Each year since we introduced our collaborative list with Fair Wisconsin, our number of out and allied couples grows stronger! This year over 550 Wisconsin couples answered the call of Our Lives and Fair Wisconsin to stand up for love and fairness. Together we are sending a message—to our community,…
Interest group: Lesbian
When Teddi Hereid experienced discomfort from her classmates in Mount Horeb, she chose to help initiate one of the most active and enthusiastic clubs in her school. Now, as a freshmen at UW-Madison, she is offering a student’s perspective on the impact of GSAs.
Answering the call for the Reverend Eldonna Hazen first meant reconciling her sexuality with her faith. In her own words, First Congregational United Church of Christ’s Associate Minister talks about why she’s returned to the church.
Lucia Nuñez comes out as a cancer survivor and explains how her job became more poignant as a result of her diagnosis.
Danielle Dresden and Donna Peckett celebrate 25 years of TAPIT/newworks.
Rebecca Ryan and partner Marti open their home to share what’s inside: Creativity.
Jennifer DeBolt’s The Old Fashioned summons memories of classic Wisconsin taverns and supper clubs of old and welcomes us to create memories within the restaurant’s culture of happiness.
Linda S. Balisle summons memories and weaves together varied life experiences to define what makes a family.
Healer/Communicator Asia Voight on how tragedy put her back in touch with her intuition and the healing power of love.
Our collaborative list with Fair Wisconsin.
In June of last year, the United Methodist Church publicly put the Rev. Amy DeLong on trial after she married two women. With it now behind her, DeLong narrates her experience reconciling her two loves.
Claire Strader, Farm Director for Troy Community Farm and Community GroundWorks on learning to feed herself and her community today and for the long term.
In a world full of self-doubt and the lure of distracted living, Lives Unlimited’s Mare Chapman discovered that radical self-acceptance is the path to freedom. Let her show you how.
Denise Matyka and Margaret McMurray found their dream come true in the form of a little girl named Maria.
Nan Mortensen, co-owner of Dutch’s Auto Service, reflects back over a lifetime of building a livelihood and how she and her partner and co-owner, Crystal Rossman, are living their dreams.
A sweet and soothing addition to the Atwood neighborhood.
Victoria Echeverria, aka Elle Machete of the Mad Rollin’ Dolls, looks at a life lived on roller skates.
How Jen Voichick and a lot of volunteers helped start a home design recycling revolution in Madison.
“The Place Where Everybody Knows Your Name”
FairShare CSA Coalition executive director Kiera Mulvey charts her journey from snack crackers to sustainable agriculture, all while finding ways to connect people with food and the folks who grow it.
Babette Wainwright infuses her sculpture work with personal history and passion.
Owner of Harvest and The Old Fashioned, Tami Lax brings her passion and a family farm tradition to Madison tables.
Farmers like to be “Liked,” too.
After years of being ignored by most mainstream medical policymakers and practitioners, progress is being made in many areas—but crucial problems remain for many LGBTQI citizens.
Cathy Noth found strength and direction through athletics, faith, and family.
Colleen Capper runs, swims, and bikes toward a better, longer life and finds plenty of role models in the triathlon community.
Laura Webster details the vision and journey that led her and partner Jill Munich to build their dream home in Madison.
Examining real issues of racial disparity in Dane County is tough but crucial work that everyone, LGBT progressives especially, needs to engage in.
Dr. Sue Gill personally explores how we deal with suffering, grief, betrayal, and hope.
Learning to love the community of ice fishing and shanty culture with Tami Lax.
Through her art, Janis Senungetuk found a life’s work and a lantern to guide through adversity.
Cindy Crane talks about her journey through a life of faith, and the LGBTQ in Faith Communities conference she helped to organize for February.
Madison duo Lion’s Mouth find their voice and their purpose through a unique musical experience
UW student Roxanne Meyer navigated a rocky road to coming out, but found a place and people to call home in the Ten Percent Society.
If only creating a happy blended family were as simple as throwing us all in a blender and pressing “whip.” Instead, it is something more like the art of keeping oil-and-vinegar dressing mixed, requiring constant vigilance and lots of experimentation with how hard, long, and often to shake, not to…
Ann Jakel & Peggy Stormoen introduce us to their four-legged family members and the joys of taking them hunting, too.
