Wisconsin
A new group has formed in Wisconsin with the goal of passing transgender-specific nondiscrimination laws, the Wisconsin Gazette reports:

The Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Fair Wisconsin announced the formation of Wisconsin Businesses for Equality, a coalition committed to updating Wisconsin’s non-discrimination law to protect the transgender community. Founding members include Froedtert Health, Kohler Co., ManpowerGroup, Milwaukee Bucks and UW Health.
“We believe it’s time to update and modernize our state laws to add nondiscrimination protections based on gender identity and expression,” said Jason Rae, president and CEO of the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
“We must embrace diversity by enabling all individuals to cultivate their skillsets and develop successful, sustainable careers,” said Becky Frankiewicz, president of ManpowerGroup North America. “A strong and thriving business community means empowering people to participate in the workplace. ManpowerGroup is honored to actively support the Wisconsin Businesses for Equality campaign. Together, we can put people to work and truly create positive change throughout our community.”

A new poll shows that the majority of Wisconsinites oppose discrimination against LGBTQ people, the Gazette reported:

A new, first of its kind poll commissioned by the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce and conducted by Public Policy Polling shows that a strong majority of Wisconsinites are opposed to discrimination among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in Wisconsin.
In the survey, conducted earlier this month, 62 percent of Wisconsinites believe that discrimination against transgender individuals is wrong and should be illegal.
“People in Wisconsin believe that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity” said Jason Rae, president and CEO of the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

The survey also found that 63 percent of people believe Wisconsin’s non-discrimination laws should be updated to protect transgender individuals.

Wisconsin’s governor will speak at a conference that includes anti-transgender groups, the Capitol Times reports:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will be a featured speaker at a conservative conference next month aimed at student activists.
Walker is, so far, the only elected official in the lineup, which includes prominent conservative figures including Donald Trump Jr., Anthony Scaramucci, Dinesh D’Souza, James O’Keefe, Tomi Lahren and Sebastian Gorka.
The Student Action Summit is organized by Turning Point USA, a nonprofit organization whose mission is “to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government.”
The group has chapters at colleges and high schools throughout the country, and recently made news in Wisconsin when the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point student government initially refused to recognize a local chapter as a campus organization. Opponents of the group had argued it engages in hate speech, directed in particular toward transgender students. The decision was reversed by university administrators.

In a move that surprised no one, the Human Rights Campaign endorsed Sen. Tammy Baldwin. She’s the only LGBTQ person serving in the U.S. Senate.

Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, announced its endorsement of Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin in her bid for re-election.

“We were proud to stand with Sen. Baldwin when she made history in 2012, and today we are thrilled to enthusiastically endorse her bid for a second term in the U.S. Senate,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “A true trailblazer, Sen. Baldwin has been at the center of every battle for full equality, fighting tirelessly on behalf of Wisconsin and the American people. Her leadership and voice remain crucial in the effort to advance equality and we look forward to continuing to work with her in the U.S. Senate.”

Iowa
The Des Moines Register previews an annual drag king celebration in Des Moines:

At first Jennifer Carruthers just wanted to throw a party for her female friends where they could feel free to be themselves. After spending years struggling to fit ideals of femininity like keeping her long hair and wearing makeup, Carruthers and her friends were embracing what she calls their true selves, which have a more masculine affect. They were dressing in men’s clothing and performing as “drag kings.” That meant flipping gender roles from the more commonly seen male-to-female drag queens.
Evidently, interest in this is a lot more widespread than just her group of friends, because the event gave way to a ticketed one that drew 100 in its first year. Now in its seventh, Carruthers expects the show known as “Drag King DSM” to bring nearly 600 people to Wooly’s in Des Moines’ East Village Dec. 8. It will bring performers from seven major cities, one of whom — Spikey Van Dykey, aka Jamie Kalman of Orlando — was recently featured in Elle magazine.

Manitoba
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s apology to LGBTQ folks was welcomed by the community in Winnipeg, the CBC reports:

Jim Kane keeps a copy of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms on his wall as a reminder of the fight for human rights in Canada.
He’s spent decades fighting for gay rights and has mixed emotions about the apology Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to make to LGBT people on Tuesday.
Trudeau is apologizing to LGBT civil servants: Here’s why
LGBTQ Canadians ‘purged’ from military and public service await apology
“I already know that I’m going to cry, because it’s an important step forward and it’s long overdue,” said Kane, tearing up in his Winnipeg apartment on Monday night.
“We’ll finally be able to say in Canada nobody has the platinum card of charter rights, nobody has the green card of charter rights — everyone has the gold card of charter rights.”

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Andy Birkey

Andy Birkey has written for a number of Minnesota and national publications. He founded Eleventh Avenue South which ran from 2002-2011, wrote for the Minnesota Independent from 2006-2011, the American Independent from 2010-2013. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, The Star Tribune, The Huffington Post, Salon, Cagle News Service, Twin Cities Daily Planet, TheUptake, Vita.mn and much more. His writing on LGBT issues, the religious right and social justice has won awards including Best Beat Reporting by the Online News Association, Best Series by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorable mention by the Sex-Positive Journalism awards.

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