The National Center for Lesbian Rights Newsletter | FALL 2012
California Becomes First State to Protect LGBT Youth from Psychological Abuse When California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1172, co-sponsored by NCLR, California became the first state in the nation to protect LGBT youth from dangerous practices used by therapists to try to change their clients’ sexual orientation or gender expression. A survivor of this psychological abuse shares his story.
ELECTION COVERAGE What President Obama’s Re-election Means for the LGBT Community… PAGE 3
By Ryan Kendall Guest Columnist
Photos by David Barreda
I was at home, deep into studying for my fallsemester class load at Columbia University in New York City, when I got the news that California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1172 into law, protecting young lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth from the same type of psychological abuse that I endured at the hands of mental health professionals who tried to change my sexual orientation. It was a powerful thing to know that we had finally done something to stop the psychological abuse that had a defining impact on my life, and on the lives of too many LGBT youth. I have known I was gay since I was a young boy growing up in a conservative, Christian household in Colorado, where I tried to hide my sexual orientation from everyone around me—including school classmates who tormented me with words like “faggot” because they thought I was different. My parents discovered that I was gay when I was a young teenager—and suddenly the loving home that I had known began to quickly fall apart, with my parents growing increasingly worried and sending me to see Joseph Nicolosi, a Southern California therapist who told them he could make me straight. Instead, my weekly sessions with this man set me on a devastating, decade-long course of self-destruction, as each session made me sink
Ryan Kendall is a survivor of the type of psychological abuse now banned in California. deeper into depression and drove me to the brink of suicide. Eventually, I realized that the only way for me to escape the psychological abuse was to leave home. At 16, when most young people are making college plans, my sole focus became finding a way to stay safe and alive. I was forced to navigate my way through a complex social welfare system, surrendering myself to the Colorado Department of Human Services, and taking legal action to revoke my parents’ custody. Only then did my “therapy” finally end, leaving me to deal with years of depression, substance abuse, and occasional homelessness. It took
more than a decade, but I finally rebuilt my life. Unfortunately, many other young people who are subjected to these abusive practices aren’t so lucky, sinking so deeply into depression that they are never able to see themselves as anything other than the “damaged” people these charlatans make them out to be. I know firsthand how destructive it can be to believe that you are somehow defective or unworthy of love. The truth is simple: I did not choose to be gay any more than I chose to be Hispanic, brown-eyed, or short. There is nothing wrong with who I am, just as there is nothing wrong with the CONTINUED ON PAGE 5…
Impacts of President Obama’s Re-election on LGBT Legislation and Policy
Advancing Family and Parenting Laws
Student Plaintiff Shares Story of Harassment
Update on NCLR’s Active Work
You, Our Devoted Donors, Made a Difference in So Many Lives
OUT FOR JUSTICE
FOLLOW KATE @ Photo by Trish Tunney
Facebook.com/KateKendell Twitter.com/KateKendell KATE’S BLOG
MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
An Amazing Time in Our Movement In the last few months we have witnessed amazing and inspiring progress in the movement for LGBT equality. To begin with, NCLR played a key role in something that is long overdue and will save lives. We helped draft, co-sponsored, and pushed California’s Senate Bill 1172, which bans state-licensed therapists from engaging in the denounced and discredited practice of attempting to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender expression through what has been commonly called “reparative therapy,” but is neither reparative nor therapy. It is psychological abuse, plain and simple. This practice has visited untold harm on thousands of young men and women, who were told by licensed therapists that they were wrong, damaged, and had to change. Because this practice is utterly discredited, there are no standards of care, resulting in these charlatans using drugs, aversion therapy, and who knows what the hell else to force what cannot and should not be changed. In signing the law, California Governor Jerry Brown wrote that “these practices have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery.” Go Jerry! Of course, no good deed goes unpunished, and right away, a number of extreme anti-LGBT groups had a fit. We are now working with the state to defend the law against two different lawsuits claiming the law violates the rights of therapists and parents to expose youth to these damaging practices, which are known to lead to depression and suicide. In response to these absurd claims, bill author State Senator Ted Lieu said “we don’t let children drink whiskey at a bar even if parents consent. We don’t let children buy cigarettes even if their parents consent.” This bill is about protecting young people from demonstrated harm. Period.
