Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

National LGBT Bar Association's Lavender Law Conference

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | August 25, 2010 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: Lavender Law, law, lawyers, legal, LGBT Bar Association, Transgender Law Institute

Every year, the sharpest legal minds in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community gather at the National LGBT Bar Association's annual Lavender Law conference and career fair.

It's happening tomorrow through Saturday in Miami Beach. Miami in August? What were you thinking, National LGBT Bar Association? The weather's going to be in the 90s, and humid. I've got my bathing suit. I think I'll be leading some seminars over at the pool.

Hundreds of practicing attorneys, dozens of scholars, over 500 students and many leading members of the judiciary are expected to attend over the course of this year's events.

And Thursday is the Transgender Law Institute, an all-day workshop on trans legal issues for practitioners and academics in the field. We've been planning it over the last six months or so, and I'm really looking forward to it.

There's several other fascinating items about the conference after the jump.

The highlights of the conference on Thursday are the Career Fair (great for law students looking for a job), the Transgender Law Institute (here's the agenda and a list of resources available for download; we've got 75 people coming!), the Family Law Institute, the Intellectual Property Symposium, and the Corporate Counsel meeting (I know a lot of attorneys who would love this 9-5 gig).

That night, Jon Davidson, the Legal Director for Lambda Legal, is getting the Dan Bradley Award. There will also be recognition of the Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40.

There's some cool plenaries, including "Real Change: LGBT Issues and the Administration," "Relationship Recognition: Ends, Means, and the Path Ahead," and "Straight Allies Speak Out: Will Diversity in the Profession be the Biggest Casualty of the Recession?"

Here's a list of all the workshops. I'm thinking of going to "Putting T Issues Front & Center," "Practicing Employment Law & Winning For Your Clients: Perspectives from Both Sides of the Table," "Transgender Mentorship Panel: Building Future Leaders," and "LGBT Youth in Foster Care and Juvenile Justice."

There's also the Michael Greenberg Student Writing Competition Awards, won this year by Tina Sohaili, University of Southern California Gould School of Law, who wrote "Securing Safe Schools: Using Title IX Liability to Address Peer Harassment of Transgender Students." Two runners-up also wrote some interesting papers. Maureen Brocco, University of Maryland School of Law, wrote "Familiar Stories: An International Suggestion for LGB Family Military Benefits After the Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and Alison Davidian, Harvard Law School, wrote "Beyond the Locker Room: Changing Narratives on Early Surgery for Intersex Children."

The Student Leadership Award this year is given to C. Hays Burchfield, a recent grad of the University of Mississippi Law School. Burchfield worked aggressively to create an OUTlaw group at Ole Miss. He also assisted the ACLU of Mississippi with legal research surrounding Constance McMillen's right to attend prom with her girlfriend, Ceara Sturgis' desire to wear a tuxedo in her yearbook senior picture, and the right of Juin Baizea (a transgender student) to attend public high school wearing "traditionally female attire." The runner-up, Danielle Hawkes, is a recent graduate from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. She co-founded a LGBT legal clinic in Salt Lake City (!)

The rest of the time, you can find me at the pool.

The full agenda can be found here.


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Why do they always make conferences in these horrible climes? Netroots Nation in Vegas in July. Creating Change this year is in Minneapolis in early February. Do they just go for the whole "how cheap can we get the off season prices?" route?

Looking at the Transgender Law Institute's agenda it appears that the "...the sharpest legal minds in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community..." don't seem to think that the marriages of heterosexual post ops are worth discussing. Not surprising really.

It's not that Susan. Marriage rights are definitely important, but we only have time for so much in the day, and we had to make choices. We went with the issues that the conference committee felt to be most common for trans clients, and most rapidly developing in the law. From a lawyer's point of view, the issues of employment, identity docs, health care and sex segregation are likely to come up more often and there's lots happening legally in those areas.

Dr. Jillian T. Weiss
> Marriage rights are definitely important, but we only have
> time for so much in the day, and we had to make choices. We went
> with the issues that the conference committee felt to be most
> common for trans clients, and most rapidly developing in the
> law. From a lawyer's point of view, the issues of employment,
> identity docs, health care and sex segregation are likely to
> come up more often and there's lots happening legally in those
> areas.

So, despite huge areas of the nation remaining where women with a history of transsexuality cannot marry without at least facing a major legal battle, and with two cases running in Texas and on the networks, and an attorney in one of them at the conference, it was a minority concern. Decided on the numbers of customers who walk through the doors.

On that basis, of course, such women, or men, will never feature, the vast numbers corralled under the trans umbrella, and peripheral throngs will always dominate numerically and in problems.

How fortunate for us and many more that we got so far elsewhere before transgender became an umbrella.

polargirl360 | August 25, 2010 3:11 PM

Will transgender women in men's prisons be addressed there? I emailed the following to Dr. Weiss and got an intital acknowledgement reply but no answer yet. I really hope the opportunity to discuss this strategy is taken advantage of at the legal conference.


I remember reading about a movement in the early 1800s that passed a federal law that banned housing female inmates with male inmates. I am sure that law is still in effect today. I’m not certain of the specific federal statute.

I remember reading your article on the new passport regulations implemented by the Obama administration. If a pre-op transsexual or non-op transgender woman has the gender on her passport changed, she should be able to sue in federal court for violating federal law that forbids housing female inmates with male inmates.

A legally obtained United States passport has always been treated as prima facie evidence of legal federal identity in all matters including name, birth date (age), US citizenship and of course sex. If the courts set a case law precedent against treating passports as such, it would create the dangerous precedent of undermining homeland security and other sensitive federal government national security functions. Even the most conservative of federal judges would be extremely reluctant to do that!

My bad, Polargirl. Its been nonstop over here. No rest for the weary. I hope to address this issues soon more comprehensively.

polargirl360 | August 25, 2010 5:11 PM

Will it be addessed at this convention?

It would be tragic to have to wait until next year's convention to address this. A year delay adds up to a lot of abuse for these government financed sex slaves!

Yes, it will be addressed, but don't expect that means the situation will be rectified soon. We will discuss legal arguments and precedents, but that doesn't guarantee a win in litigation or a change in the law.

polargirl360 | August 25, 2010 3:37 PM

Will transgender women in men's prisons be addressed there? I emailed the following to Dr. Weiss and got an intital acknowledgement reply but no answer yet. I really hope the opportunity to discuss this strategy is taken advantage of at the legal conference.


I remember reading about a movement in the early 1800s that passed a federal law that banned housing female inmates with male inmates. I am sure that law is still in effect today. I’m not certain of the specific federal statute.

I remember reading your article on the new passport regulations implemented by the Obama administration. If a pre-op transsexual or non-op transgender woman has the gender on her passport changed, she should be able to sue in federal court for violating federal law that forbids housing female inmates with male inmates.

A legally obtained United States passport has always been treated as prima facie evidence of legal federal identity in all matters including name, birth date (age), US citizenship and of course sex. If the courts set a case law precedent against treating passports as such, it would create the dangerous precedent of undermining homeland security and other sensitive federal government national security functions. Even the most conservative of federal judges would be extremely reluctant to do that!