Milwaukee Business Journal: Milwaukee Bucks, local corporations join LGBT chamber to back anti-discrimination law update

From the Milwaukee Business Journal:

Five prominent Milwaukee organizations have signed on as founders of Wisconsin Businesses for Equality, a coalition dedicated to updating Wisconsin's nondiscrimination law.

Partnering with the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce in Milwaukee and Madison LGBT rights advocacy group Fair Wisconsin, Froedtert Health, Kohler Co. ManpowerGroup, the Milwaukee Bucks and UW Health have founded the group to protect the transgender community in the workplace.

“We believe it’s time to update and modernize our state laws to add nondiscrimination protections based on gender identity and expression,” said Jason Rae, the chamber's president and CEO.

According to a news release, Wisconsin became the first state in the nation to protect lesbian, gay and bisexual people from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations in 1982. That protection doesn't yet extend to various gender identities and expressions, and according to an LGBT chamber poll, 63 percent of people in Wisconsin believe it should.

"We must embrace diversity by enabling all individuals to cultivate their skillsets and develop successful, sustainable careers,” said Becky Frankiewicz, president of ManpowerGroup North America. “A strong and thriving business community means empowering people to participate in the workplace."

The Privacy Protection and Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act, co-authored by Rep. Mark Spreitzer (D-Beloit), Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee) and Sen. Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee), has been introduced in the state Legislature and would add the gender identity protection to the nondiscrimination law.

“Until the day that all transgender Wisconsinites are protected by law, we all stand to lose,” said Megin McDonell, executive director of Fair Wisconsin. “Businesses know that this isn’t just good for the bottom line, it is also the right thing to do.”