While I spend the weekend recuperating from a grueling work week, I want to highlight a Wisconsin-related, Madison-related, LGBT-related story I came across this morning. The Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce is, yes, an organization of businesses that promote economic growth, business opportunities, and blah blah blah. But note the inclusion of the acronym “LGBT” in their name. Yes, in addition to all that stuff about promoting economic growth, the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce is an advocate for and promoter of LGBT-owned or -allied businesses and professionals in Wisconsin.
I want to start this post by mentioning something that took place a year ago but did not get the chance to share until now. Despite the delay, it perfectly dovetails to the theme of this post — stores closing in malls.
Okay, I promised some stuff I had left over from but didn’t have room in my last post about the 2018 OutReach Pride Parade & Rally that occurred last Sunday (August 19). Unlike that previous post, I promise I won’t even bring up the controversy that surrounded the parade this year. Nope, this will be all positive. The first thing is that though some of the same socialists who despised the police being at pride also despised the presence of corporate sponsorship (no, I’m not gonna get any darker than that in this post), there was, without mistake, a sincere presence of businesses who wanted to show their support of the LGBT+ community. Just as with the charities, non-profit organizations, and church and advocacy groups that also populated the parade, they made it known that they truly support our community and do not venture to discriminate against us. That they also do so with their checkbooks and accountants through their sponsorship of Pride does not (and should not) hurt, no matter what your level of disdain of the corporate world. And, yes, sometimes I do think this world has gotten all-corporate, if you know what I mean. Still, I do understand the necessity of having a benevolent, philanthropic sponsor offering cash. Continue reading
It’s been a full week, one that’s been somewhat busy and very wet, since the OutReach Pride Parade & Rally, but I’m finally ready to share with you some of my experience. As I’ve mentioned here and here, this year’s parade and rally was held under an ugly shadow, not from any rain clouds but under the specter of controversy. A loud contingent from Madison’s LGBT+ community raised a ruckus over the presence of the Madison Police Department at the parade, with some threatening to stage a counter-protest. In the end, parade organizers withdrew the applications of LGBT+ employee resource groups from MPD and UW—Madison Police as well as the Dane County Sheriff. Members from those groups could (and did) march in the parade, but had to do so unarmed and out of uniform. (Side note: The Madison Fire Department decided to withdraw one of their engines from the parade in sympathy to the boys in blue; it was MFD’s decision.) While OutReach’s move to formally eliminate the police entries upset some parade supporters and still likely upset some protesters (especially since the parade permit still required MPD to provide security), the parade and rally (**SPOILER ALERT**) went off without a hitch and without any rabble-rousers causing disruptions.
If you’re wondering, yes, I did march in the OutReach Pride parade last weekend. And, yes, I will have a post on it coming very soon. But at this point, I will thank goodness that the parade took place on the warm, pleasant Sunday we had in Madison last weekend, not the wet, stormy Monday that socked us.
For those of you who do not live in Dane County, we were hit with a massive deluge of rain Monday afternoon into Monday evening. How much rain? Judging from the reports I saw, my particular location on Madison’s west side got socked with about 8 inches of rain. That could be an underestimate on my part, considering that locales to the immediate west of Madison got hit much worse, including just under a foot of rain in Middleton and over 15 inches in Cross Plains. It was, according to county emergency management, the all-time Wisconsin record for heaviest rainfall within a 24-hour period.
This is the Sunday morning of the OutReach Pride Parade/Rally here in Madison. Later this afternoon, members of the LGBT+ community will march proudly down State Street and celebrate our hard-fought freedom to live as our true selves.
