grew across our state, so did the voices and hearts of those it targeted. This is the story of one college student, Madison Alder Eli Judge, who heard that voice—and answered: For Barb.
With the amendment passed, Fair Wisconsin’s Eva Shiffrin outlines what steps come next in achieving equality
David Clarenbach sings the praises of a city and a state where anything is possible.
Take a stroll through time to discover some of the hidden history of Madison’s LGBT community. Dick Wagner gives you a guided tour.
Lucia Nuñez comes out as a cancer survivor and explains how her job became more poignant as a result of her diagnosis.
Linda S. Balisle summons memories and weaves together varied life experiences to define what makes a family.
Dick Wagner shines a light on the story of bipartisanship that won early victories for LGBT rights in Wisconsin.
Rep. Mark Pocan and State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa make a joint call for immigration reform that includes LGBT-identified aspiring citizens.
State Rep. Lloyd Barbee broke lines of color and sexual identity as a tireless champion of equal rights for all citizens.
Fair Wisconsin Executive Director Katie Belanger lays out the steps to be taken on the path to equality in Wisconsin.
Representative JoCasta Zamarripa shares what coming out while in office was like, and giving a voice to both the LGBTQ and Latino communities in the State Assembly.
Rep. Mark Pocan details some of the struggles and successes on the road to marriage equality, and the work yet to be done.
Attorney Christopher Krimmer explains the hundreds of marriage rights now available to same-sex spouses who live in Wisconsin.
Fair Wisconsin Executive Director Katie Belanger explains how the recent Supreme Court decisions affect same-sex marriage here, and what the next steps are in the fight for full equality.
Attorney Michele Perreault reports on how the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act will affect LGBT couples in Wisconsin.
Introducing U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02) as the newest regular contributor to Our Lives! Our congressman will be keeping us up to date on what he’s working on in Washington, D.C., and at home in Wisconsin, especially as it relates to LGBT people.
Caroline Werner interviews Sen. Tammy Baldwin about her appointment to the Senate Committee on Aging and their moves to include LGBTQ elders as a vulnerable population in the Older Americans Act.
Do we have the right to same-sex divorce? What can a Wisconsin same-sex couple do if they wish to terminate their out-of-state same-sex marriage?
Michele Perreault forecasts how two big marriage equality lawsuits could play out before the Supreme Court in June.
Fair Wisconsin Executive Director Katie Belanger gives a rundown of important spring elections and endorsements, and explains why local matters.
Wisconsin’s arc of history and the making of a gay-friendly state.
Fair Wisconsin Executive Director Katie Belanger provides post-election analysis and a message for our state’s elected officials.
J. Edgar Hoover and the 1940s war on sex crimes in Wisconsin.
Is a contract to create a family and exclude the birth mother enforceable? Linda Balisle considers a case examining this question.
The 30th anniversary of gay rights in Wisconsin is a time for celebration—and a time to remember.
GSAFE co-director Kristen Petroshius explains why LGBTQ and race issues must go hand-in-hand.
Tamara Packard explores the changing landscape of opposition to and support for marriage equality nationwide and right here in Wisconsin.
Gypsy Vered Meltzer became the first trans* person elected to public office in Wisconsin when he became an Appleton alderperson earlier this year.
Attorney Michele L. Perreault explains Judge Crabb’s historic ruling declaring Wisconsin’s marriage equality ban unconstitutional.
First-person accounts from the public officials who led the way when marriage equality came to Wisconsin.
Fair Wisconsin executive director Katie Belanger gives thanks to some of the many individuals and groups that led the way on marriage equality and have helped shape the state’s and nation’s progress on LGBTQ rights.
Meet the eight plaintiff couples in the ACLUís lawsuit to bring marriage equality to Wisconsin
Historian Dick Wagner illustrates how far we’ve come and compiles some of the less-than-friendly court rulings regarding LGBT people in the state’s past.
Rep. Mark Pocan draws inspiration from the life and work of the LGBTQ pioneers who helped bring us to a time when progress is made every day.
Setting a course for advocacy has lead John Quinlan from Outreach to providing a progressive voice for our community on the radio with “Forward Forum.”
Jen Hitomi Bond is a one-woman, do-it-herself show. Don’t expect a receptionist to take your call or answer the door. Bond does it all.
Hear Us Out: Lesbian and Gay Stories of Struggle, Progress, and Hope, 1950 to the Present by Nancy Garden
After an Ashland student was harrassed and beaten by his classmates, he took his school to task. Tamara Packard takes a look at a legal precedent
Tamara Packard looks at the oral arguments in Wisconsin’s marriage equality case and offers an analysis on all of the appeals pending in the federal courts
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
What keeps your HIV status and other personal information safe from the public? Tamara Packard outlines a statute in place that protects your privacy.
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.
Meet Jason Rae. At 21, he’s the youngest Democratic superdelegate in America
As the reality of creating our own families increases, so do the paths we take to get there. The Law Center for Children and Families reports on a variety of options and success stories.
Could gays present themselves as parents? No, said the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the early 1970s
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.
While demystifying the legal aftermath of California’s Proposition 8 vote, Tamara Packard offers a perspective on our progress.
