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Michelle Fernandez: President of OUTlaws at Wayne State University Law School, Detroit, MI [By Charisse Dengler] Michelle Fernandez is much more than just a second-year law student. Fernandez, who is President of Wayne State University (WSU) Law School’s OUTlaws, is a passionate supporter of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights who spends the bulk of her time educating her fellow law school students on LGBT issues and fighting to win freedom for members of the LGBT community.

As President of OUTlaws, Fernandez is

The OUTlaws have two main goals. The group

was delighted to hear Montgomery voice

in charge of coming up with activities,

strives to create a safe environment for LGBT

his interest in creating a legal department

overseeing the group’s monthly meetings,

students as well as bringing LGBT issues to

within the Triangle Foundation. Shortly after

working on the group’s website, and

the attention of WSU students and faculty.

their conversation, Montgomery did indeed develop the department, and Fernandez was

welcoming people into the group. Generally,

able to come aboard as an intern.

though, she works hand in hand with the

“The OUTlaws want to show people that

group’s vice president on each of these tasks

being gay will not ruin your life and that

and anything else that might come up.

things really need to change,” Fernandez

“The experience thus far has involved me

said. “Striving towards these two objectives

tackling the much needed clerical work.

“The most important part of the OUTlaws

has caused us to collaborate with other

After all, a business can not run smoothly

is making a safe environment for LGBT

schools, such as the WSU undergraduate

without a concrete system to rely upon. Since

students, as well as having allies,”

LGBT group, University of Michigan OUTlaws,

the project is new, we are in the midst of

Fernandez said. “It is important to make the

University of Detroit LGBT group, and

developing the aforementioned system,” she

students feel safe. We are a support group

Cooley’s group as well. Working together

said. “Our goal is to personally help clients

when necessary and can easily become a

with similar organizations helps ensure our

coming to us and also continue to refer them

study group during finals. We also work

issues will permeate all areas and not just

to lawyers, social workers, shelters, etc. that

to bring LGBT issues out in the open to

within the scope of the WSU law school.”

will look beyond their sexual orientation and help with the matter at hand. Triangle has

the students and faculty of Wayne State Throughout the year, the OUTlaws try to

been working diligently from the beginning

hold as many school-wide meetings and

to ensure that the LGBT community is given

For Fernandez, creating a climate of

discussion groups as possible in order to

the proper attention. Homosexual individuals

acceptance and support within the OUTlaws

bring LGBT issues to the forefront of the

are discriminated against enough as it is,

is of utmost importance because it was the

law students’ minds. They also attend the

and Triangle has taken the stance to help

group’s initial acceptance of her that led to

Lavender law conference, sponsor Diversity

ameliorate the problem.”

some of the most valuable friendships she

Day, and host panel discussions with notable

has today.

speakers and LGBT representatives.

“I began law school as a nervous first

In addition to her responsibilities as both

community as a civil rights attorney. In this

year like most and needed somewhere to

a law student and president of a student

role, she hopes to be able to put her law

feel comfortable,” she said. “I saw a flier

organization, Fernandez is also currently

school education, real-world experience, and

advertising the OUTlaws’ first meeting of the

interning for the Triangle Foundation, a

personal interests into practice in order to

year. I searched for all of the courage I could

state-wide foundation dedicated to advocacy

make a difference for LGBT people.

muster and went to the meeting not knowing

on behalf of LGBT people. When Fernandez

what to expect. I went in with the fear of

met Jeffrey Montgomery, the organization’s

“I want to bring these people in and let them

being ostracized, and I left with some of the

director, and began talking with him about

know that it will be ok and personally be part

best friends I have ever had.”

her opinions on current legal issues, she

of making them feel better. I understand that

University.”

Upon graduation, Fernandez plans to continue her fight on behalf of the LGBT

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STUDENT PROFILE

the courts are not that cut and dry, and I’m

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not going out there to learn that; but this is something I have a passion for, and I want

The Triangle Foundation

nothing more than to dive in,” she said.

www.tri.org

“I am vehement about LGBT issues or any

Wayne State University Law School

other discriminatory cases for that matter. I

www.law.wayne.edu

want to help those who have been wronged and help change the law so people can finally

Wayne State University Student

be treated with equality,” she said. “I’m

Organizations

definitely not naïve and understand that I am

www.law.wayne.edu/current/student_

not going to save the world, but I would like

organizations.html

to use my legal knowledge for this purpose and claim self-worth along the way.”

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Michelle Fernandez: President of OUTlaws at Wayne State University Law School, Detroit, MI  

All About Michelle Fernandez The President Of Outlaws At Wayne State University Law School, Detroit, MI.And Information About Second-Year La...

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