aroundtheregion

Wisconsin
The saga involving Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley continued last week. He anti-LGBTQ writings in college have made her a target as she campaigns for election in April. The Wisconsin Gazette’s Louis Weisberg gave readers a run-down on what’s at stake:

Foremost among Bradley’s “sins” are the viscerally hateful anti-gay columns she penned as a student at Marquette University about gays, people with AIDS, Democrats, feminists and every other group singled out by the extreme right during the “culture wars” of the early 1990s.
She claims to have changed her views about gays in the ensuing 20-plus years. Supporting that claim, Bradley sought out WiG’s endorsement for her first and only judicial election. During our interview with her, she seemed at ease, quite likeable and sincere in her support for LGBT rights.
But on every other far-right issue, Bradley has remained immovable, which suggests that her support for LGBT individuals comes with unspoken qualifiers. In light of our interview, for instance, we were surprised to learn recently that she sits on the governing board of the St. Thomas Moore Lawyers Society. That organization pushes for “religious rights” of the kind that involve trampling on other people’s rights in the name of religion, such as allowing people who own public accommodations to deny services to gays and lesbians if they feel to do so would violate their beliefs.
The only evidence Bradley has offered of her more inclusive adult sensibilities seems either self-serving or scandalous. She appeared at a Fair Wisconsin fundraiser, which proves she’s willing to rub elbows with LGBT people to further her electoral career. She says she’d perform a same-sex wedding, if asked; but after four years on the bench she’s never been asked, which indicates she doesn’t know many gay and lesbian people very well, at least not the marrying kind.

Bradley’s opponent has made a campaign issue of her writings, NBC 15 reports:

Appeals Court Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg is reiterating her charge that Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley’s career hasn’t revealed much evidence of change from the person who wrote opinion pieces that bashed gays and feminists nearly 25 years ago.
Bradley reiterated her apology for her college writings and said people grow over time. Bradley also said she’s offended that Kloppenburg had “the audacity” to think she could “look into my heart and mind and know what I think” to determine whether she had changed since her college days.
Kloppenburg said more recent writings that appeared to equate contraception with murder and support from conservatives including Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke show that she continues to hold extreme positions.
Bradley says her 2006 column reflected her defending a position as she had been asked and that her views don’t align with all of her supporters, who come from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Wisconsin Democrats are calling for Bradley to step down, the Gazette reports:

Assembly Democrats are stepping up their attacks on Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley over her inflammatory writings about LGBT people and feminists.
The writings were uncovered by the liberal group One Wisconsin Now just weeks before she faces challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg at the polls on April 5 to retain her interim position on the state’s highest court. She was appointed to the position by Gov. Scott Walker, who’s named her to all the judicial positions she’s ever held, beginning in 2012.
Today state Reps. Lisa Subeck and Chris Taylor today called upon Bradley to resign over her writings blaming victims of sexual assault and equating the use of birth control with murder.
“Rebecca Bradley’s extreme and hate-filled beliefs make her unfit to serve on our state’s highest court, Rep. Subeck said in a statement. “From calling members of the LGBTQ community ‘degenerates’ and ‘queers’ to believing that women play a role in date rape, this is a person who has extreme biases, unacceptable in a justice who is supposed to embrace fairness and neutrality.’

The Milwaukee Courier takes a look at the health disparities facing black gay and bisexual men:

Charles Smart, executive director of Monroe, Inc., a community and minority focused LGBT racial and social justice organization, is happy Milwaukee won but feels much more work must be done.

His passion lies in helping one particular underinsured group in Milwaukee: African American MSM, or “men having sex with men.”

“We’re the marginalized of the marginalized when it comes to insurance,” Smart said. “More minority led organizations need to respond to this crisis.”

Now going on its second anniversary, Monroe has a steady clientele base of black LGBT individuals.

According to Wisconsin Health Services Department, the HIV diagnoses in Milwaukee have more than doubled among the young black MSM population from 2010 to 2014.

