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Milwaukee LGBTQ+ advocates react to 'state of emergency' for community

By Taylor Lumpkin,


It was an announcement that left Jodyann Morgan, who runs a Black queer-owned candle business in Milwaukee, speechless.

"It was very shocking," said Morgan.

For the first time in 40 years, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, declared a state of emergency for the community.

"It feels like we're going backward," said Morgan.

The announcement from the HRC comes after they say more than 75 anti-LGBTQ+ laws have been signed into law so far this year. That's double the amount compared to last year.

"This is all coordinated attacks to try to get us to sit down and to not be able to fully experience and be part of the American experience and our rights as citizens," said Charlie Nash, the president of Milwaukee's Cream City Foundation

In response to the increase, the HRC put together an online guidebook for the LGBTQ+ community. It includes things like a summary of state-by-state laws and resources for those in the LGBTQ community who are traveling to or living in hostile states, in order to keep people in the community safe.

"The country I'm from, Jamaica, they persecute people for being gay so you have a lot of people who moved to America to feel that safety. But if that safety is removed then where does everyone go," asked Morgan.

The guidebook also includes a chart detailing which states have or have not put certain anti-LGBTQ+ legislation like the pronoun refusal law, bathroom bans, and the don't say gay law, into effect. Out of the eight anti-LGBTQ+ laws detailed in the chart, it shows Wisconsin hasn't currently enforced any of them.

"I feel very fortunate that in Wisconsin we are able to hold back some of these harmful laws," said Nash. "I have a number of people that I know that live in other states where that isn't the case and it's a very scary situation for people not only for the laws that are currently in place, but for the laws that they are also worried may come and follow."

That's why Milwaukee LGBTQ+ advocates say now is the time to stand up and protect the entire community moving forward.

"We really need to make our voice clear where these things are unfair and unjust," said Nahs.

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