Yvette Pino’s “Veteran Print Project” builds bridges between communities by pairing military veterans with artists to create unique and powerful works of art.
Children’s Theater of Madison’s Roseann Sheridan found acceptance and a lifelong passion among the drama geeks.
Beth Racette seeks to explore and reveal the systems of the world through art.
Susan Frikken and Debra Hanrahan talk about their adopted animal companions and why rescuing is important and fulfilling
A selection from “Our Storytellers.”
Diane Schwartz talks about her work with the Madison LGBT Outdoor Group & Madison Area Women’s Outdoor Network.
A look at why gay bars have been added to America’s icons of equality.
Our Lives Copy Editor Kelly Murray dreams of a day when she and her partner are unremarkable to the public eye.
Our third collaborative list with Fair Wisconsin.
Meet the Brady Bunch of the animal world: the dogs and cats of the Kellihan family
Madison Blaze Women’s Football Team members Rebecca Havens and Jessica Lundgren talk about their love of the game—and the team.
Nicholle Johnson, UW-La Crosse Pride Center peer educator, received a Seekardia Writing Award for her poem “Vinegar Kisses.” We are pleased to reprint an excerpt of it here, accompanied by an introduction by the writer.
The 30th anniversary of gay rights in Wisconsin is a time for celebration—and a time to remember.
Jennifer Carlson & Tina Rogers introduce us to their furry family members.
John Quinlan talks with OutReach Executive Director Steve Starkey about Outreach’s plans to host the Pride Parade.
Local performers Kitty La Rue and Moxie Rhodes of Peach Pies Caburlesque helped to bring the second annual Fierce! International Queer Burlesque Festival to Madison this summer.
The essays that players from the Madison Gay Hockey Association write each year show the unique significance of the support they receive by playing in an LGBTQ sports league.
On October 1, 1971, just two years after Stonewall, Donna Burkett and her partner walked into the Office of the Milwaukee County Clerk to apply for a marriage license.
Meet the eight plaintiff couples in the ACLUís lawsuit to bring marriage equality to Wisconsin
As the Mendota Rowing Club approaches its 40th anniversary in Madison, rowers reflect on their time on the water and what the sport means to them.
Meet LezTalk listowner Patti Thompson and moderators Daña Alder and Donna Wess. The trio have created a thriving online community for area lesbians.
Four Seasons Theatre Artistic Director Andrew Abrams introduces us to UW Theatre major Angela Birrittella
After talking with the Madison chapter President Kay Heggestad, the value of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays becomes as real as the love a mother has for her son
When a wedding invitation arrives in his mailbox, Patrick Farabaugh is left pondering about homecomings and bridesmaids
Returning home helps Bjørn Holtan discover that Midwestern values have grown to include our family values at one of Madison’s most endeared traditions.
The road to self-acceptance is full of speed bumps and landmarks along the way. Dale Decker helps you steer clear of wrong turns.
It’s no surprise that minorities have increased problems with depression, addictions and compulsive behavior. Gay people are no exception.
Tim Foster treats himself to some little treasures from businesses in our community.
UW Allies Program co-president Amanda Hunter opens up about the friend that helped her find the courage to step out and stand up for herself.
Meet Emily Harris, the 25 year-old owner of the Wylymar farms in Argyle
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.”
Learning how to recognize when denial is doing more harm than good can be challenging. Dale Decker shows you the difference.
One of our most consistent and visible allies, the Reverend Curt Anderson openly affirms all people at First Congregational United Church of Christ
David Valdes Greenwood goes inside a same-sex marriage to candidly show the ups and downs of domestic bliss.
Emma Donoghue delivers a story exploring how distance and difficulty don’t have to overwhelm a relationship
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.
Meet Terry Halverson vacation planner, social mixer
Hear Us Out: Lesbian and Gay Stories of Struggle, Progress, and Hope, 1950 to the Present by Nancy Garden
Two Madison West High School seniors, Isabel Medina and Miles Walser, are attempting to push the boundaries for queer youth with a Wisconsin first: The Young Queer Sports Club.
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
Her attention to detail has made realtor Liz Lauer one of the best in Dane County
Searching for LGBTQA women and men to model herself after, UW–Madison senior Amanda Hunter finds the importance of visible role models.
