November 2020

September 2020

July 2020

May 2020

Finding Trans-ness through the Art of Tease

Mercury Stardust unpacks transitioning through burlesque—an art form centered on body awareness—and the significance of having queer spaces to explore it in.

March 2020

January 2020

Not Yours to Use

After an outcry from the community, east side venue The Winnebago has agreed to change their name. Nibiiwakamigkwe helps us understand the problems with non-indigenous owners profiting by using native names for their businesses.

OPEN LETTER from Vica Steel: Madison Metropolitan School District is currently enacting a transphobic policy

The leadership of Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) is currently enacting a transphobic policy. And yes, it’s about bathrooms. It’s ALWAYS about bathrooms.  Here are the facts: The policy our leadership is enacting is to require that staff and students use different bathrooms. I know, that doesn’t seem transphobic on…

Team Trans Breaks the Ice

When Team Trans took to the ice in Boston last November, Madison Gay Hockey Association (MGHA) made up the largest contingent on what is thought to be America’s first all-transgender team to ever compete in any sport. Past MGHA President k8 Walton recounts what it was like to be a part of that history-making team.

“I Am Jazz” reading returns to Mount Horeb Public Library on February 27th

  What: The Annual Jazz and Friends Day of Readings Where: Mount Horeb Public Library When: February 27th, 6:30 p.m. Why: Because, my loves, this is what power looks like. My darlings, an event coming soon is our first chance in 4 years to catch a hint of a moment…

American Family named LGBTQ best place to work five years and running

American Family again earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s LGBTQ Corporate Equality Index.

A Beacon of Hope

Music Theatre of Madison brings Paula Vogel’s play Indecent to town, giving the spotlight to a heartwarming Jewish lesbian love story.

Loving through Adversity

Lavender Knight and Tanya Mudrick’s love for one another is a bond that has survived and deepened despite everything they have been through.

November 2019

The Education of Mx Steel

The learning curve was steep for everyone when Vica Steel came out as transgender.

September 2019

Early Days

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway reflects on her first 100 days in office, the joy of Pride month, and the work ahead.

July 2019


Christopher Walton’s path to becoming the first gay black man to head the Milwaukee County Democratic Party started early, and shows no signs of stopping.

Mad Pride

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.

No Cops In Schools

(OP-ED) By Zon Moua, Director of Youth Organizing at Freedom, Inc.

Citizen In Limbo… Again

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 LLP break down what’s at issue and what’s at stake.

The Untouchables

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan relates a story that highlights just how much progress the LGBTQ community has made in so little time—and the fight that remains.

We’ve Been Here All Along

Dick Wagner’s new two-volume book chronicles early LGBT life in Wisconsin and provides an invaluable resource to future generations.

Taking art to the streets

Karin Wolf surveys the past and current climate of street art in Madison, including some promising momentum toward more inclusive representation and access to the form.

Para la Gente

Orgullo Latinx LGBT+ looks to revitalize itself in 2019, with renewed focus on support, resources for queer Latinx people in Madison.

A Story Worth Telling

Randi Hagen nearly quit hockey before she’d even started, but the community and support she found with the Madison Gay Hockey Association helped her through her darkest days.

Prism Dance Club reckons with the shadow of Plan B

The new club works to prove that it can provide a better space for the queer community, as it deals with the past and a new incident of harassment. (A version of this article originally appeared on and is reprinted with permission.)

Bursting with Pride

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.

May 2019

A Taste for Celebration

Jessica and Erika Jones of Giant Jones Brewing recount the history of their relationship and business partnership, and why the trials and tribulations along the way have all been well worth getting to where they are now—and where they’ll go next.

Pushing ’Booch

Started from the ground up, Vanessa Tortolano and Alla Shapiro’s kombucha culture is spreading good taste and happy bellies.

Queer Third Spaces

Get to know some of the LGBTQ-owned and/or operated food, drink, and dining businesses in the Madison area.

Do You French?

Historian Dick Wagner looks back at the strong, and somewhat surprising, gay and lesbian roots of UW-Madison’s French Department.

“I’m Not Going Back”

Lack of LGBTQ education especially deters trans patients from seeking healthcare; advocates prescribe continuous education.

Dear Queer White People: Combating Microaggressions

What are microaggressions, anyway, and why are they harmful especially to people with intersecting minority identities? Guest writer Sarah Stouffer-Lerch offers insight and tips.

Letting in the Light

The old Sons of Norway building on the city’s near east side finds new life as The Winnebago, a cafe and venue space infused with an ethos of inclusion.

Committed to the Long Haul

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.

A-Typical Drag

Gretta and Garnet Grimm-Deville have created a wildly inclusive, expansive, and downright delightfully weird performance with their monthly “Hysteria” drag shows.

Taste Beyond Boundaries

Katie Miller‘s new The Good Table shared meal series aims to provide a place for LGBTQ+ people of all ages to gather together and make connections over good food.

Like A Hammer

MMoCA brings a new, traveling exhibit by queer indigenous artist Jeffrey Gibson to their galleries as part of an effort to create spaces of empowerment.

Rolling With the Punches

Local artist and activist Wendi Kent found support to cope with relationship trauma through the fast-wheeling world of roller derby.

Growing Pains

A recent vote by the United Methodist Church to bar gay clergy and same-sex weddings stunned many of the denomination’s more liberal adherents. The way forward may change the face of the church forever.

The Gay Agenda

LGBTQ+ candidates in Madison notched several important wins in the spring elections.

The River Runs Deep

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

What’s Up With Madison Pride?

Controversy, logistical hurdles, strained resources, and miscommunication all combined to spell the end of OutReach’s Pride Parade in 2019.

March 2019

The Radical

How local activist and fundraiser Jenny Pressman has spent her life pushing for positive, equitable, social change from behind the scenes.

Black Arts Matter

The new Black Arts Matter Festival highlights creative works from Black and QPOC artists

Madison’s Next Mayor?

Former alder Satya Rhodes-Conway is running to change the face, and the overall approach, of the capitol city’s mayor’s office

Plan B to close and reopen in March as Prism Dance Club

As Plan B becomes Prism Dance Club, new management looks beyond a simple re-branding of the east side night spot and toward a more inclusive and diverse mission statement.

January 2019

Bringing Equality Back to the Badger State

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.

Queer Eye for the White House

Milwaukee’s Collin Falvey has helped bring holiday queer cheer to the White House for the past four years. He offers some insight into how he got the invite in the first place, and what it’s like to continue the work in the age of Trump.

In the Spirit

Great Northern offers an inclusive and local approach to the craft cocktail movement. Founder Brian Cummins answers a few questions to help you get to know what the distillery is all about.

Dear Queer White People: Cultural Appropriation

In the second installment of our new advice column aimed at answering questions to help white LGBTQ people become more knowledgeable comrades to queer and trans people of color, Dr. Sami Schalk tackles cultural appropriation in language.

The Tax Man Cometh

Organizing early LGBTQ rights groups meant facing down institutionalized homophobia, as well as anti-democratic ideas about freedom of speech and association. Historian Dick Wagner shares some of those pioneering efforts to establish non-profits of our own.

Born to Create a New World

UW educator sj Miller is helping the next generation of teachers and students create a less binary, more inclusive world for all.

Pride Debrief & Update

We checked in with OutReach and the Community Pride Coalition for an update on what’s happened since the controversy this summer over police and Pride.


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.

Looking for Plan C

An incident at a drag show at Plan B has sparked a deluge of long-held criticisms of the club and its new co-owners, leading to serious questions about the future of one of Madison’s LGBTQ venues

November 2018

Authentic Gains

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.

Taking Stock of Health

The LGBTQ community faces unique and ongoing challenges in the quest for equitable health care. What progress has been made, and where do barriers remain?

Pushing Policy

Madison area native Todd Larson went from the Peace Corps to the United Nations to the Obama Administration, helping pioneer the fight for LGBTQI rights within some of the world’s most complex bureaucracies.

Our History, On Tape

Gary Tipler and Scott Seyforth chronicle the life and historical legacy left by David Runyon, tireless recorder and advocate of the LGBTQ community.

Dear Queer White People

Dr. Sami Schalk kicks off a new series of columns that aim to address some of the pressing and oftentimes thornier questions about the intersection of race and queerness in America.

Becoming Extraordinary

Appleton high school student Travis Thor talks finding internal acceptance and joy in coming to terms with his many identities.


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.

Shelter From the Storm

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.

Small Screen Heroes

Take a look behind-the-scenes of Hotel Bar, a new, LGBTQ-inclusive web series that delves into diverse lives—and deaths, and hopes to help put Madison on the filmmaking radar.

Asking Our Questions

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.

Strength and Healing

FORWRD Training co-owner and founder Raquel Sanchez is taking an approach to fitness based on patience, inclusivity, healing, and joy.

Lawful Good

Having experienced discrimination and harassment as a young gay kid in Northern Wisconsin and elsewhere, Jim Chiolino has dedicated much of his career to advocating on behalf of LGBTQ people and other minorities in the workplace.

A Million Reasons Why

A major gift will establish a permanent endowment to support OutReach’s work in the Madison area LGBTQ community for decades to come.

September 2018

Our Senator

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.

Funny Lady

Stand-up comic Dina Martinez found acceptance and inclusion among the women of Madison’s comedy scene. Now she’s giving back with the Lady Laughs Comedy Festival, returning for its third run this fall.

Small Town Charm

Mineral Point is one of Wisconsin’s hidden gems, boasting art galleries, historic buildings, and as of 2017, its own LGBTQ Pride celebration. Get to know some of the people and places that have turned this former lead mining town into a must-visit destination in the Driftless Area.

The Point of Return

Artist Ben Brummerhop never expected to find the key to sobriety and a creative kick-start when he followed a boyfriend to the small community of Mineral Point, Wisconsin.

Why Immigration is an LGBTQ Issue

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.

My Story, My Life

Creative writing helped Rachel L. reclaim the voice she’d lost after childhood sexual assault and trauma went unheard and disbelieved.

In the Season of Shadows

Artist and organizer Alaura Borealis reflects on their ambitious and far-reaching artistic project that spanned venues, communities, bodies, and the infinite spaces of the mind.

The Only Way Out is Through

Mare Chapman offers readers a path to self-love and acceptance through mindfulness meditation practice and insights.

Dare to Drag

Brandon Rounds reveals the origins of Bianca Lynn Breeze, why he loves the Madison drag scene, and best practices for finding your own drag groove.

Taking the Stage 

Incoming StageQ President Zak Stowe was bullied and shunned by his conservative, evangelical community for attempting to stage a play they felt was heretical. Now he’s finding his voice, and living life on his own terms, through the LGBTQ theater scene.

My Gender Is Indigenous

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.

Access Granted

Wisconsin’s Group Insurance Board votes to remove exclusion for transgender health care coverage.

A Community Responds to Pride, Police, and Protest

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.

Pride, Police, and Protest

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?

July 2018

Super Mario

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.

Slow to Queer

U.W. Gender & Women’s Studies Professor Dr. Sami Schalk on the many twists and turns in her life as a bisexual, polyamorous, black woman, and creating the queer life her younger self didn’t know was possible.

Intersex and OK

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.

The Pride of the Apostle Islands

Get away, embrace island time, and reconnect with nature by visiting Madeline Island—the largest Apostle Island in one of the most progressive corners of Wisconsin.

Illuminating Joy

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.