Iowa

The Burlington community remembered Kendarie Pierre Johnson, a gender non-conforming teen who was killed in early March. The Des Moines Register reported on the memorial service:

The teenage girl inched toward the open coffin of Kedarie Pierre Johnson, stopping short of the rug where mourners paused to pay respects. Her shoulders convulsed with rolling sobs as she wrapped her arms around her waist and shook her head.
She attempted to approach again, but for every step forward, she took one step back, as though if she never made it to the casket, Johnson’s death wouldn’t be real; if she could just hold off, maybe he would come bounding into the Burlington High School gym like he did so often.
Disbelief was a common reaction to the shooting death of 16-year-old Johnson, a well-liked junior who many said lived life to the beat of his own drum. His body was found last week amid overgrowth in an alley in Burlington’s South Hill neighborhood.

Sen. Matt McCoy urged lawmakers to pass a bill that would add gender identity to the state’s hate crimes law in a letter to the Des Moines Register:

I led debate on the Iowa Senate vote to expand Iowa’s hate crime laws to include some of the most vulnerable Iowans.
Iowa’s hate crimes statute currently covers Iowans based on race, skin color, religion, ancestry, national origin, political affiliation, age, disability and nationality. A senate file approved on a bipartisan vote and currently in the Iowa House adds “gender identity” and “gender expression” to Iowa’s hate crime laws. With this change, a crime against a person because of their gender identity or gender expression can be prosecuted as a hate crime.
Transgender Iowans are four times more likely to be assaulted because they are different. Bullying reports indicate that 80 percent of Iowa’s transgender kids are bullied daily at school. However, violence against transgender Iowans is an under-reported crime because of fear of retaliation and exposure, according to Judy Bradshaw, head of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.
Iowa’s Civil Rights Act already includes nondiscrimination provisions for housing, accommodation and employment for gender identity among the protected classes.

Luther College in Decorah has been adding gender neutral restrooms in an effort to be gender-inclusive, Luther Chips reports:

Two restrooms on the lower level of Preus Library were designated to be gender non-specific in December and January 2016, according to Public Services Coordinator Eddy Atwell.
A proposal written by Dean of Student Life Corey Landstrom over the summer spurred the change and prompted the following announcement released by the President’s cabinet in October.
“In the next few weeks, signage on single-occupancy restrooms on campus will change to the gender-neutral term ‘restroom,’” the announcement read. “This change reflects respect and a spirit of inclusivity to all members of the Luther community.”
The restrooms in Preus Library are single-user restrooms with a lockable door. According to Director of Facilities Services Jay Uthoff, restrooms configured in this manner are the easiest to designate gender-nonspecific. Last summer, Landstrom walked the Luther campus to identify restrooms with these characteristics and wrote a proposal outlining where changes could be made.
According to Landstrom, the changes were motivated, in part, by developments in the Iowa Civil Rights Act. In 2007, the act was amended to protect against discrimination based on gender identity and therefore requires that employers allow employees access to restrooms that correspond with their gender identity rather than their biological sex. According to Associate Director of Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator Matthew Bills, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also requires this of employers under Title VII. According to Bills, students employed by the college through work study are provided the same protections under the Iowa Civil Rights Act and Title VII as other employees of the college.
Students articulated the importance of having gender-neutral bathrooms to use.
Adam Bartucci (‘17) is a transgender male.
“I feel that the bathrooms here are not very inclusive for someone who is female-bodied but identifies as male,” Bartucci said. “Going into the bathroom is terrifying. I really wish that the bathrooms were more accepting. I always get a sick feeling when I have to hide in a woman’s bathroom.”
Bartucci hopes for more gender-neutral bathrooms on campus.
“They should definitely make the spaces more visible,” Bartucci said.

North Dakota
People in Bowman were startled by a group protesting LGBT people. The group, Tradition, Family, Property, is a radical right-wing Catholic organization. The Bowman Extra has more:

A group of 11 people on Saturday afternoon stood on the steps leading up to St. Charles Catholic Church in Bowman reading from the Rosary — and their message was clear.

While their message was one of condemnation for individuals involved in same-sex marriages, with members of the demonstration holding a banner that read, “God’s marriage= 1 man + 1 woman,” they conducted themselves peacefully. They each held a Bible, reciting the Rosary.

Some members of the demonstration were local residents.

Another banner read, “As human efforts fail to solve America’s key problems, we turn to God, through His Holy Mother, asking His urgent help.”

Both banners featured the logo of The American TFP, which is one of a number of national TFPs which “form the world’s largest anticommunist and antisocialist network of Catholic inspiration.”

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