Lambda Rights Network Records, 1987-1993

Scope and Content Note

The collection documents the history and activities of the Lambda Rights Network (LRN). LRN activities are best documented in the agendas and minutes, correspondence, community surveys, and records relating to Community Speak Outs and candidate forums.

Along with the history of LRN itself, the collection sheds light on the political struggles and challenges faced by Milwaukee's gay and lesbian community over a five-year period. Of particular significance are LRN's efforts to record instances of harassment, abuse, and discrimination involving sexual orientation. LRN's information-gathering activities occurred during a period of increasing national awareness of the seriousness of bias-motivated crimes. Indeed, during LRN's existence, twelve states passed hate crimes statutes that enhanced penalties for crimes motivated by the victim's sexual orientation, race, religion, color, disability, national origin or ancestry. Wisconsin's hate crime legislation passed in 1991 (Wisconsin Statute 939.645). The information gathered by LRN is contained in records of harassment complaints, surveys of hate crimes, and news clippings. The clippings relate to two prominent Wisconsin hate crimes, the Rochon and Dressler cases, and various other hate-related incidents and legislative reforms.