Popping the Bubble

Madison Gay Hockey player Tim Tender shares his experience learning to expand his worldview—and his own sense of self—through his time in the league.

Why Pride Still Matters

Vandalism at our own office, violence and harassment against the community, and increased antagonism from the highest levels of power are stark reminders of the continuing importance of LGBTQ Pride and visibility.

Let Them Eat Cake

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.

Here to Stay

Our Lives Publisher Patrick Farabaugh speaks with Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin about their plans in Wisconsin over the next couple of years.

Fighting for a Different Tomorrow

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.

Here to Stay

Our Lives Publisher Patrick Farabaugh speaks with Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin about their plans in Wisconsin over the next couple of years.

Turning the Page

A Room of One’s Own, Madison’s 43-year-old independent, feminist bookstore, will keep its doors open under new ownership by longtime employees

May 2018

For Love and Food

Oscar Villarreal and Jordan Wegner of Fuegos restaurant talk family, loss, and finding and sharing love through a delicious alliance between innovative and traditional foods.

The Sustainer

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.

Walk This Way

Brewer Tim “Pio” Piotrowski reflects on the path less taken, hiking the Appalachian Trail, and his journey toward opening his own brewery in Madison.

Allies in Law

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.

A Unique Grief

OutReach’s Michal Osier looks into ways traditional grief support groups for bereaved spouses may fall far short of serving LGBTQ widows and widowers by examining our unique challenges and needs.

The Family Habit

Tobacco companies specifically target communities that suffer higher levels of minority stress, leading to higher rates of smoking among LGBTQ people.

The Chameleon

Cedric Johnson explores experiences of being the “token Black kid,” fighting his own internalized bias and the assumptions made by those around him about who
he ought to be.

The Tempering Fire

Beloved east-side dessert shop Chocolaterian Cafe suffered a major fire in February and is relying on the goodwill of friends and supporters to help them survive.

Finding My Voice

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.

Book Review: “Lou Sullivan: Daring to Be A Man Among Men”

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)

System Changer

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.

Laughing Out Loud

Local stand-up comic Shawna Lutzow found her voice and a comedy cause after coming out.

The Oarsman

U.W. Rowing coach Lowell McNicholas built a career, and a strong sense of self, by being out on the water.

The Power of Portrait

Photographer Caitlin (Katie) Barry set out to build queer community and provide authentic, sensitive portraiture with her LGBTQ Photo Pop-Ups.


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.

March 2018

Making History

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.

Building Community

Madison Planning Division’s new director, Heather Stouder, found a passion for building more equitable and sustainable cities through travel, starting a family of her own, and Madison’s unique needs and opportunities.

Publishing Pioneers

Historian Dick Wagner looks back at the history of the early lesbian magazine, The Ladder, and its many connections to Wisconsin.

Recovery from Teachings of Evangelical Fundamentalism

Diverse & Resilient’s Kathy Flores examines the ways in which religion is still used to harm LGBTQ+ people, and offers methods for undoing the damage.

Citizen In Limbo

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.

A Group of Your Peers

Michal Osier surveys some of the area social groups aimed specifically at LGBTQ elders and providing needed alternatives to isolation.

A Place for Everyone

Tavernakaya has become a restaurant and a nightclub dedicated to radical hospitality and inclusivity, using tasty food, diverse entertainment options, and an “ask first” policy of consent to

Lighting the Spark

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.

We Are Family

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.

A Human Dignity

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.

Speaking for Ourselves

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.

Watering the Community

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.

Food Fights

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.

January 2018

Celebrating Your Special Day, Done Your Way

Wisconsin’s LGBTQ newlyweds share their wedding experience and advice.

Compass Rose

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.

An Inclusive #MeToo

There is power in solidarity between survivors, regardless of gender, orientation, or race. We must not let the movement become exclusive.

Public Servant

Attorney Tamara Packard interviews her friend and current candidate for Dane County Circuit Court, Susan Crawford, about her background and what drove her to run for the post.

Taking the Plunge

Ehren Hasz took a leap of faith when she came out as transgender to her partner, Becky Peterson. Through diving, dogs, and love, they’ve navigated the bumpy waters into smoother sailing.

Review of “Self-Made Woman: A Memoir”

A review by Terri Schlichenmeyer of the book by Denise Chanterelle DuBois


Kaci Sullivan gives us a vulernable, beautiful update on his journey into trans parenthood and the birth of baby Pheonix (a continuation of an article that appeared in our November 2017 issue).

Going the Distance

After Shelly Sabourin’s son came out to her as transgender, she sought to educate herself and others and push for equality, using the New York City Marathon as a means to put her money where her mouth—and heart—is.

November 2017

Am I Welcome Here?

Finding little current information, OutReach’s new LGBT Senior Advocate, Michal Osier, is hoping to create a reliable list of LGBTQ welcoming senior care centers.

Mission Driven

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.

The Power of Vulnerability

Former middle school teacher Abigail Swetz reflects on the triumphs and travails of the classroom, how wanting to be a good role model for her students pushed her toward a healthier and more open sense of self, and why she’s leaving the profession to work in public policy.

Breaking Binaries

Kaci Sullivan speaks to being transmasculine and pregnant in a society still steeped in binary expectations and understandings of childbirth.

Well Versed

East High student Daniel Gengenbach discovered a new self-confidence and a community of support through the world of slam poetry, Proud Theater, and an accepting environment.

All Together Now

Vivienne Andersen gives us a glimpse of a new culinary collective aimed at giving women and nonbinary people in the business a place to commiserate, collaborate, and grow.

Friendship is a Verb

GSAFE’s Ali Muldrow tackles the question of how to know who your friends are in the era of Donald Trump, and how to be a better friend in return.

Violence Hits Home

Kathy Flores gives an update on the murder trial of Andrew Nesbitt and offers insight and tips for how we can work to prevent such tragedies, and why hookup-related violence in the LGBTQ community is both an issue of intimate partner violence and sexual assault.

Unapologetic Craft

Filmmaker and YouTube star Bria Brown carves out space for queer, black identity in an entertainment and cultural landscape still largely hostile to her existence.

Family on Wheels

In roller derby, Eddie “Rufhouse Wainwright” Lupella finally discovered a sport that not only welcomed queer people, but provided a needed team environment that ended up feeling more like family.

I Am UndocuQueer

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.

September 2017

A New Lens

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.

First, Do No Harm

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.


Milwaukee’s Lex Allen charts a course through struggle, loss, finding his familia, and musical vulnerability and versatility.

July 2017

Summer Baby: 10 Year Retrospective

Our Lives turns 10 years old this month, and we’re celebrating with our own 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.

Finding A Place on the Ice

Kevin Colelli used Madison Gay Hockey Association’s annual essay to talk about falling in love with a sport that didn’t seem to love him back, and how the MGHA helped him bring his whole self to the table.

Coming Home

Madison Gay Hockey Association’s annual essay gave Ashleigh Baldwin a chance to reflect on rediscovering her life’s passion and finding a place to call home in the league

Our Bodies, Our Selves

Marcelle Richards explores and explains the emerging healing practice of erotic embodiment, also called bodywork, and access to pleasure for all people beyond physical or mental barriers.

Growing, Together

Publisher Patrick Farabaugh shares the personal journey he’s been on to create a magazine that’s truly representative of our diverse community.

Our Readers: Steph Tai

A candid glimpse into the life of Our Lives magazine reader Steph Tai.

QPOC Pride

Reporter Amber C. Walker profiles LGBTQ+ people of color who are movers and shakers both locally and across Wisconsin.

The Children’s Advocate

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.

May 2017

Culture Connection

Tommy Hanna, owner of the Mediterranean Hookah Lounge & Café, recalls his journey through family kitchens, civil wars, coming out, and becoming whole

Holding On to the ‘Hood

Anna Alberici grew up in Madison’s storied Greenbush neighborhood and continues to cultivate its tastes, smells, and community ethic at the Greenbush Bar.

Rooted Together

Ben Bisbach and Cody Egan felt driftless until they found organic farming, a life-work journey that’s taken them across the country and back again.

Living in Code

Nayeli Portillo reflects on living at multiple identity intersections and learning to navigate different spaces without burying her truth.

A Fair Trade

Casey Thompson and Thomas Beckwith-Thompson embark on a new phase of their relationship, expanding it to include ownership of longtime State Street institution Fair Trade Coffee.

Let’s Talk About PrEP

Dr. Kathy Oriel explains the importance and mechanics of medicines that can help prevent HIV infection.

Expectant Caregiving

Caroline Werner talks to Jane De Broux of the Area Agency on Aging about resources available in Dane County.

Wisconsin Acts Up

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.

Seeking New Questions

Alaura Seidl reflects on using art as a means to seek answers—or better yet, start new conversations—around everything from gender to sexuality to chronic pain and memory.

Artistic License

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.

An Experiment In Pride

From New Dehli to Dubai to Madison, Akshat Woodhouse Sharma grapples with what it means to live an authentic life when family and cultures clash.

Change Agent

OD Kimani found a platform for personal expression, empowerment, and social change in the world of neo-burlesque.

You May Remember

Our Lives turns 10 years old this July, and we’re celebrating with our own 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.

March 2017

Becoming One

A trip to their birthplace in Hawaii helped Marcelle Richards find a more whole self, and to at last feel at home in their surroundings


Isthmus editor Judith Davidoff takes the not-so-straight-and-narrow path to journalism.

Conscious Caffeination

It’s all in the family, as Vivienne Andersen profiles the new Café Social and its owners Omar Lopez and Doug Swenson, who strive to bring Madison a truly sublime
cup of joe.

Early Warning System

Historian Dick Wagner looks at the early history of HIV/AIDS in Wisconsin and some of the people who sounded the early alarm about its deadly reach

From Dream to Reality

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.

Legacy House

Renee L. Herber & Tamara B. Packard on preserving the history of their east side home and renovating with community support and outreach in mind.

A Different American Dream

Rodney Lucas, aka F. Stokes, talks about his new documentary Ain’t No Babies in the City and why he felt compelled to tell the story of his sister and her partner’s decision to start a family in the face of massive societal prejudice.

Universal Dance

Madison’s first queer tango community aims to bring a timeless tradition to new heights and a more supportive space.

Ride for Life

Simone Justice found her life’s drive in cycling and is determined to see the sport better reflect and reach out to minority communities.

January 2017

Find Your Rhythm

Joey Jadryev looks back on coming to terms with his sexuality, and how dance and drag both helped him fully embrace his whole identity—and what he would tell his high school self now.

Love, Food, and Memories

Personal chef Jeanne Benink celebrates love of friends and family through our unifying memories of good food shared.

Your LGBTQ Rights Under Trump

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.

Managing Fear in Uncertain Times

Sue Gill offers ways to acknowledge our very real fears without feeding into them or allowing our own hearts to turn to hate in times of struggle.

We Did Not Surrender

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…

Male Call

The first-ever Wisconsin Male Burlesque Festival teased and titillated, all while lifting up the women who pioneered the art form, and queering and challenging standard definitions of masculinity.

The Unexpected Path

Sandy Eichel followed the road laid out for her by others, until she found her calling—and her own path—in a new place and a new career.

10 years of Our Lives

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.

A Survivor Finds Community

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.

November 2016

Building on a Legacy

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.

Gay, Black, and Blue

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.

Unbookable, Unbeatable

Breaking the boundaries of drag performance, Jake Posateri, aka Baby Bear, has carved out a cutting edge, charmingly bedraggled niche for himself in Madison’s
queer performance scene.

