Michel: This issue spotlights transgender topics

Michel: This issue spotlights transgender topics

The stories we bring you this month on the LGBTQ community were already filed when the deadly nightclub shooting happened in Orlando, Florida. On June 12, a gunman took the lives of 49 people at a nightspot called Pulse, a gathering place for people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer, or those questioning their gender identity. Although this tragedy unfolded more than 1,300 miles away from Madison, it affected us here. It also underscores how important it is for Madison Magazine to write about issues that impact all segments of our community.

In this issue you’ll meet Avery Haley-Lock, who grew up gender nonconforming and uses the pronouns they/them/their. Avery’s mother, Anna Haley-Lock, told me that after the Orlando killings, Avery was so struck by what happened that they had the logo of the Pulse nightclub buzzed into their haircut. Avery just finished their freshman year at East High School and is featured in Jessica Arp’s Politically Speaking column on page 34. In it, Avery speaks about legislation dubbed the “bathroom bill,” which failed in the Wisconsin Legislature this year.

Since giving that interview, Avery and their family have moved to New Jersey, in part, to live in a community that’s more accepting of transgender people, says Avery’s mother.
“It’s really just the political climate in the state” of Wisconsin that prompted the move, Avery’s mother told me over the phone. She says she and her husband Eric Lock were faculty members at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and saw changes on campus resulting from the state budget cuts to higher education. They decided it was time to leave.

That’s unfortunate, especially for a city that prides itself on being progressive.

Also in this magazine, starting on page 76, is a revealing story by Pat Dillon about the barriers to health care faced by members of the transgender community. For those who are unable to get coverage or afford out-of-pocket treatment, it’s a crisis. A group of transgender individuals are working toward improving access and quality of transgender health care in Dane County. Their stories are eye-opening.

Of course, we have an interesting mix of other content that reflects our vibrant city, including a fun cover story on Madison’s nightlife, beginning on page 64, and great coverage of our food scene.

Whether it’s options for a night on the town or options for transgender health care, stories in our August issue are likely to provoke thought.