MILWAUKEE — A new resolutiondeeming Milwaukee County a 'sanctuary' for non-binary and transgender people has movement at the local level. The Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and General Services County Executive Board passed the resolution late Monday afternoon.
It was an afternoon full of heated and opinionated discussion. For several hours, neighbors across Milwaukee County, church leaders, and outreach advocates, both in favor and against the resolution, spoke to county leaders.
"Making Milwaukee a county that is a sanctuary for trans and non-binary folks will save our lives, it will change our communities, it will change the culture of Milwaukee," one resident in favor of the resolution said.
This resident, along with dozens more, spoke in favor of Monday's resolution. However, there were also several who voiced concerns against the resolution.
"This resolution is evil. It's anti-family. What the doctors are doing and the scientists are doing is trying to create something that is not real," one person said who's against the resolution.
The resolution that passed through the committee on Monday states that Milwaukee County values its transgender and non-binary residents and opposes measures that would allow legal violence toward trans people in accessing gender-affirming care or expression.
It also states that the county board of supervisors is committed to protecting transgender and non-binary folks and believes access to healthcare is a fundamental right for all people in the county and the state. Specifically, the resolution states that includes gender-affirming care.
This means that if the state legislature passes laws that impose punishments, fines, or sanctions for any person who seeks, provides, or receives gender-affirming care, the board would "urge" the sheriff's office to make enforcement their lowest priority.
The county committee voted 3-2 in favor to pass the resolution. Several county supervisors voiced their support and concerns on the matter.
"If we adopt through this committee and the board and implement this policy, we would be putting into place a policy that future laws created by others, that would be similarly deliberating and hearing public testimony, the way that we are, before we ever hear what the law is. We are already going to say we don't like it and not enforce it. I don't think that would be responsible policy-making," County Supervisor Deanna Alexander said.
Alexander said she was very much against the resolution. She also said she thinks there's too wide of an interpretation of this resolution that could have negative impacts in the future.
Others, like County Supervisor Willie Johnson Jr., said he sees the discrimination of the trans and non-binary community and relates.
"I personally have seen a lot against me, as far as discrimination is concerned, but I've seen a lot with respect of individuals and that is something I'll continue to fight against," Johnson Jr. said.
The resolution will now go to the entire county board of supervisors. If it's passed there, the county executive will need to sign off on it.