Dane Co. becomes first sanctuary in the nation for trans and nonbinary people

The Dane County Executive Committee approves the county becoming a sanctuary for transgender and nonbinary individuals and voted to do so early Friday morning.
Published: Jun. 16, 2023 at 1:10 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2023 at 9:18 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – The Dane Co. Board of Supervisors wants to ensure transgender and nonbinary people feel safe and protected when they come into the community. To reinforce that notion, the supervisors voted early Friday to declare the county a sanctuary for them.

The resolution that passed in the early morning hours vows to support gender expression and care for transgender children, adults, and their families. Dane Co. is the first county in the country to pass such a resolution.

The proposal was introduced by Dist. 16 Supervisor Rick Rose who explained his goal was to create a safe space for everyone.

“All we are asking for is this. Draw a circle around those family units however they look like and give people protection from any outside fear or threat that may come their way by legislative bodies in specific,” Rose said.

The vote came after a long night of debate during which supporters and opponents of the measure made their case before the board.

Earlier in the day, Wisconsin Family Action President Julaine Appling expressed her reservations about the vote, saying Dane Co. calling itself a sanctuary does more harm than good. She argued that board members should, instead, look toward measures focused on children.

“These are young people who have their entire lives ahead of them but are being encouraged to make decisions that are not reversible about surgeries and about taking cross powerful pharmaceuticals about which we don’t know long term effects,” Appling said, adding that she is worried about the younger generation’s future.

In speaking Thursday night, Rose pushed back indirectly at such positions, explaining that the resolution does not support teens being “groomed, netted, or controlled.”

“It does not advocate that we will allow kids to be exposed to pornographic materials or even participate in sexualized drag queen videos,” he continued.Click here to download the NBC15 News app or our NBC15 First Alert weather app.