LGBT

Aaron Schrank

 

Laramie made history last night when the city council passed Wyoming’s first broad ordinance banning discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

 

The ordinance, which passed by a vote of 7-2,  covers public or private employment, housing, and public accommodations like bars or restaurants. The town of Jackson also has an LGBT anti discrimination ordinance on the books, but it only covers public employees.

 

Denver Gay Men's Chorus

On May 10th, the Wyoming premiere of I Am Harvey Milk debuts in Laramie. Created by composer Andrew Lippa, it’s part theater, part choral piece, and it all tells the story of Harvey Milk, the first gay and out non-incumbent politician in the U.S. He was assassinated in 1978, just months after taking office as a city supervisor in San Francisco. James Knapp is the artistic director of the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus, and Out Loud, Colorado Springs Men’s Chorus, the two groups performing the piece. He joined Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard to talk a little about the show.

The Shepard Symposium on Social Justice is underway at the University of Wyoming and will be featuring several spotlight events the rest of this week. Two of the events this weekend are photography sessions for The Self Evident Truths Project. iO Tillett Wright is the founder of and photographer for the project, as well as an LGBT activist. She’s attempting to photograph 10,000 people in all 50 states who identify as anything other than 100% straight in hopes of showing Americans the diverse makeup of the LGBT community.

The Laramie City Council gave initial approval to a proposed ordinance that would add employment and housing protections for gay and lesbian residents.

 

This comes after a heavily backed and well funded statewide LGBT anti-discrimination bill died in the state legislature this year.

 

Photo Courtesy Wyoming Catholic College via Facebook

Wyoming Catholic College in Lander has decided not to offer federal grants and loans to its students. It says doing so could threaten the school’s religious liberties.

Last year, the small, 8-year-old college took its first step toward accreditation. The move meant credits earned at W-C-C could be transferred to other schools—and made it eligible for federal loan programs.

But the college’s Board of Director’s voted unanimously last month not to participate in those programs—known as Title IV.

Miles Bryan

A bill that would protect gay, lesbian, and transgender people from being discriminated against in the workplace and in other locations was approved by the House Health, Labor, and Social Services Committee on Friday.

 

It was standing room only for the entire two hour hearing as people lined up to give testimony. The Wyoming Pastor’s Network came out in force against the bill.

 

A board of former politicians, business leaders, and law enforcement is looking to push for employment protections for LGBT people in Wyoming.

Currently the state has no workplace protections for LGBT people, which means workers can be fired simply for being gay.

Former U.S. Senator Al Simpson is a member of the new board, put together by the advocacy group Compete Wyoming. He says he wants to emphasize this is not about gay marriage. 

Miles Bryan

Josh Kronberg-Rasner was the only openly gay person in his office while he worked for a food service company in Casper. But his sexual orientation never held him back, he says. "I had filled every position from general manager to executive chef," he says. "You name it, I'd done all of it."

That changed in the summer of 2012 when Kronberg-Rasner got a new manager, whom Kronberg-Rasner says was uncomfortable working with a gay person. A few weeks after he arrived, the manager went through Kronberg-Rasner's personal phone and found pictures of a male gymnast.

Miles Bryan

Same sex marriage is now legal in Wyoming, which means same sex couples now have access to all the legal rights that come with marriage. Even so, some disparities remain. For one, Wyoming lacks any legal protection for LGBT people in employment. That means gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the Cowboy State may be able to be legally married, but they may also be legally fired.

wyomingequality.org

Public opinion in Wyoming has radically shifted toward legalizing same sex marriage in the last decade.  Bills, both legalizing and banning, have been introduced in the state legislature. But nothing has passed.  And lawmakers are slow to acknowledge the shift in public opinion. But as Wyoming Public Radio’s Erin Jones reports, the legislature might not be where the change happens.

ERIN JONES: State Representative Matt Greene grew up without gay marriage on his mind.

Wyoming State Capitol

The State Senate defeated a bill that would have prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  It would have given gays and lesbians protections in the workplace.  Opponents said it could have led to unfair burdens on employers and infringe on religious freedoms.  Senator Chris Rothfuss says he’s sorry that the bill would be inconvenient for certain employers, but he added that was the point.  But Baggs Senator Larry Hicks says the legislation would do little.