Photographer Lois Bielefeld recounts the long and twisting path toward self-acceptance and reconciliation with her family
Are There Closets in Heaven? by Carol Curoe and Bob Curoe
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
Holding service to high standards, Bad Dog Frida adds color to canine care.
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.
In her own words, StageQ Artistic Director Tara Ayres describes how her search for culture and social change lead her across America and to a Madison theater community whose mission shines a spotlight on our queer experiences.
For Tammy Champion, hockey is more than a sport. It is a way of life.
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
Katie Jayce found a home and fulfilled a dream by joining the rough and tumble world of women’s tackle football.
After Cal Schroeder’s mother came out, all she had to do was find the courage to do it for herself.
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.
Diverse and Resilient partners with OutReach on “Room to Breathe,” a solution to help us stop smoking. Amber Ault reports.
While demystifying the legal aftermath of California’s Proposition 8 vote, Tamara Packard offers a perspective on our progress.
Embracing her sexual identity later in life, an Anonymous Reader shares the discovery that helped her feel love.
Local community members share their favorite small town getaways.
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.
Kim Simes and the Family Equality Council work to lift up the voices of children in the fight for marriage equality.
Caroline Werner interviews Carrie “Chaous” Riddle, a working class grandmother who has dedicated herself to volunteering on behalf of the most vulnerable among us
Judge Rhonda Lanford found her true self through the love of families, both blood and chosen, and a lot of hard work
Linda Ketcham examines the ways in which we worry about our children, depending on where they come from.
In spite of struggles at home and at school, Tara Gregorich found the support she needed to come out and drop the mask she’d been living behind.
The Sweet In-Between by Sheri Reynolds
How do you make it in the music industry as an out artist? In her own words, legendary folk musician Tret Fure chronicles her career from piano lessons to Billboard charts.
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.
Emily Mills surveys the diverse family of musicians that call Madison home.
How did our neighboring state 90 minutes west achieve marriage equality? Tamara Packard reviews their Supreme Court’s unanimous opinion.
Amber Ault goes out for a jog with the Madison Front Runners/Front Walkers and finds support for athletes at any level.
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.
The past 50 years in a civil rights movement through the eyes and perspective of a Madison native by Brian Powers.
Dawn Siebert and Ben Monty share how Madison came to host the 2009 ASANA Softball World Series.
Jane Boyd, Outreach’s 2009 Susan Green Woman of the Year, receives due honors her role in forming and maintaining Lizards, a social group for “older” lesbians.
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.
Jaime Zimmerman explains the basics and benefits of a well-designed estate plan.
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.
J. James Tye III shares the opening sequence of the Out Professional and Executive Network.
Meet McGee Steffes of the Wisconsin Wolves Women’s Football team. She and her teammates learn lessons on the field that apply off of it as well.
Sex Talks to Girls: A Memoir by Maureen Seaton
We stayed in hotels bonding with a child who we may or may not parent. We were glorified babysitters during this period, yet we already fell in love with him.
A soldier and her wife reflect on their loneliness and honor in the oppressive world of military discrimination.
Linda Lenzke ‘s poetic prose chronicles love’s past and future.
Travels in a Gay Nation: Portraits of LGBTQ Americans and Something to Declare: Good Lesbian Travel Writing reviewed.
Sarah Newport is an extraordinary, ordinary person who has taken risks to have a creative life and be part of Madison community theater.
In the second of a two-part series, Caroline Werner delves into the history and ethic of a queer activist family.
In the full-contact world of rugby’s rucks and scrums, Greta Slack found an inclusive and supportive family to call her own
Pat Blair found her life’s work and a sense of community in the traditionally male-dominated field of lawn care and landscaping.
Square Wine Company makes the case for the little guy at their Capitol Square shop.
Madison boasts a world-class curling scene, and Lori Karst is proud to be part of the community that fulfills and challenges her every day.
For Shannon Anderson, a competitive nature and love of precision found an outlet through the high-speed world of motorcycle racing.
Rev. Everett Mitchell talks about the whys and hows of his work to support the LGBTQ community within his own congregation, the challenges and misconceptions faced there, and why the work is an important part of the greater struggle for social justice in the African American community.
Sociologist Jaclyn Wypler explores the growing community of lesbian farmers and finds a desire for better connections and visibility.
