Wisconsin Governor Issues Executive Order on ‘Gender Identity or Expression’ on First Day in Office

In one of his first acts in office, Gov. Tony Evers (D-WI) signed an executive order seeking to prohibit discrimination on the basis of “gender identity or expression” in state agencies.

Executive Order #1 states that it “is the expressed policy of my administration that the executive branch should prevent discrimination and harassment against any class of citizens because of age, race, religion, color, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression,” and so forth.

The order is not yet available online, likely because Evers was just sworn in Monday, but he posted a picture of it to his Facebook page.

“In addition to the excitement of taking the oath of office today, I had the opportunity to sign my first two executive orders as governor. These orders prevent discrimination in state agencies and recognize the importance of state employees,” Ever said in a Facebook post. “Each person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. This fosters sound government, society, and business, and it’s just the right thing to do.”

According to The Capital Times, the order states that any recipients of government contracts or grants can only hire on the basis of merit, and requires the Equal Employment Opportunity office to develop programs that “emphasize harassment prevention and cultural diversity awareness.”

The executive order was celebrated by several progressive organizations, including the Wisconsin Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

“Discrimination in any form is wrong, and through his actions today—signing his first executive order since taking office—Gov. Evers continues to demonstrate that he will fight day in and day out to uphold the Wisconsin values of fairness, justice, and equality,” said HRC Wisconsin State Director Wendy Strout in a press release.

“We were proud to turn out LGBTQ voters in November to help elect Evers, and thank Fair Wisconsin for their ongoing work to end anti-LGBTQ discrimination across our state,” she added, noting that she looks forward to helping “pass legislation that will finally safeguard protections for transgender Wisconsinites, who are still denied basic and explicit protections from discrimination in the workplace, housing, and public spacing.”

Fair Wisconsin Executive Director Megin McDonell said Evers “heard his constituents loud and clear and took action to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in the workplace.”

“This executive order modernizes our state’s internal policies to make sure Wisconsin government employees are judged solely on their job performance, not who they are or who they love,” she said. “Our state is at its strongest when we’re all free to work hard, earn a decent living, and go about our lives without fear of discrimination.”

Evers’ second executive order calls on state agencies to “actively work to recognize the valuable contributions of state employees, promote positive morale, and foster a collaborative work environment.”

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Tony Evers” by Governor Tony Evers. 







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