We Need a Hero

Local author Alex Bledsoe talks about the newest entry in his “Tufa” series of novels, including a gay protagonist, and breathing life into nontraditional heroes.

Learning for Liberation

GSAFE’s Ali Muldrow pays it forward as an educator to incarcerated youth.

What Difference a Law Can Make

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.

Shining a Light

Jordan Bingham is the Health and Racial Equity Coordinator for Public Health Madison and Dane County, and is one of seven primary people who worked to build the new LGBTQ+ Health Profile to be used to highlight both progress and challenges that remain in bringing comprehensive care to LGBTQ people in the area.

Rise of the Food Carts

While we do have lesbian farmers in Madison, we do not have a taco truck on every corner. Yet. What we do have is a plethora of food carts, and what they lack in ubiquity they make up for in variety and social activism. More than 30 of the carts’…

Just As Strange

Amy DeGraff-Castro found ways to reconcile and embrace all the diverse parts of themselves through LGBTQ activism and outreach.

That Which Matters

Karin Wolf explores the artwork of Bernadette Witzack, whose multimedia works explore what it means to be female bodied, and just plain embodied, in a world that seeks to impose meaning on us.

The Fight for Self

Dr. Shannon Andrews tells her own story of self-discovery and how it helped lead her to fighting to ensure that transgender people have equitable access to the care they need.

September 2016

Milwaukee’s LGBT History

A Q&A with author Michail Takach about the recent publication of his book, LGBT Milwaukee, chronicling the LGBTQ history of Brew City.

To Enclave or Not to Enclave

Dick Wagner looks back at some of the efforts, realized or not, to create separate spaces for LGBTQ people in Wisconsin.

Blue Prints for Ice

Artist Anders Zanichowsky recounts his time working, learning, and making art with ice and sun in the stark, unforgiving landscapes of the Arctic Circle.

The Wordsmith

Through struggles with identity, death, dyslexia, and homophobia, author Bridget Birdsall found a way to reclaim her self, her memory, and her life through the power of the written word.

Activism Within the System

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.

Love, Life, Literature

UW Press Executive Editor Raphael Kadushin reflects on a life of good fortune and world travel, from his first generation immigrant roots in New York to finding the love of his life and “settling” in Madison—and the work yet to be done.

July 2016

Safer Schools, Braver Youth

2016 GSAFE Youth Scholarship winner Keiana James talks about what motivated her to join her school’s GSA and work toward creating a safer environment for all students..

Leader of the Pack

Blair Braverman carved out a space for herself in the hyper-masculine word of dog sledding, finding her own unique sense of self and serious adventure in the process.

Inside Man

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.

A Life, Improvised

anessa Tortolano could have rested her laurels on co-founding and running the popular NessAlla Kombucha company, but the draw of improv and stand-up comedy brought her into a world where laughter was the necessary medicine.

Team Spirit

Madison Gay Hockey Association’s annual essay contest winner Logan Kirwin talks about transition, acceptance, and the queer athletic community.

We Are Orlando

Diverse voices from our community share how the mass shooting has affected them.

May 2016

Eating Mindfully

Healthy eating involves the mind as much as the body. Sue Gill lays out a path to more balanced living.

Soul Food

Historian Dick Wagner explores the voices of gay liberation through the words of Wisconsin poets.

Eat, Drink, Love

Tami Lax of Harvest and The Old Fashioned takes a survey of the history and current state of Madison’s incredible farm-to-table dining and drink scene, including chefs, restaurants, farmers, brewers, bartenders, and more.

Living to Serve

Cargo Coffee owner Lynn Lee details the ups and downs and lessons learned from working in the service industry, from San Francisco in the early ‘90s toMadison in the now, and becoming a role model for his young LGBTQ employees along the way.

Earth Mover

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.

Urban Country Club

We talk to co-organizer Ja’Mel Ware of Intellectual Ratchet about the group’s origins and goals to provide a social and networking group to support Madison’s increasingly diverse population of movers and shakers.


We talk to Katie Kuehl of Cycropia Aerial Dance about how she got involved with Madison’s legendary performance troupe, and why the challenges of aerial performance are worth the learning curve.

March 2016

The Fight for Prevention

Diverse & Resilient takes a hard look at the barriers to effective HIV preventative care for at-risk populations in Wisconsin and ways to achieve better and more impactful outreach to them.

Give Me Shelter

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.

Rolling with Transition

Ray McMahan found his inner athlete and a welcoming home in the sport of roller derby. Now he’s looking to build a space specifically for cis- and trans-identified men to play in Madison, too.

Literary Community

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.

January 2016

Food for Thought

Jeanne Benink explores the ways we develop a taste for different kinds of love.

Relationship Recovery

Alex Einsman explains why past relationship traumas shouldn’t define our sense of self or what’s possible in the future, but that we can and should learn from them.

Because I Love You

Molly Hermann shares intimate details of seeking healthcare as an LGBTQ-identified person and the ways in which our health providers hit and miss the mark in providing compassionate and considerate care.

Love and Estate Planning

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.

Climbing the Mountain

Anna Vogelzang muses on the challenges and triumphs of life as a professional musician, where the journey is the destination.

On Loss and Living On

In the midst of tremendous loss and pain, LGBTQ people deal with both expected and unique challenges when facing the death of a romantic partner. Below, a handful of our community relate their own stories of being widowed in the hopes of helping others better navigate one of the most difficult parts of our lives.

Relationship Recovery

Alex Einsman explains why past relationship traumas shouldn’t define our sense of self or what’s possible in the future, but that we can and should learn from them.

Because I Love You

Molly Hermann shares intimate details of seeking healthcare as an LGBTQ-identified person and the ways in which our health providers hit and miss the mark in providing compassionate and considerate care.

Calling the Shots

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.

Mother Love

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.

November 2015

Be the Change

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.

Care in Transition

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.

Lesbians Who Lunch

Rollers co-organizer Liz Dannenbaum shares the group’s history and why having a gathering place for older lesbians is so crucial—and fun.

School of Life

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.

Willma’s Way

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.

Proud Mama

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.

Preserving the Queer Past

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.

And Baby Makes Three: Marital Children of Same-Sex Spouses

Attorney Christopher Krimmer explains the present status and future fight to establish a marital presumption for same-sex parents.

Hope Springs Up

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.

Safer Harbors

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.

Black Trans Lives Matter: Health Care for All

An open letter from the Wisconsin Trans Health Coalition on the necessity of community efforts to eradicate state violence against transgender people.

Heart Strings

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.

At the Crossroads

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.

September 2015

Serving with Authenticity

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.”

Cardinal Points

Tulin Waters takes another look at the life’s work of her tío—and owner of the Cardinal Bar—Ricardo Gonzalez.

Going Gray with Grace

Caroline Werner reflects cheerfully on misperceptions about the aging process and stereotypes about people of a certain age.

Stepping Up

Therapist and social justice consultant Owen Karcher is working to turn agony into action to support trans and gender non-conforming people through a more mindful practice.

Not Done Yet

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.

The Case for LGBT Law Practitioners

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.

The Work Ahead

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.

Don’t Cast That Stone

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.

The Jazz Man

Music has always been a major part of UW Director of Jazz Studies Johannes Wallmann’s life, and he is determined to see wider LGBT representation within his genre.

Queer Little Theater

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.

Rock ‘n Roll Family

Local surf-rock band Venus in Furs are doing it all, from releasing a new record to having a baby, while blazing a musical trail based on close friendships and rad riffs.

Cuban, Libre

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.

Saving Five Nightclub

The community rallied to save a beloved LGBT space, and now owner Dave Eick is working hard to bring about a brighter future for the club and its wide spectrum of patrons.

July 2015

Small Town, Big Change

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.

The Fight Goes On

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.

Getting Past Good

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.

More to Love

Hallie Lieberman explores and explains the past, present, and future of Madison’s diverse and somewhat unique poly community.

Lifelong Companion

The road to recovery was a rocky one, but Laura Strimpel of Taproot Dog Training found her path alongside an unexpected furry friend.

Glory Days

Dalton Ray took the bold step of coming out as gay to his high school football team, but found himself back in the closet when he went off to college. It was the unexpected support he got from many of his old teammates, friends, and family—even in the often hyper-competitive and hyper-heterosexual culture of men’s sports—plus the ‘It Gets Better’ movement, that finally inspired Ray to take the final plunge to come out fully and finally.

Full Court Press

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.

Finding Pride

In his Madison Gay Hockey Association award-winning essay, Drew White reflects on the internal struggle that brought him to Madison and the community he found on—and off—the ice.

A Life of Service

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.

New Lease On Life

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.

May 2015

Defined by Drive

Henry Gaylord represents a new generation of LGBTQ-identified youth who refuse to be pigeonholed, one way or another, by their sexual orientation.

The Diner Done Right

Classic rock and roller, trendy hipster, or funky bohemian—Willalby’s Cafe is a quintessential come-as-you-are, stand-out diner.

Moving Image

Megan Milks reviews The Wet Archive’s queer take on photography as a changeable art form as well as its challenge to traditional methods of museum curation.

Sweet Returns

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.

A Call for Wider Queer Solidarity

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.

Getting Unstuck

Connie North explores how downgrading expectations and setting boundaries helps maintain self-respect and lessen anger.

Gay and Lesbian by Official Order

Historian Dick Wagner recalls his part in some of the pioneering efforts to officially recognize and support gays and lesbians through Wisconsin government.

Queering the Farm

Sociologist Jaclyn Wypler explores the growing community of lesbian farmers and finds a desire for better connections and visibility.

Behind the Scenes Builder

Caroline Werner talks to a motivating force behind OutReach LGBT Community Center, board president Roger Hansen.

On Solid Ground

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.

A Hero of Our Own

When Jere Foley couldn’t find a mainstream fantasy novel with a queer hero, he set out to write one of his own in Slumberscythe.

Life in the Fast Lane

For Shannon Anderson, a competitive nature and love of precision found an outlet through the high-speed world of motorcycle racing.

March 2015

Radically Inclusive

Baraboo High School senior Catherine Hartup has been an active and driven member of her school’s GSA and was the lone student to speak in support of the district’s new trans-inclusive athletic policy.

Feel Good Wine

Square Wine Company makes the case for the little guy at their Capitol Square shop.

Yoga for All

Instructor Kelly Fox talks about why creating truly inclusive spaces for queer and transgender people—in yoga and in life—requires more than just talk;
it takes mindful practice.

Congratulations! You Are Now Married to Your Ex

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.

Coping with Serious Illness

A Lyme disease diagnosis forced Dr. Sue Gill to rearrange everything about how she approaches and thinks about her own life and what it means to deal with chronic illness

Pushing Forward

Kristen Petroshius, Cindy Breunig, and Laura McNeil of Groundwork urge continued constructive dialogue and action around issues of racial disparity in Dane County

Protecting Our Youth

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.

Not-so-Innocents Abroad

Historian Dick Wagner explores the life and thoughts of Cooksville’s Ralph Warner, seen as an important figure in historic preservation.


Former Plan B nightclub co-owner Rico Sabitini talks about growing up Jehovah’s Witness, being disfellowshipped after coming out, and helping others find the home they need.

Lay of the Land

Pat Blair found her life’s work and a sense of community in the traditionally male-dominated field of lawn care and landscaping.

From House to Home

Paine Art Center and Gardens executive director Aaron Sherer remarks on how his own childhood memories of home helped shape his approach to building a family and career.

