A couple of quick thoughts on this Sunday afternoon. First, I had mentioned in my last post about a bill in the Wisconsin State Assembly that would prevent local municipalities in the state (cities, counties, townships, etc.) from enacting and enforcing anti-discriminatory employment regulations and protections. A State Assembly committee had a hearing on the measure Wednesday afternoon. And from what I recall hearing Friday night at the trans/CD support group I regularly attend, there is a little bit of good news on the matter. Apparently, there were quite a bit of comments made in the hearing against the bill. And it may have made an influence on the conservative powers-that-be in the committee, who hinted they had no plans to send the bill to a full vote by the Assembly. That’s good, for it’s a piece of legislation that can potentially do a lot of harm to several groups of workers, including those who are trans or gender non-conforming. Needless to say, the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce is against the Assembly bill (as well as a similar measure in the State Senate), comparing it to the controversial HB2 measure in North Carolina, which was one of the most anti-LGBT ordinances in the United States.
As the attendees in our meeting were reminded Friday night (and likely the attendees in the hearing on Wednesday), even though you are just one voice, having your say can speak volumes… especially if there are many others independently voicing the same concerns as you. So if you’re in Wisconsin, keep contacting your state legislators about the bill, and remind them to make a stand against. And it’s still important to do so… for while the Assembly committee appears, for now, to be refraining from sending the bill to the full Assembly, a State Senate committee already approved sending their version of the measure to the full Senate; if the full Senate approves it, then it will have to go to the Assembly. On top of that, the head of a prominent business group in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, voiced his support for the bill (Assembly Bill 748). In other words, we’re still not out of the woods yet when it comes to ensuring fair employment in the state of Wisconsin.
Happy(?) news about politics aside, the Friday night meeting was pretty pleasant. Concerns of confidentiality forbid me from going into detail (what’s said in our meeting room stays in our meeting room), but two things about the meeting struck me. First, the group is a welcoming place, one where everyone is treated with respect regardless of their identification. If you are a trans person and frequent similar support meetings where you live, hopefully you’ve noticed it as well. That welcoming feeling is a great feeling, especially if you’re attending for the first time. I know I enjoyed that welcoming feeling the first time I attended a support meeting. It’s a sign that you are accepted for the human being you are and the identity you know you are.
Aside from attending and feeling welcome, what’s also great about a support meeting is when you receive good news. Again, I won’t divulge into what good news was shared (again, confidentiality), but it was great to hear several people tell of how an important development in their lives (big or small, past or future) can perk up their entire day, if not their week. To those who shared their great news at our meeting, if you’re reading this, here’s hoping your good news will be the start of something even better.