This morning, for the first time in state history, Wisconsin lawmakers introduced legislation to extend nondiscrimination protections in housing, employment and public spaces to transgender individuals.
“We Wisconsinites are proud of our efforts to protect people from discrimination, and deservedly so,” said Katie Belanger the Acting CEO and President of Operation for Freedom for All Americans. “Our state is a leader in forward-thinking protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally under the law, and this bill is an opportunity for us to reclaim that legacy.”
In 1982, Wisconsin became the first state to extend nondiscrimination protections to lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals. The state also protects people from discrimination based on one’s age, ancestry, creed, color, disability, national origin, marital status, race, sex, national origin and more.
Today’s introduction comes only days after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit — which encompasses Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana — became the first federal court of appeals and the highest court in the United States to rule that discrimination against transgender students violates Title IX of the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
In the ruling, the court stated that Ash Whitaker, a transgender student from Kenosha, Wisconsin, cannot be discriminated against because of his gender identity.
“Ash’s case highlights that discrimination against transgender people does happen in Wisconsin. This is why lawmakers must update the state’s nondiscrimination laws to ensure that no transgender person can ever be fired from their job, kicked out of their home or denied public services just because of who they,” Belanger added.
There are currently 18 states and more than 200 municipalities that provide fully inclusive nondiscrimination protections to transgender individuals. Several communities in Wisconsin have these protections on the books, including Appleton, Cudahy, Janesville, Madison, Milwaukee and Milwaukee County.
“Wisconsin has a lot to be proud of, but we still have awhile to go before everyone in our state is treated equally under the law. Passing this important legislation will send an important message to the rest of the country that discrimination of any kind has no place in the Badger State,” Belanger stated.
Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people nationwide.