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Photo of Gay Peoples Union booth at Brady Street Days, 1976 (courtesy Rick Chris)


Welcome to the web site chronicling the History of the Gay/ Lesbian/ Bisexual/ Transgender Community
in Milwaukee and all of Wisconsin.

2012 was a year when Milwaukee and Wisconsin celebrated several anniversaries. It marked the 30th anniversary of Wisconsin's landmark Gay Rights bill becoming law. Originally known as AB70, with its signing into law in 1982, Wisconsin was the first state in the country to ban discrimination for sexual orientation. Also 2012 marked the 25th PrideFest, Milwaukee's trend-setting pride celebration. Although pride celebrations occurred prior to 1988, that was the first year of a central group coordinating the city's Gay Pride celebration. 2012 was also the year that the Cream City Foundation celebrated its 30th anniversary, well past a quarter century of grant giving to benefit the LGBT community in southeastern Wisconsin.

This web site attempts to chronicle the history of gay and lesbian life and activism throughout Wisconsin. An off-spin of the Milwaukee LGBT History Project, the webmaster seeks to extend that groups more narrow focus to encompass the inter-related growth of LGBT development throught the state, and celebrate the media that historically covered businesses, organizations, and events state-wide.

Note that although many pages at the links on the left and throughout this web site are primarily focused on Milwaukee, this is more as a result of incompleteness than exclusion. The webmaster continues to attempt to include more non-Milwaukee material. For example, see the special page covering Bars and Clubs outside the Milwaukee area.

We have created five categories to help organize this story: People; Organizations; Businesses; the Media; and Events. Each of these areas has its own section on this web site (see links on the left), and as we collect materials, we attempt to categorize and display them in this open fashion. (Note that, especially on this web site, we may edit certain materials to obscure names of living persons who may object to appearing in a public forum for privacy reasons.)

Curious what's new on the website? Check out the "What's New" page!

We Welcome Community Input

We welcome your contributions of information for this site. It is very much a work in progress. For example, we may have quite a few detailed history pages for bars, but few for other businesses or media. These will be filled in and fleshed out over time. Feel free to browse the various sections and pages herein, and send us any corrections or additions. If you have any information which might help us, please send us an email. If you have materials or archives or memorabilia to donate, contact us also.

Clisk this link to view the Main Page for the Milwaukee LGBT History Project website!

Email us at:

(Please note that we will often use the terms “gay” and “lesbian” by themselves on this site. Our purpose in doing so is not to exclude bisexual, transgender, or any other persons, but to reflect accurately the historical period in question. For example, the National Gay Task Force did not add “Lesbian” to its name until 1986. Historians of bisexual activism have noted that many of the earliest “gay liberation” activists during the 1970s were bisexuals who saw no reason at the time to distinguish their bisexual identity from the gay liberation movement. Only later, when some “gay rights” activists began to use the term “gay” in a more exclusive manner, did bisexual activists and lesbians also begin wide use of exclusive terminology to represent themselves. So please look upon use of the terms as an evolution that is not always easily distinguishable at any one point in time.)

PDF files are used extensively on this site. To view them,
download Adobe Reader (aka Acrobat Reader) from:

Credits: concept and format by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: April-2012.