Art Is My Sword

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.

The Fighter

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.

The Good Word

How the LGBT Books to Prisoners project is bringing a bit more hope and community to those serving time.

Hit So Hard

In the full-contact world of rugby’s rucks and scrums, Greta Slack found an inclusive and supportive family to call her own

January 2015

Motivated & Empowered

Trans*, Asian-American, young, and queer: Skylar Lee is blazing a trail for intersectional equality in the Madison school system and beyond.

Farm to (Cafe) Table

Jeanne Benink visits the new community supported cafe and grocery Cow & Quince in New Glarus and finds hospitality, farmer direct sourcing, and delicious food.

Embracing Vulnerability

Taught to be self-sufficient and strong at all costs, Connie North makes the case for why being able to see and accept one another, warts and all, is a crucial part of healthy human relationships.

The Long Fight

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.

Congrats! We Can Marry. Now Should We?

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.

Qualitative Research Surfaces on Wisconsin Trans* Youth

Virginia Harrison reports on a groundbreaking study of trans* and gender-nonconforming youth in Wisconsin schools and the unique challenges they face.

Centering Desire in Our Work

The following is an excerpt of the speech given by Kristen Petroshius when accepting the LGBTQ Advocate of the Year Award at the Outreach Banquet this past fall.

A Camp Fantasy

Dick Wagner examines how same-sex love found its way into mainstream press during the upheaval of the World Wars, though it still dared not speak its name.

Welcome to the Dollhouse

This month Plan B cast member Trixie Mattel becomes the first drag queen from Wisconsin to compete on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Out of drag, Brian Firkus shares the inspiration for his alter ego.

Figuring It Out

US and Olympic Figure Skating Judge Robert G. Rosenbluth.

Justice Warrior, pt. 2

In the second of a two-part series, Caroline Werner delves into the history and ethic of a queer activist family.

A Song in His Heart

Despite early setbacks, Bobby Goderich knew his love for singing was worth the hard work and patience that have since brought him to the stage with Madison Opera and beyond.

Ferguson to Madison: A Black Queer Synopsis

Freedom Inc.’s M. Adams makes the case for intersectionality and why Black rights and queer rights are inextricably bound together.

Emotional Landscapes

Photographer Rolando Cruz tackles life’s mysteries, personal identities, and small, intimate moments through his ever-curious lens.

November 2014


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.

Invisibly Queer

Dr. Sue Gill explores the ways in which some queer-identified people end up ostracized or unseen even within the LGBTQ community.

All Families Suffer When Good Food Leaves

Black Earth Meats run out of town by Village Board, but the fight for fresh, sustainable food sources continues

The Privilege of Planning Ahead

Linda Ketcham examines the ways in which we worry about our children, depending on where they come from.

Victories and the Work Ahead

Rep. Mark Pocan reflects on his first term in Congress and the successes and challenges that lay both behind and ahead.

Marriage Equality / Family Equality

Attorney Michele L. Perreault examines the progress made and challenges that remain in ensuring full parental equality following the victory for marriage equality.

LGBT Safe Schools

Part 2: Students Are the Focus

Surrogacy for Same-Sex Couples

Technology’s come a long way for this increasingly popular parenting option, and marriage equality might make the legal side a little simpler.

Finding Family

Judge Rhonda Lanford found her true self through the love of families, both blood and chosen, and a lot of hard work

Out At Last

Madisonian Rosalee Eichstedt reflects on her relationship with her newly out bisexual dad and how it impacted her own path toward self-acceptance.

Justice Warrior

Caroline Werner interviews Carrie “Chaous” Riddle, a working class grandmother who has dedicated herself to volunteering on behalf of the most vulnerable among us

The Revolving Door Closet

Dennis Yadon tells the story of his family and the times when going back into the closet became necessary for professional and emotional survival

Families Connect

Kim Simes and the Family Equality Council work to lift up the voices of children in the fight for marriage equality.

Meeting the Need

The Salvation Army of Dane County faces serious fundraising shortfalls in the wake of bad press internationally, but the local chapter has worked directly with the LGBTQ community for years.

Acting with Pride

Executive Director Brian Wild reflects on the past, present, and future of Proud Theater.

Tackling Life, Head-On

Katie Jayce found a home and fulfilled a dream by joining the rough and tumble world of women’s tackle football.

September 2014

Marriage Equality on Trial

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

Hard Truths & True Love

GSAFE scholarship winner Quintin Smith-Bickham found a path away from despair and toward a living truth that’s helping lead the way for LGBTQ youth in Milwaukee and beyond

Helping by Hearing

GSAFE Co-Director Kristen Petroshius: Let’s Stop Silencing People of Color

The Psychology of Coming Out

Psychotherapist Alex Einsman explains why exploring the hidden layers of ourselves is essential to the process of being out in the world

LGBT Safe Schools

Part 1: Educational Employees Lead the Way toward Harassment-Free Schools

Mother, Daughter, Spirit

Photographer Lois Bielefeld recounts the long and twisting path toward self-acceptance and reconciliation with her family

A Beautiful Canvas

Artist Nicole Bresnik found herself and her purpose in pushing paintbrushes and boundaries

She Comes Home

Singer Tina Gassen, of hip hop duo God-Des & She, talks about the highs and lows of the music business, family, heartbreak, and the journey that eventually led her home to Madison

Mad Props

Mel Marcum found acceptance and a crafty calling in the world of queer theater (and beyond)

Drawn to Art

Up and coming visual artist Maggie Gosselar finds inspiration in the personal connections forged by the act of creation

A Dance Floor of Our Own

DJ Boyfrrriend and the “Loose Cannon” queer dance party have been creating a community built on respect and busting a move

To Be the First

Division I Badger hockey player Ilana Friedman started a You Can Play chapter to help LGBT athletes at the UW and around Madison come out and participate in sport.

Summer of Love

A long sought-after mural project comes to Madison and the wall of Plan B just in time for marriage equality to make headway in the state

July 2014

A Strong Alliance

The Indian Mound Middle School GSA provides a safe space for students to provide support for each other and explore their own personalities.

Sharing the Bounty

Local food options expand with the new CSA Market Share program.

Living Truth

Connie North explores the work of author and teacher Helen Boyd and what it means to love a trans* person.

Flip the System

In order to really address racial disparities in our communities, Linda Ketcham explains why it’s crucial to change the systems that enforce monochrome workplaces.

Stand and Be Counted

Molly Herrmann explains why the new state health report on LGB people matters, and why surveys of the LGBTQ community are crucial to its well being.

Creative Health Care

Older LGBT community members are forcing the health care system to better serve their unique needs.

Our Stamp on History

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.

Jurist Prudes from the Past

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.

The Right to Care

Dylan Bryne recounts her privileges and struggles within a health care system that too often falls dangerously short for transpeople.

Water Rhythms

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.

Love Warriors

Meet the eight plaintiff couples in the ACLUís lawsuit to bring marriage equality to Wisconsin

Firsts: Marriage Equality Pioneer Donna Burkett

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.

Standing On Many Strong Shoulders

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.

Front Line Force

First-person accounts from the public officials who led the way when marriage equality came to Wisconsin.

Victory for Equality

Attorney Michele L. Perreault explains Judge Crabb’s historic ruling declaring Wisconsin’s marriage equality ban unconstitutional.


Gypsy Vered Meltzer became the first trans* person elected to public office in Wisconsin when he became an Appleton alderperson earlier this year.

Why Gay Sports?

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.

Free to Roll

The culture and community of roller derby helped Alex Hanna get comfortable with their non-binary gender identity and kick butt on skates.

Fierce and Fabulous

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.

May 2014

Growing Up with the Rainbow

Nicole Campbell got involved in her middle school GSA to support people like her aunts and to help build a more inclusive future for all her peers.

Eat, Drink, and Be Mary

In a profile of Milwaukee’s rollickingly queer food and entertainment joint, Hamburger Mary’s brings the fun with the feast.

The Tide is On the Side of Equality

Tamara Packard explores the changing landscape of opposition to and support for marriage equality nationwide and right here in Wisconsin.

Relationships in the Grindr Era

Alexander Einsman explores whether digital gaydar really brings us together…or keeps us apart?

The Intentionality of Wedge Politics

GSAFE co-director Kristen Petroshius explains why LGBTQ and race issues must go hand-in-hand.

Pet Project

Dr. William Gilles and the WisCARES program aim to bring affordable care to our furry friends in need.

Hints of What’s Hidden

Novelist Edward Harris Heth and 1950s bromance in the Welsh Hills of Wisconsin.

Sweet Tooth

A look at the sweeter side of Madison’s culinary scene.

A Custard Kinda Guy

Self-proclaimed “custard guy” Michael Dix of Michael’s Frozen Custard opens up about his often tumultuous journey toward self-love and sweet rewards.

Marching With Pride

John Quinlan talks with OutReach Executive Director Steve Starkey about Outreach’s plans to host the Pride Parade.

The Closet

Goodbye closet of fear. Hello to my open closet of hope.

A Dynamic Duo

Two straight actors take on iconic gay roles in Middleton Players Theatre’s Rent and A Chorus Line.

Net Worth

Kurtis Hopp found a tight-knit community and a way to give back in Madison’s volleyball scene.

March 2014

Justice Crusader

La Follette High School teenager Charlotte Detra finds a voice and a cause through restorative justice programs at her school and with GSAFE.

Spirit of the North

Learning to love the community of ice fishing and shanty culture with Tami Lax.

Look for Silver Linings

Dr. Sue Gill personally explores how we deal with suffering, grief, betrayal, and hope.

Our Uncomfortable Truths

Examining real issues of racial disparity in Dane County is tough but crucial work that everyone, LGBT progressives especially, needs to engage in.

Immigration Reform’s LGBT Impact

Rep. Mark Pocan and State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa make a joint call for immigration reform that includes LGBT-identified aspiring citizens.

A Wisconsin Fairy Tale

Dick Wagner shines a light on the story of bipartisanship that won early victories for LGBT rights in Wisconsin.

The Stir-Stick Ranch: Build what you love with whom you love

Laura Webster details the vision and journey that led her and partner Jill Munich to build their dream home in Madison.

The House Design Built

Dino Maniaci and Jason Hoke renovate a mid-century ranch into a modernist urban dream and bring a little East Coast city flavor to the Midwest.

Striking Community Gold

David Rhode helps us get to know the Honeymooners bowling league and the appeal of a Monday night at the lanes.

Searching for Home

Our Lives Publisher Patrick Farabaugh shares how he learned the meaning of “home is where the heart is.”

Acting Out

New Our Lives editorial facilitator and Madison entertainment guru Michael Bruno catches up with actor Richard Ganoung.

Queered Time

Karin Wolf speaks with artist and professor Jill H. Casid about her provocative work, theory as practice, and learning to live her dying.

January 2014

100 Percent Acceptance

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.

Spirit of the Apple

The Cider Farm revives a tradition that provides the perfect sip for winters in Wisconsin.

Island of Inequality

Fair Wisconsin Executive Director Katie Belanger lays out the steps to be taken on the path to equality in Wisconsin.

Grieving Suicide, Healing Ourselves

In the wake of suicide, Connie North reflects on the importance of human connection and the example set by those who live.

Progressive Pioneer

State Rep. Lloyd Barbee broke lines of color and sexual identity as a tireless champion of equal rights for all citizens.

