Scholar and activist Richard Wagner was the first openly gay member of the Dane County Board of Supervisors, where he served for fourteen years. In 1983 he was appointed by Governor Tony Earl to co-chair the Governor’s Council on Lesbian and Gay Issues, the first in the nation. In 2005 he joined the Board of Fair Wisconsin to fight the constitutional amendment against marriage equality. Wagner has served on the Wisconsin Arts Board, the Wisconsin Humanities Committee, the Board of Downtown Madison Inc., the Madison Plan Commission, the Madison Urban Design Commission, the Madison Landmarks Commission, Historic Madison, the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation, the Board of the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, and the Board of the Friends of UW Libraries.
He is the author of the book "We've Been Here All Along: Wisconsin's Early Gay History," an illuminating and nuanced picture of Wisconsin's gay history from the reporting on the Oscar Wilde trials of 1895 to the landmark Stonewall Riots of 1969. Throughout these decades, gay Wisconsinites developed identities, created support networks, and found ways to thrive in their communities despite various forms of suppression--from the anti-vice crusades of the early twentieth century, to the post-war labeling of homosexuality as an illness, to the Lavender Scare of the 1950s. In We've Been Here All Along, R. Richard Wagner draws on historical research and materials from his own extensive archive to uncover previously hidden stories of gay Wisconsinites. This book honors their legacy and confirms that they have been fundamental to the development and evolution of the state since its earliest days. His latest book, Coming Out, Moving Forward: Wisconsin's Recent Gay History is due out later this year.
Dick will speak from 6-7 PM. The remaining hour is reserved for sharing and support.