Years before Harvey Milk was elected in San Francisco, the Upper Midwest had out women and men serving in—and being elected to—office. Richard Wagner tallies our political scorecard.
With a Pro-Fairness assembly now seated in the Wisconsin Legislature, Tamara Packard draws attention to a critical April election.
Part 2: Students Are the Focus
Attorney Michele L. Perreault examines the progress made and challenges that remain in ensuring full parental equality following the victory for marriage equality.
Rep. Mark Pocan reflects on his first term in Congress and the successes and challenges that lay both behind and ahead.
How did our neighboring state 90 minutes west achieve marriage equality? Tamara Packard reviews their Supreme Court’s unanimous opinion.
GSAFE Educator of the Year Scott Lone of West Bend East High School approaches his role with dedication and courage.
The past 50 years in a civil rights movement through the eyes and perspective of a Madison native by Brian Powers.
How can couples best protect their rights to the house they purchase? Tamara Packard suggests specific language to use in your title.
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.”
The so-called “sex plank” by the Young Democrats led the way toward future legislation protecting gay and lesbian Wisconsinites in 1966.
Jaime Zimmerman explains the basics and benefits of a well-designed estate plan.
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.
Scott Seyforth provides highlights from the first year of the Madison Alliance for Homosexual Equality as the organization celebrates the 40th anniversary of the birth of gay liberation in Wisconsin.
Some local companies have established employee resource groups or employee networks that provide a format for supporting LGBT workers and their allies.
A soldier and her wife reflect on their loneliness and honor in the oppressive world of military discrimination.
Marty Fox tallies the progress of incorporating LGBT sensitivity and supportive policies in Madison workplaces.
Freedom Inc.’s M. Adams makes the case for intersectionality and why Black rights and queer rights are inextricably bound together.
Attorney Christopher Krimmer lays out the legal ups and downs of legalized same-sex marriage and makes a case for why it is—and sometimes is not—right for a couple.
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.
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.
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
Attorney Christopher Krimmer explores the tricky technicalities of gay marriage and divorce and the patchwork of laws that impact couples even long after they’ve split.
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.
Attorney Meghan Roed looks at the possible outcomes of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality case and notes how the fight for
LGBTQ equality will not end there, one way or another.
Cardinal Bar’s founder and longtime owner Ricardo Gonzalez recounts his experiences with revolutionary Cuba during his childhood, and his journey toward self-sufficiency and acceptance throughout some of the most tumultuous decades of the LGBT movement in the U.S.
In light of the recent marriage equality ruling and its blowback, Dick Wagner
runs down the history of religious organizations and individuals that have worked for LGBT rights in Wisconsin.
Attorney Tamara Packard highlights the legal clean-up process that remains post-marriage equality, and the other important work that remains to be done for wider equality.
LGBT people still face unique legal challenges in Wisconsin and elsewhere, causing Abigail Churchill to argue for the importance of LGBT-specific attorneys and law firms.
Rep. Mark Pocan is helping to push a comprehensive LGBT equality bill in Congress and calls on us all to continue the fight for truly full equality nationwide.
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.
Attorney Christopher Krimmer explains the present status and future fight to establish a marital presumption for same-sex parents.
Ret. Col. Sheri Swokowski reflects on recent gains for transgender rights within the US military and looks forward to note that the “light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train.”
Alex Hanna explains how access to the various pieces of necessary health care can be extremely limited or nonexistent for many transgender people seeking transition care.
Proper estate planning may not be the most fun part of relationships, but attorney Michele Perreault points out how crucial it is for LGBTQ people in particular.
Scott Evertz reflects on building a career within the Republican Party without hiding his identity as a gay man, working in the Bush Administration, and supporting Bernie Sanders.
Historian Dick Wagner delves into the history of Wisconsin’s groundbreaking sexual orientation non-discrimination law, its shortcomings and achievements, and
the people that helped see it enforced.
Madison Police Officer Brian Chaney Austin relates his reasons for going into law enforcement and how his experiences as a gay, Black man have shaped how he approaches both work and life.
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…
Attorney Emily Dudak Taylor walks us through some of the realistic legal concerns for the LGBTQ community—as well as what’s just rhetoric and rumor—in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential victory.
A candid glimpse into the life of Our Lives magazine reader Steph Tai.
Bills working their way through the Wisconsin Legislature aim to undo local employee non-discrimination protections, as well as other basic rights, and are backed by several area restaurant owners.
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.
Attorneys Michele Perreault and Raluca Vais-Ottosen explain two lawsuits making their way through U.S. courts regarding citizenship and immigration rights for children of same-sex parents.
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.
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.
Our Lives Publisher Patrick Farabaugh speaks with Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin about their plans in Wisconsin over the next couple of years.
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.
It’s been a long and often fraught journey, but Dane County Circuit Court Commissioner Mario White is living his authentic life, fighting for justice, and pushing for better representation in the law.
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.
As Republicans pour record amounts of money into the state for the November senate election, incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin faces perhaps her toughest reelection bid ever. The longtime Wisconsin public servant talked with Our Lives Editor Emily Mills about the race and the issues that are shaping it and why she believes it’s more important than ever to stand up and be counted.