But as you may have guessed from my previous two posts, this pride weekend in Madison isn’t quite the lovey dovey moment it should be. This year’s OutReach Pride theme is “Stand up! Speak out! Fight back!” However, it’s been an inward fight rather than an outward one against those who shun our community. And it’s clearly more than an issue of whether the cops can march in the parade or whether said cops are willing to listen. At the risk of airing out private conversations, there’s been a bit of resentment within the trans/CD support group I’m a part of. Well, at least there is an issue within the private Facebook page our group utilizes. The same people who raised valid issues about the police presence in the parade and how said police treat trans and queer persons of color are also challenging us to embrace that very same TQPOC community. And while it’s not like a civil war in our group, the boisterous comments in our Facebook page over the past week-plus — heck, within the past 24 hours — sure make it feel like one.
Just a quick follow-up to my previous post, in which I went on and on about the controversy surrounding the presence of police at the OutReach Pride parade this Sunday. To sum up the background of that post, those who are trans/queer people of color (or at least the allies of TQPOCs) raised ongoing concerns that the presence of police groups, particularly those from the Madison Police Department, would create an unsafe and unwelcoming situation. Some even threatened to boycott the parade and stage their own counter-protest. Long story short, OutReach (the organization that stages the parade) withdrew the permits of the MPD and UW—Madison Police Departments’ LGBT employee resource groups; the members of those groups can still march on Sunday, just in a civilian capacity (i.e. out of uniform and not under a police banner).
When reading about the controversy, one would think that OutReach and MPD were ignorant of TQPOCs’ concerns. On the contrary. On Monday of this week, a previously scheduled listening session took place at the Madison Public Library. No, I wasn’t in attendance (I’ve my own schedule, you know), but judging from this recap of the event, the conversation that took place was honest, sincere… and at times heated (folks still have concerns after all). Also, the comments of MPD members who spoke at the listening session suggest that they are respectful and understanding of OutReach’s decision to withdraw their applications. But no matter what one’s opinion about the issue, at least you may agree to a quote from that article said by someone in attendance: “It’s so energizing to see a room of people who care about an issue, regardless of whether you agree or disagree.”
I’ve been away from WordPress for over a week and, oh boy, has a lot gone on around here. For one, I am in the midst of new temporary employment, which I promise to expound on in a later post. But I want to devote this post to a little something… okay, a rather big something that’s been going on here in Madison, one that has plagued the biggest and most important event in Madison’s LGBT+ community.
I’ll cut to the chase and let you know of the outcome: There will be an OutReach Pride parade this coming Sunday afternoon, starting at the west end of State Street, circling once around Capitol Square, and ending with a rally. And baring anything unforeseen on my end, I will be there as Allison and marching with fellow members of our crossdressing/transgender support group.
You may be reading that and are thinking that there was a possibility that the parade and rally wouldn’t be taking place at all. On the contrary, the event is not in any danger of not taking place. However, it will be taking place without one prominent group of participants — law enforcement. Had they been part of the parade, there would have been another prominent group that would have boycotted the event — those who have real disdain for law enforcement.
In my mental calendar, there has been a date that was marked in big, pink highlighter marker. It was marked that way as a reminder to myself of a day when my personal world was shaken up to the core and I had to start anew. That day was Wednesday, May 15, 2002. That was the day that I was pulled away from my desk, led into an office, and was told by a Human Resources person that my faithful service was no longer desired by them.
Well, I now have to wash the highlight from that date on my mental calendar, for there is now a new, much more recent date that will need to be marked in that ugly, haunting shade of pink: Tuesday, June 26, 2018. Continue reading
If you recall this post from a couple of years ago, you will know that the building you see above is the apartment building I currently call home. Since moving to the Madison area in September 2002, I have called three different apartment buildings my home. Of the three, this two-bedroom, 735-square-foot (approximately) apartment is my hands-down favorite. And exactly eleven years ago tonight (May 1, 2007), I got the keys to it.
Has my 11 years in this place been perfect? Oh, not entirely, and that’s understandable. I mean, any home/condo/apartment/whatever does have its drawbacks. And I’ve encountered a couple of unfortunate missteps at this place twice in 2018 alone, one that I was able to manage despite discomfort, while the other made me shake my head and think “Really?”