New Lease on Life

Robert Mahr reflects on what it took to bring back a beloved community spot, the Shamrock Bar & Grille, and the outpouring of support that made it happen.

Embracing True Love

A winding road of ups, downs, and big changes has bonded Will Van Roosenbeek and Tara DeLong ever closer together.


Madison duo Lion’s Mouth find their voice and their purpose through a unique musical experience

Finding Her Place

Cindy Crane talks about her journey through a life of faith, and the LGBTQ in Faith Communities conference she helped to organize for February.

The Born Creative

Through her art, Janis Senungetuk found a life’s work and a lantern to guide through adversity.

November 2013

Reaching Out to Bring Together

Vicente Lezama has been a driving force for LGBTQ rights and acceptance at Fond du Lac High School and now hopes to continue that work in the larger Wisconsin community.

If You Build It, We Will Come

The owners of Ground Zero coffeehouse and Cargo Coffee, Lindsey and Lynn Lee, eye their next location in the new Constellation development on East Washington Avenue.

We’re Federally Recognized Now

Attorney Christopher Krimmer explains the hundreds of marriage rights now available to same-sex spouses who live in Wisconsin.

The Trouble with Identity

Connie North explores both the benefits and limitations of our inborn and chosen identities.

Thrilled & Terrified: A Story of Race & Transformation

GSAFE co-director Kristen Petroshius explains the difficult but important process of bringing racial justice into the mission for LGBTQ equality.

Bisexuals Experience Even Greater Health Disparities

Molly Hermman explores the physical consequences of bisexual invisibility.

Marriage Equality in Our Time

Rep. Mark Pocan details some of the struggles and successes on the road to marriage equality, and the work yet to be done.

Were Asked, Didn’t Tell… Much (part II)

LGBT soldiers’ stories are largely erased or forgotten, but some fascinating and important accounts of life as a gay man in the Greatest Generation do exist.

Marketing Love & Acceptance

Diverse & Resilient’s Acceptance Journeys program uses families’ stories to lay the groundwork for changing hearts and minds about LGBT lives.

Out at the Capitol

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.

Open Hearts, Open Minds

The TransParent support group helps parents of trans* children navigate uncharted waters.

Heather & Heather Blend a Family

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…

Connected by Love

For Casey Garhart, the path to becoming a staunch ally for LGBTQ rights meant finding connection in an unusual place—her ex-husband’s new partner.

Embracing the Scrum

Rugby helped Andy Best embrace vulnerability and overcome the anxieties of an uncoordinated, sensitive kid.

Your Kid’s Best Advocate Is You

Single mom Dana Pellebon has been navigating the public school system with and for her autistic son and offers up some tips to parents facing the same prospect with special-needs kids.

Mapping the Geography of Art

Anders Zanichkowsky explores inner and outer terrains through multidisciplinary artworks.

September 2013


Joining Proud Theater helped Adrian Connor find his voice and a calling to help give that gift to future generations.

Happy Guy, Happy Fry!

Steven Lawrence’s Fried and Fabulous food cart creates smiles for customers and business-owners alike.

Big Decisions

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.

Black, White, and Clear

Linda Ketchum shows us why white progressives need to work harder to check their privilege and listen to the stories and needs of their neighbors of color.

Stressing Out

Dennis Christoffersen identifies the things that cause us stress in our day-to-day lives and offers a first step toward finding peace.

A Family Fueled by Diesel

Say hello to Steven Sievert, Philip Keller, and Diesel

Circle of Art

Children’s Theater of Madison’s Roseann Sheridan found acceptance and a lifelong passion among the drama geeks.

Finding His Voice

Z104 radio host Aaron Rogers traces a curving path to chasing his dream of being an out professional on-air personality.

Found in Translation

Yvette Pino’s “Veteran Print Project” builds bridges between communities by pairing military veterans with artists to create unique and powerful works of art.

Sing to Live

Gay men’s choruses across the country, including Perfect Harmony Men’s Chorus in Madison, have provided places of comfort and revitalization for Arthur Durkee.

The Artist Teacher

Max White has blazed a trail as artist and teacher from the queer punk streets of San Francisco to the spiritual reflection of Madison.

A League of His Own

Lee Kampa talks finding acceptance, community, and a place to grow as an out gay man and athlete in the world of Madison softball.

July 2013

Justice Crusader

From his high school GSA to a path toward international and immigration justice, Camden Goetz looks for tools to make the world a better place.

Whole Body

It’s a Whole Person thing, and it starts with simple tweaks to what and how you eat.

The Gay Divorcée

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?

Advocate for the Aging

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.

Getting to Work

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.

Life in a Post-DOMA Wisconsin

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.

Physician, Teach Thyself

A group of medical students are creating kits to help doctors learn about and provide better care for their LGBTQ patients.

Creature Comforts

Susan Frikken and Debra Hanrahan talk about their adopted animal companions and why rescuing is important and fulfilling

A Tale of Two Spirits

What we can learn from the traditions of First Nations people.

Living the Dream

Joey Broyles lives according to a simple, radical code: “Be Yourself: It Will Change Your Life.”

The Artist Philosopher

Beth Racette seeks to explore and reveal the systems of the world through art.

Iron Woman

Colleen Capper runs, swims, and bikes toward a better, longer life and finds plenty of role models in the triathlon community.

Salvation in Sport

Cathy Noth found strength and direction through athletics, 
faith, and family.

The State of LGBTQI Healthcare

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.

A New Sport, A New Culture, A New Community, A New Life

Madison Gay Hockey player Chue Xiong talks about life in a refugee camp, 
running away from home, 
coming out, and finding 
support in a most 
unlikely place.

May 2013

Young, Gay, and Latino in America

Alianza Latina’s Christian Alejandro Real Merino is working to bridge a cultural divide and build up a community along the way.

Balancing the Scales of Justice

Michele Perreault forecasts how two big marriage equality lawsuits could play out before the Supreme Court in June.

Focusing on the Positives

Dr. Sue Gill reminds us that “Where you put your energy, that’s what grows.”

Building Together, Not Apart

Linda Ketcham looks at how ensuring better educational opportunities for everyone also improves support for LGBTQ issues.

The Judge Among Us

One Madison man’s road to Westminster.

A History of Love

Same-sex unions are as newfangled as the chariot or butter churn.

On Wings, Waves, and Quivers

A selection from “Our Storytellers.”

Theoretical Physicist, Priest, Gay

Michael Ramsey-Musolf shows how he built a beautiful life in a paradox.


An accident challenges a nature photographer to adapt and find beauty in a new life and a new lens.

One Fruity Day

FruitFest Festival organizers Corey Gresen, Rico Sabatini, and Liz Tymus talk about Madison’s newest queer Pride celebration.

Tradition Meets Innovation

Farmers like to be “Liked,” too.

Running Man

From Mexico to America, Rolando Cruz found passion and purpose in a pair of running shoes.

Culinary Crossroads

Marcelle Richards looks back at lessons learned and relationships built exploring the Madison food community.

Soil & Soul

Owner of Harvest and The Old Fashioned, Tami Lax brings her passion and a family farm tradition to Madison tables.

March 2013

Health-Care Crusader

James Lehman is working for better LGBTQ health care by every available means.

What’s Making Local Work

Fair Wisconsin Executive Director Katie Belanger gives a rundown of important spring elections and endorsements, and explains why local matters.

Connecting the Acronym

Molly Herrmann looks at ways we can build better bonds between LGBs and Ts, and the need to destigmatize mental health issues for everyone.

Support at the Hospital and Home

Caroline Werner explains the Share the Care program and important aspects of the Affordable Care Act.

Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall

A look at why gay bars have been added to America’s icons of equality.

Eclectic at Heart

I Love Funky’s is a wonderland for the adventurous decorator.

Funny Woman

Dina Martinez blazes a trail through comedy, radio, and gender

Coming Out with the Great Outdoors

Diane Schwartz talks about her work with the Madison LGBT Outdoor Group & Madison Area Women’s Outdoor Network.

Art and Independence

Babette Wainwright infuses her sculpture work with personal history and passion.

Feeding Bodies, Feeding the Soul

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.

Java Cat Coffeehouse

“The Place Where Everybody Knows Your Name”

Home Values and The Habitat ReStore

How Jen Voichick and a lot of volunteers helped start a 
home design recycling revolution in Madison.

Head Over Skates

Victoria Echeverria, aka Elle Machete of the Mad Rollin’ Dolls, looks at a life lived on roller skates.

Dream Home, Real Business

David Waugh and Bob Klebba are pursuing their 
bed-and-breakfast vision on Lake Mendota, restoring a 
historic home while also looking to the future.

January 2013

How Sweet It Is

Danez Smith shares a taste of what Self Love can be.

What Repealing DOMA Means for Taxpayers

Wegner CPAs’ Peter M. Oettinger, CPA, partner, and Audrey Wipperfurth, CPA, staff accountant, explain what impact it may have on married same-sex couples’ taxes.

Our Pivotal Moment

Fair Wisconsin Executive Director Katie Belanger provides post-election analysis and a message for our state’s elected officials.

Our Internal Work

Linda Ketcham, executive director of Madison-area Urban Ministry, launches a column examining the intersections of minority and civil rights struggles in our community.

Love Hurts

Dr. Sue Gill offers suggestions for when things totally, irrevocably, undeniably fall apart.

Sandwich Generation

Caroline Werner celebrates and honors those who are caring for both children and aging parents.

The Kellihan Clan

Meet the Brady Bunch of the animal world: the dogs and cats of the Kellihan family

On, Wisconsin!

Wisconsin’s arc of history and the making of a gay-friendly state.

Caring & Committed Couples List 2013

Our third collaborative list with Fair Wisconsin.

Presenting Lucy Von Cucci

Trina Avalon-Pirahna talks with her fellow performer and current holder of the Miss Club Wisconsin title.

But Words Will Never Hurt Me…

Our Lives Copy Editor Kelly Murray dreams of a day when she and her partner are unremarkable to the public eye.

Serving for a Cause

Madison Gay Volleyball’s Rob Littell credits the league with helping him come into his own.

The Chocolaterian

A sweet and soothing addition to the Atwood neighborhood.

For the Love of Good

The Mad City Sisters just can’t get enough of the stares and questions. It’s all about getting the conversation started.

The Wisdom of Years

Owl artist Clarence P. Cameron owes his success to the 
love and support of his partner, Bob Lockhart, with whom 
he has spent half a century.

Fueling Our Passion, Living Our Dream

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.

November 2012

Vinegar Kisses: A Poem

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.

Sowing the Seeds of Education and Tolerance

Sustainably built Badger Rock Middle School teaches students how to live in harmony with the environment and each other.

Share the Care

Caroline Werner on the state of seniors and caregiving today.

Holiday Cheer?

Dr. Sue Gill offers both a reflection and some helpful suggestions on recognizing and addressing family holiday stressors.

We Are Young

What is the status of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth in our state? Molly Herrmann talks with Anneke Mohr about the biannual 2011 Wisconsin Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

Parental Rights

Is a contract to create a family and exclude the birth mother enforceable? Linda Balisle considers a case examining this question.

Boo and His Dads

Justin Krause & Scott Brown introduce us to their Boo.

Diversionary Tactics

J. Edgar Hoover and the 1940s war on sex crimes in Wisconsin.

Please Don’t Stop the Music

Disc jockey Tim Walters keeps the music—and his dreams—going on and on.

