Federal judge overturns Wisc. Medicaid ban on paying for transition care

MADISON, Wisc. — A judge ruled on Friday that Wisconsin’s Medicaid program can’t deny treatment for gender-confirmation surgeries and other transition related care. On Monday, Courthouse News Service reported that against the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, or DHS, was filed by Cody Flack of Green Bay and Sara Ann Makenzie of Baraboo back in April 2018. The plaintiffs challenged a 1997 amendment to state Medicaid regulations that excluded coverage for “drugs, including hormone therapy, associated with transsexual surgery,” deeming them “medically unnecessary.”

From Courthouse News Service:
Flack, a transgender man, and Makenzie, a transgender woman, both suffer from severe gender dysphoria. They argued that the exclusion violates the Affordable Care Act, the Medicaid Act and the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.

Anti-LGBTQ group petitions to take Pride flag down from Wisconsin statehouse

MADISON — The Wisconsin Family Council has gotten 10,000 signatures on a petition calling for the LGBTQ Pride flag to be taking down from above the Wisconsin State Capitol. The Wisconsin Family Council, according to their website, is affiliated with anti-LGBTQ organizations such as Focus on the Family, CitizenLink, Family Research Council, and Alliance Defending Freedom. The group also has a petition opposing a “conversion therapy” ban in Milwaukee. 

The WFC claimed that flying the Pride flag on the statehouse was divisive and said the 10,000 people had signed the petition. The delivered the petition on Tuesday, June 25. 

“Governor Evers said during his campaign and has repeated since he took office, that he wants to unite Wisconsin. Flying this special-interest-group flag over the seat of government belonging to all Wisconsin citizens is anything but unifying,” said WFC President Julaine Appling in a press release.

Wisc. minor league baseball team drops Chick-Fil-A over anti-LGBTQ views

MADISON, Wisc. — The Madison Mallards, a summer collegiate baseball team in the Northwoods League, announced Tuesday that they were dropping their relationship with Chick-Fil-A. The team made the announcement on their Facebook page. The announcement also started the traditional flame war in the comments. A quick survey seemed to show the majority supported the team’s announcement.

Wisconsin lawsuit over transgender Medicaid coverage now a class action

MADISON — A federal judge has expanded lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s rule denying Medicaid coverage for medically necessary transgender surgeries, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported on Wednesday. The newspaper said that U.S. District Judge William Conley certified the class action status of the case and extended the injunction to cover anyone in the class, pending the final outcome of the lawsuit. Last summer, a judge issued a preliminary injunction ordering the state to cover surgeries for the two original plaintiffs, Cody Flack of Green Bay and Sara Ann Makenzie of Baraboo.  Two more plantiffs, Marie Kelly, 38, of Milwaukee and Courtney Sherwin, 35, of Janesville, have joined the case as representatives of the class. The state only opposed the expansion of the injunction. According to the Journal-Sentinel, the state claimed “inadequate evidence exists to conclude that the surgical procedures at issue can safely and efficaciously treat gender dysphoria.”

Conley stated that that defense had already been addressed and that surgical treatments can be necessary.

‘Conversion therapy’ ban introduced in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wisc. — A Wisconsin state senator has introduced a bill banning “conversion therapy” in the state, local media reported. Four Wisconsin cities have already banned it. From CBS58:
Senator Tim Carpenter of Milwaukee is among the authors of a bill introduced to ban conversion therapy. “Can lead to teen suicides, kids running away from home, actually getting involved with drugs and alcohol,” says Sen. Tim Carpenter, (D)-Milwaukee.

Wisc. Gov. Tony Evers signs order to prevent transgender discrimination for state employees

MADISON — Tony Evers, newly sworn in as Wisconsin’s governor, signed an order banning anti-transgender discrimination in state employment on Monday. Evers announced signing the order on his Facebook page. “Each person in Wisconsin deserves to be treated with dignity and respect,” he said in a post. “This fosters sound government, society, and business, and its just the right thing to do.” Fair Wisconsin, the state’s largest LGBTQ rights organization, praised the action.

