New trans parent, non-binary caucus formed at Wisconsin Capitol



(The Center Square) – Wisconsin doesn’t currently have any openly trans lawmakers, but there is a new trans legislative caucus at the statehouse.

State Reps. Melissa Ratcliff, D-Cottage Grove, and Ryan Clancy, D-Milwaukee, on Wednesday announced they are forming the Transgender Parent and Non-Binary Advocacy Caucus.

“In 2023 alone, there have been almost 600 anti-trans bills introduced in states across the country, including here in Wisconsin,” Ratcliff said in a statement. “Violence against transgender people is on the rise. The Transgender Parent and Non-Binary Advocacy Caucus will be a proactive, visible, and active coalition of legislators who share a common goal: to ensure Wisconsin’s trans and non-binary communities are seen, heard, and their rights respected and protected.”

Both Ratcliff and Clancy are parents of trans or non-binary kids.

““As parents of transgender children, we are uniquely positioned and aware of the challenges that our children and other transgender and non-binary children face in our communities. We have seen a trend of anti-trans legislation that [seeks] to invalidate their existence and tries to criminalize life-saving, gender affirming healthcare and we will not allow it in our state,” Clancy said.

The new caucus was announced on the same day that a pair of Republicans, Rep. Barb Dittrich, R-Oconomowoc, and Sen. Dan Knodl, R-Germantown, introduced legislation that would keep trans students out of girls’ sports in Wisconsin.

“Last month’s Marquette poll [said] 71% of Wisconsinites are in favor of laws requiring transgender athletes to compete on teams matching their biological sex as assigned at birth,” Knodl said in a tweet. “This legislation reinforces Title IX and ensures that Wisconsin’s women athletes have equal opportunities.”

“We have formed this caucus to show our trans and non-binary community members that there are people in the Statehouse that see them, respect them, and will fight to protect them,” Clancy responded.

The new Transgender Parent and Non-Binary Advocacy Caucus is separate from Wisconsin’s Legislative LGBTQ+ Caucus.

That group on Wednesday also bashed Knodl and Dittrich’s plan.

“We strongly condemn these bills, and any legislation that attacks LGBTQ+ youth in Wisconsin. Studies have shown that participating in youth sports can lead to lifelong, positive impacts on a child’s physical, mental, emotional, and social health,” the LGBTQ+ Caucus said in a statement of its own.

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