Human Rights League for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgendered Records, 1991-1999

Scope and Content Note

The activities of the Human Rights League (HRL) are best documented in the board of directors' meeting minutes, and the files of HRL's various committees.

The Awards Committee files contain information relating to the Cream City Brick Awards and the National Coming Out Day Awards programs. Typical documentation includes committee minutes, letters of nomination, and award ceremony programs. The letters of nomination often include useful information about a nominee's history and accomplishments.

The Legislative and Public Policy Committee (LPPC) files contain information relating to HRL's political activities. Files include committee minutes, candidate surveys, and information about public forums. The activities of two important LPPC subcommittees is fairly well represented in the collection. Following the revelation of Jeffrey Dahmer's serial killings of gay men and Milwaukee police insensitivity to gay/lesbian issues, Mayor John Norquist created a Citizen Commission on Police-Community Relations in 1991 to review police department polices and procedures. In response to the commission findings, the police department established a Community Oriented Policing (COP) Coalition, later known as the Community Oriented Policing (COP) Advisory Committee. The LPPC's Police Sensitivity Training Committee worked with the COP Advisory Committee to develop a cultural sensitivity training program for new recruits. Hundreds of police recruits participated in this program. Committee files include a training manual on gay and lesbian issues, various information on hate crimes, and meeting minutes. The Public Officials Reception Committee held an annual reception for representatives of LGBT membership organizations to meet with elected and appointed public officials. Information about this committee is contained in a single folder. Detailed information about the receptions themselves is contained in the National Coming Out Day programs.

Information about the Membership and Fundraising Committee is largely found in the Board of Directors' files under Membership Reports and Treasurer's Reports.

National Coming Out Day (NCOD) Committee files contain information about NCOD event planning and activities. (National Coming Out was started in 1988 to celebrate the first anniversary of the 1987 March on Washington. It has been celebrated annually on October 11th ever since with events held in cities throughout the country.) Typically, Milwaukee NCOD events included a reception for friends, families, and allies; a separate reception for public officials; the annual membership meeting; and the NCOD Awards program. The files contain no information about the first annual NCOD events in Milwaukee, 1994.

The collection unevenly documents HRL's collaboration with other Milwaukee LGBT organizations on key issues. Files relating to the Community Election Coalition, an alliance of organizations that surveyed electoral candidates on gay and lesbian issues, are fairly complete and contain important background information about the formation of HRL's political action committee in 1997. Information about the Domestic Partnership Task Force, which sought to establish a city registry for domestic partnerships and secure domestic partnership benefits for city of Milwaukee employees, is contained in a single folder and found in HRL newsletters.