How Buffalo Bill Became My Idol

The Physical Markings of a New Gay Man

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

The Overture Center’s Tim Sauers has given of his talents and expertise to the betterment of Madison’s premier arts center, arts education, and the community at large.

They’ve Got Game—and Heart

Madison Blaze Women’s Football Team members Rebecca Havens and Jessica Lundgren talk about their love of the game—and the team.

Play & Learn

Steve Mendez is helping to change the lives of young people, one adventure at a time.

This I Believe

Glimpse the inner spirit of GSAFE 2012 Educator of the Year 
Abra Bankendorf Vigna to understand how she helps 
LGBTQ teens find their balance and embrace their strengths 
as group facilitator of Teens Like Us.

What’s a Mother To Do?

For PFLAG’s Karen Baker, OutReach Community Center’s 
2012 Ally of the Year, the answer was easy.

From Russia With Love

Denise Matyka and Margaret McMurray found their 
dream come true in the form of a little girl named Maria.

September 2012

I’ve Got the Power

Proud Theater Mentor Gavin Logan on art and its power to connect and transform.

Daisy Chain

Connections are the icing on the cake at Daisy Café & Cupcakery.

Resilience Rewarded

Caroline Werner takes a look at recent developments in healthcare protections for LGBTQ seniors.

You Gotta Have Friends

Tamar Zick encourages us to keep our friendships healthy and strong, offering three qualities to strive for to help maintain these relationships.

Axel, Aspen, and Their Family

Jennifer Carlson & Tina Rogers introduce us to their furry family members.


The 30th anniversary of gay rights in Wisconsin is a time for celebration—and a time to remember.

Nobody Is Helping the Fags

StageQ’s Scott Bennett on the emotionally charged and historically based Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart. This play about the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic is directed by Steve Noll.

Comrades in Arms

Tim Lom found in fellow Madison Minotaurs and other gay rugby teams an extended family. But first, he had to know what he was looking for.

Becoming Trina

Christopher Wilford kicks off a new entertainment column by mapping out his own path to an entertainer’s persona.

The World According to Michael

From private chef to cruise ship videographer, paper sculptor Michael Velliquette came a long way to find his creative niche in the “absurdly awesome.”

Every Diamond is Molded Under Extreme Pressure

Writer Ja’Mel Ware is rich beyond any monetary valuation. Find out why.

A Road Less Traveled

W. Earle Smith has spent a lifetime on a path toward the most rewarding part of his career: as artistic director of the Madison Ballet.

July 2012

The Big Chill

Meet Michael Dix, the man who keeps Michael’s Frozen Custard cool.

What Gay Hockey Means To Me

Each year the Madison Gay Hockey Association invites its members to write about the role that the MGHA plays in building their identity. 2012 scholarship winner James (Sutherland) Parens shares his essay.

The Embodiment of Fitness

What do Greek gods, break dancing, tear gas, and the circus have share in common? They are all mile-markers along Septimiu Teodorescu’s path to the American Dream.

Dharma Talk

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.

May 2012

Christian Right – And Left

When Reverend Scott D. Anderson became the world’s first out ordained clergy in the Presbyterian church he found himself in the middle of religious controversy. In his own words, he takes us through the best and worst of his spiritual journey with grace and wisdom.

Meet Kathleen Falk

As Falk candidly shares with her friend Linda S. Balisle, we have an opportunity to see how this Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate’s personal and political life shaped her vision of a “tough but fair” government.

Best Places for Outdoor Dining

Our community boasts a variety of outdoor dining venues and locales to please every palate. In anticipation of summer, we’ve listed some of our personal favorites.

Feed Your Passion

Journey with Ken Monteleone on his path of self-discovery and expression to learn what went into his creation of the Madison jewel: Fromagination.

March 2012

This is What Sustainability Looks Like

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.

A Seat at the Table

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.

January 2012

Love on Trial

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.

Caring & Committed Couples List 2012

Our collaborative list with Fair Wisconsin.

Choose Love

Healer/Communicator Asia Voight on how tragedy put her back in touch with her intuition and the healing power of love.

November 2011

The Adoption Option

LGBT parents are changing the world one child at a time—through their adoption of children who need a stable home and by setting examples with their intentional parenting.

Good Family

Linda S. Balisle summons memories and weaves together varied life experiences to define what makes a family.

A Family By Choice

Dr. Sue Gill challenges you to develop an inner template for what “family” can mean to you.

September 2011

The Kindness of Strangers

Gay philanthropy follows a trajectory from coat checks and “hat” passing to a multi-million dollar community.

Make It Better — Now

Rosemary Doyle, School Counselor at Northwood School in Washburn County, knows what it takes to make a difference in the day-to-day lives of LGBT youth.

As I Make Art, It Makes Me

Photographer and performance artist Angela Richardson invites us into her world of self-expression and discovery.

Live to Tell

Past Edenfred Executive Director David Wells on reinventing himself as he looks back in order to move forward.

July 2011

Strengthening the Chain

Tiffany Loomis of the Madison Cougars football team reflects on what her leadership role has taught her.

Home is Where the Heartland Is

There’s no place like Quivey’s Grove when it comes to nostalgic, Midwestern cuisine.

Balancing and Bridging

A 1930s study of homosexuals in Wisconsin.

Pursuing The Path Less Traveled

Dean Health System President & CEO Dr. Craig Samitt has spent his life learning how to embrace his own differences and use them to challenge the status quo professionally and personally.

It’s a State of Mind

Team Orange’s Lora Wilkinson loves to recruit new members.

A Gender-y Sort

2011 Fair Wisconsin Activist Award winner and author of She’s Not the Man I Married, Helen Boyd, is our definition of what a trans ally and advocate looks like.

What Gay Hockey Means To Me

Each year the Madison Gay Hockey Association invites its members to write about the role that the MGHA plays in building their identity. 2011 scholarship winner Jeff Godsey shares his essay.

Yes We Can

Diverse and Resilient Executive Director Gary Hollander is leading a charge to dismantle Wisconsin’s LGBT population’s health risks and trying to replace them with a stronger, safer community.

Pursuing the Path Less Traveled

Dean Health System President & CEO Dr. Craig Samitt has spent his life learning how to embrace his own differences and use them to challenge the status quo professionally and personally.

May 2011

Turning a Passion into a Profession

Angie Alcorta follows her lifelong dream of becoming a counselor with a little help from her experiences with Outreach.

The Great Connector

Anders Zanichkowsky is the hub that keeps all the many spokes of the ACT Ride wheels spinning.

Back to the Land

Marcelle Richards talks with local women who work the land and harvest its bounty to share with others as they enrich their own lives, too.

A Tribute to Tradition

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.

Food That Makes You Say, “Mmm …”

A Madison-area comfort food tour with Marcelle Richards.

March 2011

Garden Confessions

Edward Lyon, Director-Horticulture, Allen Centennial Gardens, is not just a gardener; he’s an addict. Here, he shares insight into his passion for plants and provides an introduction to our collection of stories from local gardening enthusiasts.

Our Home

Rebecca Ryan and partner Marti open their home to share what’s inside: Creativity.

January 2011

Legal or Not, Here We Come!

Wondering “why bother” to have a gay wedding where it isn’t legal? Jay Edgar and Joshua Feyen chose to despite the fact, and were blown away by how significant it was—for them and everyone else.

November 2010

Not Sicko

Richard Wagner shares evidence that post-World War II homosexuals proved themselves to be above “diagnosis.”

The State of Our Workplaces

Marty Fox assesses the best and worst workplaces and shares the results of the OPEN Workplace Survey.

Brave Heart

Paul Wesselmann, The Ripples Guy, shares his formula for bringing our best, true selves to all we do.

September 2010

Mr. Forward

Forward Theater’s Richard Ganoung looks back over a life destined to be on stage, and the company he has come to embrace as home.

Still Dancing After All These Years

Danielle Dresden and Donna Peckett celebrate 25 years of TAPIT/newworks.

Karin In Wonderland

Madison Arts Commission Arts Program Administrator Karin Wolf works to maintain the vibrancy and diversity of Madison’s public arts scene for current and future residents.

July 2010

Many Pieces, One Clinic

Jill Nebeker examines the people and elements that came together to make the AIDS Network Dental Clinic a reality.

The Face of Commitment

Jeanne Marshall chronicles how her feminism informed her decision to get involved with AIDS activism.

Turning a Moment into Momentum

Lucia Nuñez comes out as a cancer survivor and explains how her job became more poignant as a result of her diagnosis.

May 2010


Poetry by Bob Leschke

An Archaeology of Posing: Essays on Camp, Drag, and Sexuality

An Archeology of Posing by Moe Meyer reviewed

What Gay Hockey Means to Me

Each year the Madison Gay Hockey Association invites its members to write about the role that the MGHA plays in building their identity. 2010 scholarship winner Amy Barker shares her essay.

Sarah Free

Sarah Newport is an extraordinary, ordinary person who has taken risks to have a creative life and be part of Madison community theater.

School of Fish

Meet Barb Carey, creator of Wisconsin Women Fish—a popular source of education, events, and networking for female anglers from our state and beyond.

Communal Roots

Marcelle Richards explores the community and outreach of the abundant women-owned Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms in Dane County.

Coming Home

Restaurant owner Robert von Rutenberg looks back on his return to Madison and the family business.

March 2010

Decisiones de Hombres

Diego Campoverde-Cisneros hace una reflexión cargada de emociones y vivencias personales acerca del camino hacia su aceptación.

Debits and Credits

Marty Fox tallies the progress of incorporating LGBT sensitivity and supportive policies in Madison workplaces.

Our Apparel: Styling Scott Staples

Personal Shopper Bonnie Raimy on Dressing Scott

When the Stress Becomes Too Much

Dr. Sue Gill looks at alcohol and drug dependence in LGB populations.

Our Town

Local community members reflect on their favorite Madison destinations from grocery stores to lakeshores, from neighborhoods to nightclubs.

A Force to be Reckoned With

GSAFE’s Middle School Program Assistant Monica Adams is ready to advocate for multicultural, queer youth around the state.

“Missing Monona’s North Shore” by local poet Nicky Sund

Poetry featuring local poet, NIcky Sund.

Our Pages: Reviewing Travels in a Gay Nation & Something to Declare

Travels in a Gay Nation: Portraits of LGBTQ Americans and Something to Declare: Good Lesbian Travel Writing reviewed.


The Bartell Theater—home to six theater companies—is a haven of collaboration and cooperation.

Talk of the Town

Meet LezTalk listowner Patti Thompson and moderators Daña Alder and Donna Wess. The trio have created a thriving online community for area lesbians.

The Pink Plaque Tour

Take a stroll through time to discover some of the hidden history of Madison’s LGBT community. Dick Wagner gives you a guided tour.

Capitol Reflections

David Clarenbach sings the praises of a city and a state where anything is possible.

January 2010

Everything’s Coming Out Roses

Out and proud Jake Aebly is hopeful for all those who will come out to a more open-minded society.

Choosing Love

Jimmy Owen reflects on the coming out, coming together journey that he and his parents have traveled.

Our Apparel: Styling Louie Phillips & Brian Schultz

Personal Shopper Bonnie Raimy on Dressing Louie & Brian

Say It with Gear

Amber Ault has an unconventional suggestion for a gift for that special someone this Valentine’s Day.

Our History: Love That Body!

How a 1920s era Madison man enjoyed fine specimens of the male physique.

