Racine considers improving protections for LGBTQ


RACINE — The government of Racine, Wisc., is looking at improving legal protections for LGBTQ residients, according to a local newspaper.

The Journal-Times of Racine reported that it was one of several initiatives the city is starting to support the community.

From the Journal-Times:

The Human Rights Campaign, a national civil rights organization that advocates for the LGBTQ+ community, annually assesseshow inclusive cities across the nation are of diverse gender identities and sexual orientations. In 2017, Racine received one of the lowest scores of the seven Wisconsin cities rated in the report.

The city tied with Oshkosh in receiving 29 out of a possible 100 points. Cities across the state averaged 59 points, with the highest score in Madison at 100 points.

Last year, city officials and leaders in the local LGBTQ+ community said they didn’t feel the report accurately depicted Racine and its efforts. This month, Mason and 15th District Alderman Melissa Lemke announced plans to update city rules to better prevent discrimination.

Mason proclaimed Sunday, June 24, as “Gay Rights Day” in the city, according to a press release, which also laid out a plan for making the city more inclusive.

“We wanted to do something substantive,” Mason said.

One step involves updating the city’s ordinances to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity in areas such as private employment, city employment, city contractors, housing and public accommodations. The ordinance now prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Other steps include plans to expand the membership of the Affirmative Action and Human Rights Commission to include a member of the LGTBQ+ community and to continue providing training to personnel about being an inclusive workplace.