Leanne Cordisco has walked a slightly improbable but always interesting path from caretaker to business consultant to purveyor of sweet confections and a home-away-from-home at the well-regarded Chocolaterian Café.
Tamara Dinkel chronicles the physical and emotional challenges of battling an aggressive cancer, all while
coming out to her family and making several other major life and career changes.
Margaret Kucera was on track to be one of the greats of women’s basketball before extreme homophobia derailed her career and forced her to find new ways to become a role model to others.
In spite of being warned to find something more practical to pursue, violist Diedre Buckley followed her passion for music to great opportunities and a fulfilling career.
Fox Valley LGBTQ Anti-Violence Project and Governance Committee member Kathy Flores interviews Domestic Abuse Intervention Services Executive Director Shannon Barry about the work they’re doing to support LGBTQ survivors of domestic abuse.
A new historical preservation group aims to protect and share Madison’s LGBTQ past through oral histories and other collected materials. Dick Wagner relays one woman’s story of early lesbian life in the city.
Jane LaFlash never intended to become a crusader for LGBTQ rights, but when her son came out to her at 16, she sprung into action to make sure he had the support needed—and ended up helping to found Madison’s chapter of PFLAG.
Madison College Vice Provost Turina Bakken brings a wealth of life experiences, travel, sports and a commitment to lifting others up to her leadership role at the innovative campus.
Rollers co-organizer Liz Dannenbaum shares the group’s history and why having a gathering place for older lesbians is so crucial—and fun.
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.
Angie Alcorta follows her lifelong dream of becoming a counselor with a little help from her experiences with Outreach.
Author and poet Rita Mae Reese reflects on her tentative first steps into the lesbian community via the conduit of the written word, and the importance of those connections even now.
Caroline Werner looks at the ways we do and don’t serve an aging population looking for stable housing options and the barriers to housing for LGBTQ seniors and those with special needs in particular.
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.
Dick Wagner looks back at some of the efforts, realized or not, to create separate spaces for LGBTQ people in Wisconsin.
Tricia Bross of Luna Circle Farm talks about her decades worth of experience in organic farming, the challenges and rewards of the farming life, and the girlfriends and broke-down cars that helped get her there.
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.
Wisconsin Alumni Association President Paula Bonner reflects on important family ties, barriers broken, gracious mentors, and a life’s work to help create equality and innovation in evolving academic and alumni relations environments.
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.
Simone Justice found her life’s drive in cycling and is determined to see the sport better reflect and reach out to minority communities.
Renee L. Herber & Tamara B. Packard on preserving the history of their east side home and renovating with community support and outreach in mind.
Marge Anderson tracks her upbringing during the heyday of Wisconsin’s manufacturing industry to her current work in sustainability, and how she sees hope for a better world even amid life’s many ups and downs.
Anna Alberici grew up in Madison’s storied Greenbush neighborhood and continues to cultivate its tastes, smells, and community ethic at the Greenbush Bar.
A lifetime of working with and for children of all abilities has taught the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Vaunce Ashby much, including the importance of bringing your whole self to the table.
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.
Faced with family trauma, self-doubt, and plenty of uncertainty, local business owner Natalie Hinckley has found a way to chart her own authentic course through video production, music, and love.
Artist Babette Wainwright offers an intensely personal (and oftentimes gut-wrenching) reflection on a history of sexual abuse and calls for greater unity and willingness to fight our culture’s more toxic elements.
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.
Local stand-up comic Shawna Lutzow found her voice and a comedy cause after coming out.
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.
Hybrid Athletic Club and Bakke Athletics owner Kjersten Bakke was taught from a young age to embrace her curiosity and the unknown, and to be true to herself. These lessons helped shape her somewhat unlikely life trajectory.
Former alder Satya Rhodes-Conway is running to change the face, and the overall approach, of the capitol city’s mayor’s office
How local activist and fundraiser Jenny Pressman has spent her life pushing for positive, equitable, social change from behind the scenes.
Historian Dick Wagner looks back at the strong, and somewhat surprising, gay and lesbian roots of UW-Madison’s French Department.
Orgullo Latinx LGBT+ looks to revitalize itself in 2019, with renewed focus on support, resources for queer Latinx people in Madison.
Dick Wagner’s new two-volume book chronicles early LGBT life in Wisconsin and provides an invaluable resource to future generations.
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.