The Valentine Poems

Linda Lenzke ‘s poetic prose chronicles love’s past and future.

The First Time I Fell in Love

Our Lives Publisher Patrick Farabaugh recounts his first.

For the Love of Country

A soldier and her wife reflect on their loneliness and honor in the oppressive world of military discrimination.

Our Journey to Jackson

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 Mosaic of Pain and Humor

Sex Talks to Girls: A Memoir by Maureen Seaton

Already a Classic

Sugarless: A Novel by James Magruder

The Cultural Advocate

People came expecting Special Olympics, something warm and fuzzy. It was so far from that, dealing with sexuality, rape, and relationships.

Smells Like Team Spirit

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.

November 2009

My Evolution

Antoinette Coles poetically describes how she continually comes out to herself and others.

Homage to Fromage

Fromagination offers an intimidating selection of artisan cheeses in an environment that is anything but.

Dispelling Myths

Amber Ault examines the common assumptions about the H1N1 virus and urges caution.

Our Apparel: Styling Mary Alice McGreevy

Personal Shopper Bonnie Raimy on dressing Mary Alice

Embracing our “Genderness”

What gender role do you take on in your relationship? Your workplace? Dr. Sue Gill suggests we examine if our internal gender matches our external gender expression.

Our History: Brotherhood Makes All Men One

One: The Homosexual Viewpoint, a Southern California magazine from the 1950s, provides a lens into pre-Stonewall gay Wisconsin.

OPEN for Business

J. James Tye III shares the opening sequence of the Out Professional and Executive Network.

The Corporate Diversity Initiative Report

Some local companies have established employee resource groups or employee networks that provide a format for supporting LGBT workers and their allies.

Madison’s Own Fairy Godmother

Michael Bruno shares his theatrical journey with Tara Ayres.

A Novel Collaboration

New Harvest Foundation awards grant to the University of Wisconsin Press to distribute Gay American Autobiography: Writings from Whitman to Sedaris

Gay Firsts

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.

Networking Nutrition

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.

September 2009

Moving Beyond Labels

Every gay person I met told me they had recognized it at a very young age—I hadn’t…

Nau-ti and Nice

The Nau-Ti-Gal serves up casual, waterfront dining with an emphasis on fun.

Therapy Shopping

Are you in the market for a psychotherapist? Jimmy Owen encourages you to empower yourself by selecting someone who will be a good fit for you. Imagine walking into an unfamiliar office and sitting in a strange room for the first time. As you look around, you notice a box…

Come Out to Support LGBTQ Triathletes

Thousands of spectators assemble at Monona Terrace before dawn to find viewing spots along the Monona shoreline for the 7:00 a.m., 2.4-mile swim start.

Estate Planning Basics for Same-Sex Couples

Jaime Zimmerman explains the basics and benefits of a well-designed estate plan.

Our Apparel: Styling Steven Heller

Personal Shopper Bonnie Raimy on dressing Steve

Taking art into your own hands

Tara Ayres explores the world of contact improv, where participants combine improvisational movement and response with dance, music and physical connection.

Our History: “Homocrats” stir up Wisconsin

The so-called “sex plank” by the Young Democrats led the way toward future legislation protecting gay and lesbian Wisconsinites in 1966.

The Diary of Josie Lynn

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.

Love Makes a Family

And sometimes, love also makes the man. Tyler Driscoll, Michele Burton-Driscoll, and their son, Johnny, show us how.

Teach Your Students Well

“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.”

Addressing Religion-Based Homophobia

Crisis by Mitchell Gold and Mindy Drucker

Lizard Legacy

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.

Up to the Challenge

Meet Katie Belanger. As Fair Wisconsin’s new Executive Director, she’s using her experience and resolve to fight the good fight.

July 2009

Keeping it Fresh

Lombardino’s Italian Restaurant & Bar stays up with the times in its kitchen and its causes.

Out on the Water

Slow down a bit, take a breath, maybe dangle your feet in the water for a moment, and you’ll discover this: These lakes have a social life of their own.

Avoid Entitlement Traps

How can couples best protect their rights to the house they purchase? Tamara Packard suggests specific language to use in your title.

Listening and Learning

If you know how to hear it, your body will tell you what’s right. Dr. Sue Gill shows how tuning in to our bodies puts us in better touch with our selves.

Our Apparel: Styling Dennis “DJ” Johnson

Personal Shopper Bonnie Raimy on dressing DJ

Stepping Up to the Plate

Dawn Siebert and Ben Monty share how Madison came to host the 2009 ASANA Softball World Series.

Mineral Point

Richard Melnick creates the first podcast architectural tour in Wisconsin showcasing a town’s living history.

Our History: Early Awakenings and Survival

A newspaper columnist from the 1950s chronicles the hidden life of his friends, revealing that even under-cover gay men found community.

40 years after Stonewall: Pride In Progress

The past 50 years in a civil rights movement through the eyes and perspective of a Madison native by Brian Powers.

Changed for life… changed for good

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.

We Shall Overcome

GSAFE Educator of the Year Scott Lone of West Bend East High School approaches his role with dedication and courage.

The Courge to Act

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.

A Genre-bending Children’s Book

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Greg Harris and the Madison Shakespeare Project

What happens when your passion for language, poetry and theater meet your resolve to demystify Shakespeare? If you’re Greg Harris, you found the Madison Shakespeare Project.

Pedal to the Mettle

Meet Ali Dwyer. Through We Are All Mechanics, she is empowering women, one bike rider at a time.

May 2009

Happy Anniversary

Making the choice to come out let Adam Nelson live openly. 10 years later he looks back at how he did it.

Take Steps to Reduce Debt

Looking for some relief from the stress of the recession? Jaime Zimmerman suggests ways to lessen your debt and keep financial independence.

The Short and Simple

Bonnie Raimy’s tips to purchasing the perfect summer shorts.

At Your Own Pace

Amber Ault goes out for a jog with the Madison Front Runners/Front Walkers and finds support for athletes at any level.

As Goes Iowa…

How did our neighboring state 90 minutes west achieve marriage equality? Tamara Packard reviews their Supreme Court’s unanimous opinion.

Do You Tell the Whole Truth?

Can you see your glass ceiling? Jimmy Owen looks at the facts about what “little white lies” can do to our physical and emotional health.

From Serene to Sureal

Emily Mills surveys the diverse family of musicians that call Madison home.

National Women’s Music Festival

Festival producer Jane Weldon chronicles how Madison became the home to this 35-year mission.

Before Christopher Street

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.

Look What Love Has Given Me

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.

The Music Man

When his love for music mixed with a passion for performing, Christopher Lange developed PianoFondue—a comedy cabaret that puts humor and musical diversity on the center stage.

What Gay Hockey Means to Me

Each year the Madison Gay Hockey Association invites its members to write about the role the MGHA plays in building their identity. 2009 Scholarship winner Max Camp shares his essay.

The Value of Individuality

King of the Screwups by K.L. Going

An Identity Comes of Age

The Sweet In-Between by Sheri Reynolds

Spotlight: Andy Abrams

Four Seasons Theatre’s Founder and Artistic Director*

Men with a Plan

Meet Corey Gresen and Rico Sabatini the dynamic duo behind Plan B, the new Williamson Street nightspot.

March 2009

The Captain’s Table

With winter soon a memory and spring in bloom, the Betty Lou Cruises can again offer the best way to dine and experience the Madison skyline.

A Supreme Moment

With a Pro-Fairness assembly now seated in the Wisconsin Legislature, Tamara Packard draws attention to a critical April election.

Leaping Past the Hurdles

Motivation and realistic goals are only the start of your fitness obstacle course. Amber Ault reports on ways to achieve better results.

Are You Always Leaving?

Attachment Theory helps Sue Gill illustrate how processing our sexuality can effect our ability to build and sustain lasting relationships.

A Thread in Our Cultural Fabric

John Quinlan talks with author Will Fellows about the timeless relevance that helped inspire Brokeback Mountain—the collection of narratives in Fellows’ Farm Boys.

Returning to His Roots

In his own words, David Waugh talks about how he has come full circle from being raised on a farm to coming out and owning his own.

Our History: Don’t Forget the ‘Third Coast’

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.

Our Towns

Local community members share their favorite small town getaways.

If the Shoe Fits

After already establishing a career in footwear, Bernie Fatla found a niche when an idea lead him to create Le Dame Footwear.

A Connoisseur of Wanderlust

Big Trips: More Good Gay Travel Writing by Raphael Kadushin

Long Live a Grand Dame

After surviving the Vietnam War and HIV, J. Patrick thrives in Madison’s theater community.

Setting Change in Motion

Meet Drew, Taryn and Statia, three Oregon High School students learning the value of–and creating–a strong GSA presence.

January 2009

Form and Formlessness of Love

Embracing her sexual identity later in life, an Anonymous Reader shares the discovery that helped her feel love.

The Bounty of Harvest

Home to the Slow Food Movement, Harvest reconnects you to the love of the dining experience, with a passion for local sustainability.

A Case for Diversity

Polarizing the potential options to chose from, Jaime Zimmerman weighs in on the value and risk in asset management.

What Comes After Prop 8?

While demystifying the legal aftermath of California’s Proposition 8 vote, Tamara Packard offers a perspective on our progress.

Quitters Do Win

Diverse and Resilient partners with OutReach on “Room to Breathe,” a solution to help us stop smoking. Amber Ault reports.

Relationship Roadblocks

Are you looking for love in all the wrong places? Jimmy Owen sifts through some potenital barriers that might be holding back your happiness.

What is Love, Anyway?

Trying to describe a seemingly intangible feeling, local author Darwin Ward turns to lyrics to help reveal the language of love.

Our History: Love Knows No Color

After describing himself as “the unhappiest kid in the world,” Michael Adams falls in love and publishes it in the newsletter of Black and White Men Together.

Finding Their Common Voice

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.

Dear Cris

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.

Sharing the Love

The recipe to chocolatier Gail Ambrosius’ success, Jill Nebeker finds, comes from caring as much for her team as she does her customers and chocolates.

The Path Back

Recovering from heartbreak, Rob Vogel looks at how he moved beyond it and what it took to open himself up again.

As Fiction Becomes Fact

Homecoming by Nell Stark

There’s No Place Like Home

Meet Queer Shorts’ brainchild, Katy Conley.

A Derby Diva

Meet Rae Kyritsi, the lass putting the sass into her Mad Rollin’ Dolls alter ego, Sassafrass.

November 2008

My Moms and Me

After Cal Schroeder’s mother came out, all she had to do was find the courage to do it for herself.

Another Kind of Childcare

As your family planning begins, Jaime Zimmerman suggests opening a custodial account to protect your future child’s financial health.

Handle With Care

Family planning necessitates a lot of time and consideration. Michele Perreault suggests beginning with learning about who you’ll hire to help.

‘Tis the Season

With winter returning and hours of sunlight on the decline, Dale Decker offers some advice on how to cope through seasonal depression.

The Teachers’ Teacher

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.

Our History: How Far We’ve Come…

Could gays present themselves as parents? No, said the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the early 1970s

Fatherhood Realized

Wisconsin Rainbow Families’ Vance Skinner and Brendan Barrett outline the evolution of their identities and what lead to their desire to have children.

The Path to Parenting

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.

In Search of Zen

Proselytizing from a queer perspective, academic Michael Sweet, ponders the draw to Buddhist principals that LGBT people feel when searching for serenity and a spiritual path.