Wisconsin A.G. to appeal ruling on health coverage for gender transition

MADISON — Brad Schimel, the outgoing attorney general for Wisconsin, has filed an appeal of the ruling that required the state’s health insurance to cover the gender transition of transgender employees. The ACLU of Wisconsin notified the public about the appeal on their website on Nov. 9. From the ACLU of Wisconsin:
After a trial in which a jury of Wisconsin citizens found that Shannon and Alina should be compensated for this discrimination, the state has harmed them yet again by appealing the verdict and delaying justice.  The state’s group insurance board has already decided to offer coverage starting next year, making the appeal even more incomprehensible. Shannon Andrews said: “The state’s actions in appealing this suit even after the Group Insurance Board committed to offering coverage for a second time to trans workers in Wisconsin exemplifies this administration’s commitment to capricious cruelty.

UW-Madison chancellor signs letter to DeVos for transgender rights

MADISON — The chancellor of Wisconsin’s largest university joined in urging U.S. Education Betsy DeVos to oppose the proposed federal policy that would narrowly define gender by gentalia reported this week that UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank co-penned a letter DeVos with officials from universities and colleges across the country. 


Blank’s letter, signed by herself, Princton University President Christopher Eisgruber and Rutgers University President Robert Barchi, was dated Thursday, about two weeks after The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump’s administration is considering restricting the definition of gender to be determined by one’s genitals at birth. Any dispute about one’s sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing, according to the report. “We appeal to you to do everything you can to prevent such action and to uphold the dignity of all persons,” the letter states. “These protections are important because transgender Americans in all parts of the country, including students and others on our campuses, have faced discrimination, isolation, and harassment.” University spokeswoman Meredith McGlone said Princeton’s president contacted Blank about co-authoring the letter.

Line Up for Wizard World Madison Announced

MADISON, Wis. – Wizard World, Inc. continues its 2015 schedule with its first trip to the Alliant Energy Center at Wizard World Madison Comic Con, February 6-8. William Shatner (“Star Trek,” “Boston Legal”), Brett Dalton (“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), Emily Kinney (“The Walking Dead,” Concussion), Josh McDermitt (“The Walking Dead,” “Retired at 35”), Kristin Bauer (“True Blood,” “Once Upon a Time”), Eliza Dushku (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” True Lies) and George Wendt (“Cheers”) headline the roster of celebrity guests scheduled to attend the pop culture extravaganza.Shatner will attend on Friday and Saturday, February 6-7; Dalton, Kinney, McDermitt, Bauer and Dushku will appear on Saturday and Sunday, February 7-8; Wendt is scheduled for all three days of the event.Other well-known Wizard World Madison Comic Con guests include Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, “The Walking Dead”), Adam West and Burt Ward (“Batman”), Jason Mewes (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Clerks), Adrian Paul (“Highlander”), Billy Dee Williams (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Brian’s Song), Edward James Olmos (“Battlestar Galactica,” Stand and Deliver), Cassandra Peterson (“Elvira, Mistress of the Dark”), Scott Wilson (“The Walking Dead,” “CSI”), William Kircher (The Hobbittrilogy), James Marsters (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Caprica”), Lou Ferrigno (“The Incredible Hulk”), Jason David Frank (“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers”) and Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters, “Heroes”).Wizard World is also the home of the most creative comics artists and writers on the planet. Artist Alley at Madison Comic Con will feature Phil Ortiz (“The Simpsons,” “Muppet Babies”), Mike Grell (“Green Arrow,” “Green Lantern”), Valerio Schiti (“Mighty Avengers,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”), Joanna Estep (“The Fantastic Four,” “Bravest Warriors”) and many others.In addition, all full-price Wizard World Madison Comic Con attendees will receive a limited edition exclusive variant cover “The Walking Dead” comic, drawn by one of Wizard World’s talented artist guests (to be announced shortly). Comics will be issued at registration while supplies last and VIP attendees will receive an additional black & white sketch version.Wizard World Comic Con events bring together thousands of fans of all ages to celebrate the best in pop-fi, pop culture, movies, graphic novels, cosplay, comics, television, sci-fi, toys, video gaming, gaming, original art, collectibles, contests and more.