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Even as we help defend the law we are working with a number of other states to enact similar protections. We hope very soon that these sorts of repellent practices will go the way of snake oil, medicinal leeches, and witch trials. While this life-saving legislation was in the works, NCLR staff members were working across the country to realize our vision of a world in which all LGBT people can live safely and freely. And of course, we are all elated beyond words by the election. President Barack Obama, who has been a stalwart champion for so many of our issues, won a second term. Marriage equality prevailed in ALL four states—Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington—that faced ballot measures. AND Tammy Baldwin is now Senator Baldwin, the first out LGBT person voted into the U.S. Senate. We know there is so much left to do and that we cannot be satisfied. But under this administration, so much of what we must accomplish will be possible with our hard work, and your unfailing support. Thank you. To an ever brighter future,
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The First Family celebrates President Obama’s re-election on November 6.
Yes, We Really Can—And We Will! President Barack Obama’s re-election signals continued opportunity to work with the administration to advance policy and legislation impacting the lives of LGBT people and their families. By Maya Rupert, Esq. NCLR Policy Director
better than exclusion, because hope is better than cynicism.
This year’s presidential election was so inspiring because President Obama and Mitt Romney presented voters with a clear contrast, and the choice we made says a lot about the kind of country we want to be. And it provided a mandate for the values the President has told us he supports.
Over the past four years, NCLR has had the opportunity to work closely with the Obama administration on a number of important policy changes that impact the lives of LGBT people and their families. Through the actions and priorities of his administration, the President has changed the game, raised the bar, and made history more than once, and we are looking forward to working with him to do it again.
It was a recognition that all families are entitled to equal dignity and respect. It was a demand that our children be able to go to school, and have access to a quality education, and be free from bullying and harassment. It was an acknowledgement that healthcare is a human right, and we must do everything in our power to make sure all patients have access to high quality care free from discrimination. It was a declaration that, especially in this economy, the ability to work and have access to housing are paramount and should never be denied because of discrimination based on race, gender, ability, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity. It was a realization that while government is not the answer to all of our problems, it is certainly also not the cause of all or even most of them. It reaffirmed a simple truth that inclusion is
And as always, NCLR will ensure that work is being done on behalf of every member of our diverse community. We will continue to work to publicize policy changes like the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Equal Access Rule and the Hospital Visitation Regulations to ensure that all people are aware of their new rights under these changes. But we will also work with the administration to strengthen these protections as much as possible. We will get explicit protections from HUD to make sure transgender shelter-seekers are given access to shelters based on their gender identity. We will get clarification from Health and Human Services (HHS) on the issue of medical decision-making to ensure all people are able to designate the proper medical decision-maker, regardless of where they live.
We will prioritize issues of economic justice and security and work with the administration to ensure that all public benefits are fully accessible for LGBT people and families. We will work closely with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to find ways to protect the rights and safety of incarcerated LGBT people as well as those who have been released and are dealing with the challenging process of re-entry. We will work to dismantle the schoolto-prison pipeline that funnels LGBT young people into the juvenile justice system. We will also continue to work with the administration to protect undocumented people and families and ensure that our immigration system aims at keeping families together rather than tearing them apart. We will also continue to work closely with Congress on legislative priorities and to educate lawmakers about the needs of the LGBT community. Our efforts include working to repeal DOMA, keeping students safe from bullying, and federally prohibiting employment and housing discrimination. We congratulate President Obama on a great campaign, and we can’t wait to continue working together on these issues and many more. We’re fired up and ready to go.
OUT FOR JUSTICE
FAMILIES & PARENTING
Protecting LGBT Families Across the Nation NCLR has been at the cutting edge of LGBT family law since our founding in 1977, and we continue to shape the legal landscape and impact laws that benefit LGBT people and their families.