Made in Canada

For Tammy Champion, hockey is more than a sport. It is a way of life.

What Does it Mean to be a Man?

Becoming Alec by Darwin Ward and Beyond Masculinity: Essays by Queer Men on Gender and Politics by Trevor Hoppe

Hope Rising

Meet Jason Rae. At 21, he’s the youngest Democratic superdelegate in America

September 2008

How Her Jouney Begins

For Daun Johnston, the road less traveled leads through Madison and ultimately to her own personal truth.

The Value of Charity

Looking to rebalance your portfolio? How do you contribute to something you feel passionate about? Jaime Zimmerman offers an attractive option.

When Hate Speaks Out

When a preacher implied murder in his Wisconsin speech, what followed challenged our right to debate. Tamara Packard reviews a Supreme Court decision.

A Change of Script

Is theater a metaphor for life? Dale Decker shows how useful it can be sometimes to rewrite a rehearsed behavior.

Our History: Mainstream Crossdressing

In the 1890s, the UW–Madison Haresfoot Club brought gender-bending into vogue.

Artist Profiles: A spotlight of area talent on local stages

Learn about some of the area’s local talent!

The Stages of Her Life

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.

Our Candle in Congress

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.

The Literary Legacy

Crafting quite possibly the most distinctive collection of gay poetry has been a lifetime’s work for Michael Bemis. In his own words, he explains the value in gifting it to the University of Wisconsin’s Special Collections Library.

Getting Beyond Borders

Triathlete Amber Ault is competing for a cause

Candy is a Fun Bon-Bon

Candy Everybody Wants by Josh Killmer-Purcell

Precisely Placed Wit

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

Avenue Q Meets StageQ

What happens when the Artistic Director of Madison’s queer theater troupe talks with Rod, Avenue Q’s investment banker?

Art’s Able Advocate

Meet Theresa Abel, activist and owner of the Artisan Gallery and Creamery Cafe in Paoli

July 2008

I Am Strong

Zachariah Strong comes out about identity, being himself, and the strength it takes to resist labels.

Blue Plate Specials

Preserving the great diner tradition while offering a variety of healthier options, Monty’s Blue Plate Diner knows how to liven up the classics.

The Investment Equation

What are the initial steps to creating a financial future? Where do you start? Jaime Zimmerman shows how to take stock of your current finances.

An Indecent Disclosure

What keeps your HIV status and other personal information safe from the public? Tamara Packard outlines a statute in place that protects your privacy.

In Times of Grief

Are there manageable ways to make it through losing someone close? After our recent losses, Dale Decker offers methods to help cope.

The Status of HIV

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.

The Test

Thrown into a sobering reality, in his own words Dustin Smith tells what it was like when he learned he tested positive.

A Pirate’s Crusade

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.

Where the Good Dogs Go

Holding service to high standards, Bad Dog Frida adds color to canine care.

Welcome to Planet Madison

After years in California, moving to Wisconsin left Mike Meholic in culture shock and unable to identify gay life in the Midwest. Then, his search led to a revelation.

Life is a Cabaret

Meet Alexis M. Rouge, performer extraordinaire and co-founder of Lexi Ravyn Productions

Farewell: In Appreciation of His Vision

Saying farewell to Club 5’s founder, Ed Grunewald

Farewell: In Loving Memory of Felicia Melton-Smyth

Saying goodbye to Felicia Melton-Smyth

May 2008

Another Path to Happiness

What can you do if the traditional forms of happiness feel beyond your reach? Dale Decker suggests ways to create the presence of meaning

Faith and the First Amendment

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

‘Peace’ of Mind

Linking her spiritual journey and her trans journey, Heather Field uses a faith community to find serenity in living her personal truth

Home is Where His Heart is

Associated Bank residential loan officer Mike Fumelle uses his profession as his form of activism

The Paths We Least Expect

The untimely death of his son, followed by his wife, leaves Roy Lavery questioning love, faith and sexuality as he searches for answers outside of the Latter-Day Saints.

Mending the Ties that Bind

Are There Closets in Heaven? by Carol Curoe and Bob Curoe

Wild for Theater

A look at Proud Theatre’s Artistic Director

A Man on a Mission

Meet Justin Hager, the UW–Madison senior who’s combining faith and activism.

Coming Out of Denial

Brenda Farabaugh opens up about how she first reacted when her son Patrick came out to her, and where she is at with it now.

The Civil Servant

Over the past two decades, Steve Starkey has built a professional career in community service. In 2006 he began using that experience to steer OutReach as it’s Executive Director.

Her Path to the Pulpit

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.

Finding Your Faith

Taking inventory of the local faith-based groups and resources, Patrick Erwin sets out to find the shape “Open and Affirming” takes in our community

March 2008

A Seafood Smorgasbord

The Mariner’s Inn is defining destination dining in Madison

Building Body Confidence

Learning how to understand and love your body image is often challenging. Dale Decker offers solutions that promote better acceptance.

Our Gay Greats

Searching for LGBTQA women and men to model herself after, UW–Madison senior Amanda Hunter finds the importance of visible role models.

A Lifeline that Understands

Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, & Other Outlaws by Kate Bornstein

A Journey Through Identity

Like Son by Felicia Luna Lemus

What Makes a House a Home

Her attention to detail has made realtor Liz Lauer one of the best in Dane County

My Outings

Recounting the many different ways we come out over the years, Stephen Calvert looks back on his most important two.

Challenging Sex Stereotypes

With gender identity/expression dropped from ENDA, Tamara Packard helps find the resources that are available to transgendered and gender variant people.

A Place for Us

A radical idea with vision opened the doors to A Room of One’s Own feminist bookstore over 33 years ago. Gretchen Treu chronicles how that vision has persevered, and the sanctuary Room’s walls still offer

A Sense of Place

After years spent searching for somewhere to belong, Eri Madder discovers how that quest—and owning an authentic life—leads back to a realization about self-acceptance

Compassionate Camper

Meet Cass Marie Downing, hostess of AIDS Network’s Mad Camp Bingo

Living With Gender

UW-Madison associate professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, A. Finn Enke examines the roles that gender expression have layered into our society and how they affect our own gendered identities

January 2008

Who I Am Today

UW-Madison student Charlie Martin found his unexpected confidence after given a kick out of the closet

A Taste of the Exotic

Hookah dips Madison cuisine into the Mediterranean

Romancing State Street

Recent Milwaukee transplant Robert Leschke finds his home in our cultural core.

Holding Schools Accountable

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

Changing the Game

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.

A Glimpse at the Future

Wide Awake by David Levithan

A Walk Through Time

Hear Us Out: Lesbian and Gay Stories of Struggle, Progress, and Hope, 1950 to the Present by Nancy Garden

A Reason to Smile

On Madison’s East side, Tamim Sifri uses professionalism and compassion to help care for his patients.

Oh, the Places He Goes!

Meet Terry Halverson vacation planner, social mixer

Better Late Than Never

Getting a later start on building your own life creates some unique challenges. Dale Decker offers a few ways to handle a delayed adolescence

One School’s SAGA

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.

Making Schools GSAFE

Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools Executive Director Cindy Crane offers a comprehensive look inside the climate of our schools and how GSA programs are shaping systemic change for our entire community

Young and Homeless, Here

As the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force releases an alarming report on homeless LGBT youth, Our Lives discovers its affect on our own community

November 2007

“Old Fashioned” Wisconsin Pride

As it turns out, Wisconsin Cuisine is not actually an oxymoron.

Dealing with the Deuces

In the wake of the marriage amendment, Dale Decker examines how shame can prevent that “personal connection” necessary for creating change.

Rolling on the River

Twenty minutes northwest of Madison, nature, art and history combine to motivate Jody Kapp to be a pioneer—not a settler.

Community Law for the Community

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.

Landing on Solid Ground

Emma Donoghue delivers a story exploring how distance and difficulty don’t have to overwhelm a relationship

Happily Ever After

David Valdes Greenwood goes inside a same-sex marriage to candidly show the ups and downs of domestic bliss.

Connecting Through Faith

One of our most consistent and visible allies, the Reverend Curt Anderson openly affirms all people at First Congregational United Church of Christ

Nature vs. Nurture

Relying on reason to rationalize his own journey, Kevin Romero discovers how life doesn’t always follow a simple science.

Growing Together

Richard Kilmer and Tim Spires show how respect, care, and commitment can create a relationship rich with love and quality time spent together

Still Fighting for a Fair Wisconsin

With the amendment passed, Fair Wisconsin’s Eva Shiffrin outlines what steps come next in achieving equality

For Barb

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.

The Dancing Queen

Meet Liz Tymus, the mind behind Madison’s iQ

September 2007

Un-Covering Ourselves & Testosterone Author Visits Madison

Kenji Yoshiko explores the ways all minorities mask their identities to assume social roles in his new book, Covering & Max Wolf Valerio brings his journey from female-to-male to life when he stops by A Room of One’s Own to talk about his book, The Testosterone Files

A Needle in the Haystack

Meet Emily Harris, the 25 year-old owner of the Wylymar farms in Argyle

Understanding Denial

Learning how to recognize when denial is doing more harm than good can be challenging. Dale Decker shows you the difference.

Along the Water’s Edge

When searching for balance and serenity, Jill Nebeker finds it along the urban shores of Lake Monona where Williamson Street meets downtown.

Dog Day Heaven

Couple Dino Maniaci and Jason Hoke show your canine companions a level of care, understanding and style at Spa Woof that brings new meaning to “gone to the dogs.”

Forward Thinking

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.”

A Needle in the Haystack

Meet Emily Harris, the 25 year-old owner of the Wylymar farms in Argyle

Dear Mom

Coming to terms with her mother’s recent death helps Paula Orton understand that life is too short to be spent hiding who she is.

Finding Her Rhythm

With the first anniversary of Women Who Want to Dance approaching, organizer Susana Torres talks to Our Lives about coming here from Mexico, beginning to laugh, and Women Across Wisconsin

I Am Grateful!

Volunteering for ACT 5 herself, Barbara McKinney discovers the commitment and courage that her late son Mike always described as “a life changing experience”

Time to ACT

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.

July 2007

An Individual Journey

The road to self-acceptance is full of speed bumps and landmarks along the way. Dale Decker helps you steer clear of wrong turns.

V for Valuation

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.

Building Support

Tim Foster treats himself to some little treasures from businesses in our community.

Conscious Living

It’s no surprise that minorities have increased problems with depression, addictions and compulsive behavior. Gay people are no exception.

An Individual Journey

The road to self-acceptance is full of speed bumps and landmarks along the way. Dale Decker helps you steer clear of wrong turns.

Friendly Faces in Familiar Places

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 Invitation

When a wedding invitation arrives in his mailbox, Patrick Farabaugh is left pondering about homecomings and bridesmaids

Why PFLAG is So Important

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

The Lesbian Thespian

Four Seasons Theatre Artistic Director Andrew Abrams introduces us to UW Theatre major Angela Birrittella

Waking Up the Sleeping Giant

Madison Gay Hockey Association Founder and Our Lives Publisher Patrick Farabaugh shares his personal story and experience behind the birth of the MGHA

A Culmination of Community

Each year the Madison Gay Hockey Association invites its members to write about the role that the MGHA plays in building their identity. 2007 scholarship winner Mark Sadowski shares his essay.

Living with Purpose

Felicia Melton-Smyth talks candidly to Our Lives about transitioning, her AIDS philanthropic work and the most important thing she’s ever done.