FFRF Action Fund celebrates Dane Co. as sanctuary for trans people


FFRF Action Fund applauds the passage of Resolution 074, making Dane County, Wis., a sanctuary for trans and nonbinary individuals. FFRF Action Fund, the advocacy arm of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, is based in Dane County. 

The Dane County Board of Supervisors approved Resolution 074 by a 25-to-1 vote on June 15. The resolution declares that the Board of Supervisors is committed to protecting transgender and nonbinary individuals, declares health care a fundamental human right (including gender-affirming care), urges law enforcement to deem enforcing any potential criminal or civil punishments or fines as their lowest priority, and encourages other municipal bodies and school boards in Dane County to join in support of trans and nonbinary residents. 

FFRF Action Fund cheers Dane County for taking this step to be more welcoming to the trans community, rather than caving to theocratic hate.

“Legislation targeting transgender individuals, families, and communities is being promulgated nationwide in the name of religious morality, making it a state/church matter whereby legislators are using their civil office to impose their personal religiously based beliefs on unwilling citizens,” FFRF Equal Justice Fellow Kat Grant wrote to the board of supervisors prior to the vote.

The resolution is significant, as recent studies, such as Pew Research Center’s July 2022 survey, have shown that religiously unaffiliated Americans believe that society isn’t accepting enough of transgender individuals, while white evangelical Protestants are the least accepting. This has led to a flood of anti-trans legislation, creating a growing internal refugee crisis in the United states. According to recent polling done by Data For Progress, 8 percent of transgender adults have left their home states or communities as a result of anti-trans legislation, and an additional 43 percent are considering leaving. This polling does not account for the parents of transgender children who are making the choice to leave their home states to protect their families.

As the resolution details, legislative attacks around the nation include prohibitions on gender-affirming care, including blocking insurance coverage, prohibitions against using public facilities such as bathrooms and locker rooms, bars on trans students from participating in sports, and limits on gender information on IDs, drivers’ licenses and other documents. About 14,000 transgender people in Wisconsin lack employment protections based on gender identity, 6,000 are unprotected in education, 21,000 lack protections in public accommodations, and 19,000 lack protections in housing, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

“This is an important step for Dane County to take,” says FFRF Action Fund President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “It’s chilling to see the rapidly shrinking number of places where trans individuals can feel safe in America. The resolution sends the needed message to individuals who live here or who are seeking asylum that Dane County is a safe, welcoming place, free from prosecution.”

FFRF Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization that develops and advocates for legislation, regulations and government programs to preserve the constitutional principle of separation between state and church. It also advocates for the rights and views of nonbelievers, endorses candidates for political office, and publicizes the views of elected officials concerning religious liberty issues.