First Civil Union Adoption By Cathy Sakimura, Esq. NCLR Family Protection Project Director
Since NCLR’s founding 35 years ago, we have worked to advance family law for LGBT people and their families. NCLR has helped change the law in numerous states over the years, including prohibiting courts from taking custody away from a parent just because of his or her sexual orientation, allowing same-sex couples to adopt, ensuring that transgender parents are recognized and protected, and recognizing all non-biological and nonadoptive parents as legal parents of their children. Although there is still much work to do before every family is fully recognized under the law, we have had tremendous successes in advancing families’ rights. Here are a few of our recent family law victories.
Equal Access to Fertility Services In September, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill ensuring that same-sex couples and transgender individuals have equal access to the same fertility services available to different-sex couples. Under current law, same-sex couples and transgender people who use a known sperm donor must use frozen sperm, and the donor must be re-tested for STDs each month, while different-sex couples using fertility services are able to access more affordable and effective services using fresh sperm. This new law allows providers to offer this service equally to all couples and individuals. Many lesbian and bisexual women and transgender people conceive children using known donors, and were unable to access this more affordable and effective service. Many intended parents who would not otherwise be able to afford any fertility services will be able to access safer and more effective procedures under this new law. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2013. NCLR co-sponsored this bill, which was authored by Senator Mark Leno.
More at: NCLRights.org/FertilityBill
A. and K. are a same-sex couple in Hawaii who conceived a child through assisted reproduction with an anonymous donor. They sought a second parent adoption to protect both of their rights as parents but were denied because they were not married. Although courts in Honolulu had been granting second parent adoptions for years, courts in more rural areas in Hawaii, like where A. and K. lived with their son, had begun denying these adoptions. NCLR represented A. and K. in their appeal. While their case was pending, Hawaii passed a civil union law with all the rights of marriage under state law. NCLR helped them change their case to seek a civil union adoption. Earlier this year, their adoption was granted. It is believed to be the first civil union adoption completed in Hawaii. A. and K. were represented by NCLR and Hawaii Attorney Raymond Zeason.
Established Protections for Non-Biological Mothers Bani Chatterjee and her partner, Taya King, were in a committed, longterm relationship and decided to raise a child together through international adoption. Because they could not adopt jointly due to discrimination against same-sex couples, only Taya legally adopted their child from abroad. Over the next nine years, Taya and Bani parented their daughter, and Bani supported the family financially. When Bani and Taya ended their relationship, Taya tried to prevent Bani from having any contact with their child. Bani went to court to be recognized as her daughter’s parent and to ask for visitation. NCLR represented Bani in her appeal, and on June 1, 2012, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that when a same-sex couple raises a child together, they are both full legal parents. Bani Chatterjee was represented by NCLR and New Mexico attorneys Caren I. Friedman and N. Lynn Perls, and initially represented by New Mexico attorney Jerome Ginsburg.
More at: NCLRights.org/Chatterjee_v_King
MASSACHUSETTS MARYLAND Recognition of Out-of-State Domestic Partnerships A.E.H. and M.R. are a same-sex couple who registered as Domestic Partners in California before they moved to Massachusetts. They had two children through assisted reproduction. After the women’s relationship ended, the birth mother tried to prevent the non-biological mother from having any contact with the children. A.E.H., the non-biological mother, asked the court to recognize her as the children’s mother. In September, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that California Registered Domestic Partnerships must be recognized as marriages in Massachusetts, and that both women were mothers of the children. A.E.H. was represented by Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders and Massachusetts attorney Patience Crozier. NCLR filed an amicus brief on behalf of 18 California family law professors explaining why California domestic partnerships should be recognized as marriages in Massachusetts.
NCLR Case Ensures that Maryland Will Fully Protect Same-Sex Couples Who Marry in Other States In 2008, Maryland residents Jessica Port and Virginia Anne Cowan traveled to California to marry. Unfortunately, their relationship ended and they made the difficult decision to file for divorce in Maryland in 2010. The court denied their divorce petition, saying that Maryland does not allow samesex couples to marry. On May 18, 2012, the highest court in Maryland unanimously ruled that Maryland must recognize and protect same-sex couples who marry in other states. NCLR and Maryland attorney Michele Zavos represented Port. Lambda Legal and Maryland attorneys Mark Scurti and Leslie Stellman represented Cowan.
