History of Gay and Lesbian Life in Wisconsin - People - Bios

Loree Cook-Daniels


Primary Involvements:

Civil Rights Activist





A biographical panel was created by the Milwaukee LGBT History Project about Loree Cook-Daniels, and was featured in a display first appearing at PrideFest 2011. The text from that display is as follows:

    As a civil rights activist, Loree Cook-Daniels is engaged with several issues, including aging, public policy, and LGBT rights. In her early twenties Loree helped organize the historic 1979 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. The march was the first of its kind, drawing approximately 100,000 people who demanded equal civil rights for gays and lesbians. It was also one of the first times that Loree was exposed to transgender identity and issues. During the planning stages, organizers debated whether to include trans people in the march's platform and name, and eventually decided against doing so.

    In 1983 Loree began a seventeen-year relationship with Marcelle Daniels. During the first nine years of their relationship, they confronted and overcame many challenges as an interracial lesbian couple, and Loree rose to prominence as a lesbian-feminist activist. When Marcelle expressed his desire to transition to male, Loree struggled to understand his new identity and its ramifications on her own. However, she knew that she wasn't willing to have him sacrifice his identity in order to be with her. When Marcelle began physically transitioning, Loree began her own transition from lesbian-feminist activist to trans activist.

    Following Marcelle's transition, Loree was excluded by the lesbian community and marginalized by the female-to-male (FTM) community, which consigned her to the role of supporting her man. This did not sit well with Loree. She took the FTM community to task for its failure to support significant others, families, friends, and allies, waging what came to be known as the SOFFA Wars. In the late 1990s Loree and Marcelle worked with like-minded FTM community members like michael munson to organize the inclusive True Spirit conferences. Loree moved to Milwaukee in 2000, where she and munson began co-facilitating FORGE, a national education, advocacy, and support organization for FTMs and SOFFAs. As Loree explains, "We structured Milwaukee's transgender community differently on purpose. We wanted a place where the community was all of us and where we weren't divided so strongly by identity." In 2007, FORGE sponsored the first national FTM/ SOFFA conference to be held in the Midwest. In 2009 it also became the first trans organization to receive a federal grant. Says Loree, "I've really worked hard to try to move people into places of more caring and respectfulness and humanity."

By the initiative of Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson and Supervisor Peter Burgelis, some forty individuals and organizations were recognized by the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors and presented citations in a special meeting on June 22, 2023. "Today, we recommit Milwaukee County to supporting and uplifting the LGBTQ+ community, celebrating those who make a substantial positive impact on the LGBTQ+ community in Milwaukee County," Supervisor Burgelis stated. "Today we are making up for lost time. We have dozens of people to recognize, not because so much has been done in the past year, but because decades and even years ago, there was little to no recognition of the LGBTQ+ community. I am thankful to work with a Chairperson who enables our County Board to honor these well-deserving individuals."

Recognitions were made in the categories of "Community Leaders and Activists," "Government Leaders," "Business and Cultural Leaders," and "Health and Wellness Leaders". Cook-Daniels' citation read as follows:

  • WHEREAS, Loree Cook-Daniels began her career as an LGBTQ activist shortly after coming out in 1975; and WHEREAS, Loree Cook-Daniels's early activism included helping to organize the first LGBT March on Washington as co-chair of the San Francisco March on Washington Committee, as well as developing the first known university-level course on bisexuality in 1979; and
  • WHEREAS, Loree Cook-Daniels received a degree in Women's Studies and History, a master's degree in Conflict Management, and a graduate certificate in Trauma Counseling; and
  • WHEREAS, Loree Cook-Daniels formally devoted her time as contributing editor for the academic journal, Victimization of the Elderly and Disabled, and has authored numerous book chapters, articles, and tip sheets on LGBTQ aging issues; and
  • WHEREAS, Loree Cook-Daniels helped in 2000 to grow FORGE, a support organization which aims to provide resources for transgender youth and adults, including through an online resource center of publications, webinars, and social media posts dedicated to helping transgender survivors of crime and trauma; and
  • WHEREAS, Loree Cook-Daniels is a national leader and advocate for transgender and non-binary communities and has contributed work to numerous federal and nationally focused organizations and advocacy groups, including FORGE; now, therefore,
  • BE IT RESOLVED, the members of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, on the motion of Supervisor Peter Burgelis, along with Supervisors Ryan Clancy, Priscilla E. Coggs-Jones, Willie Johnson, Jr., Felesia A. Martin, Juan Miguel Martinez, Shawn Rolland, Steven Shea, Anthony Staskunas, Liz Sumner, Sequanna Taylor, Steve F. Taylor, Kathleen Vincent, Sheldon A. Wasserman, and Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson do hereby commend Loree Cook-Daniels for her dedicated efforts and contributions to the community, and wish her prosperity, happiness, and continued success in all her personal and professional endeavors.


Biographical panel created for PrideFest 2011

Credits: Bulk of research by Michael Doylen;
website concept and design by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: June-2024.

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