More at: NCLRights.org/Port_v_Cowan
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
Cases Across the Country There are numerous other NCLR cases involving LGBT parents that you may never hear about. Cases involving children are often confidential and cannot be publicly discussed. We are committed to taking on cases where we are needed most—regardless of whether we’ll be able to make our involvement known. These cases occur all over the country and involve lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender parents who are being denied custody because of their sexual orientation or gender identity or because they are not biologically related to their children, as well as custody cases involving transgender children where one parent wants to prevent their child from expressing his or her gender identity.
More at: NCLRights.org/FamiliesandParenting
other lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth who are still being harmed by these discredited practices, which include the use of shame and aversion techniques. Every day, more families across the country are destroyed, and more young people lose the chance to grow up knowing they are deserving of love and support just as they are due to these dangerous practices. Over the years, I’ve become increasingly vocal about my personal journey—from testifying during the Proposition 8 trial in 2010 to recently sharing my story with members of the California State legislature as they decided the fate of SB 1172. September 29, 2012 was an important day, because that was the day California Governor Jerry Brown signed this important bill into law. That was the day that we put into place a vital protection for our youth. As NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell put it, “we need and deserve a society where parents are not duped by fraudulent claims that sexual orientation or gender expression can or should be changed. Our kids deserve a society where they are not made ashamed of who they are, and where they cannot be harmed by state-licensed therapists.” I cannot describe how deeply moving that is for me. I also know that our work is not done. Two federal lawsuits—one of which includes Joseph Nicolosi as a plaintiff—have been filed challenging the new law. NCLR is part of the incredible legal team—including the law firm of Munger Tolles & Olson LLP—that is representing Equality California to defend the law in court. The world is changing for LGBT youth, and we must be the people who change it.
OUT FOR JUSTICE
A High School Student Harassed Because He is Gay Speaks Out In August, NCLR filed a federal lawsuit challenging Indianapolis Public Schools’ failure to protect openly gay former student, Dynasty Young, who faced severe and relentless harassment at school throughout the 2011-2012 school year. “flamboyantly,” and even suggested that I change everything about me to avoid being the target of hate and threats of violence. No one should ever be told that who they are is bad, and despite my mom’s encouraging words, I couldn’t help but question my self worth, especially after the constant harassment escalated into people threatening to physically hurt me.
Photos by Sally Atkins
My mom has always been my biggest supporter, and, like any caring mother, couldn’t stand by while no one helped protect me from the dangers of getting attacked. She found what’s called a “self-protection flashlight”—a small device that emits a light, a loud noise and a weak charge when it’s set off—at a neighborhood store.
Dynasty Young is now enrolled in a charter school that is not affiliated with the school district where he endured relentless harassment.
By Dynasty Young Guest Columnist
Before last year, I had little to fear in high school. I came out a couple of years earlier when I was a freshman, and couldn’t imagine that people who didn’t even know me could have so much hate built up against me. But I soon learned that wasn’t true. After enrolling in Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis, I faced constant name calling and threats just because I have a unique style and I’m gay. What made things worse is that the harassment wasn’t only at the hands of other students, but also came from school leaders, who told me I was to blame because I’m “flamboyant” and I could stop the name calling, the spitting, the rock throwing, and the bottle throwing by acting like other male teenagers. Now at 18, I’ve known I was gay since I was a young boy. Few people were surprised when I finally built up the courage—something I got from my mom, who is one of the most courageous people I’ve ever met—to finally say the words aloud to others when I was about 14. When I came out to my mom, she said, “I don’t care if any of my children are gay, straight, bisexual or transgender. I love each of you as you are, and will always stand beside you and will never turn my back on you.” Her words were what I needed at that time, and I needed them even more over the last year since enrolling at Arsenal Technical High School for 11th
grade, and experiencing a type of harassment and hate I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I was excited when I first walked onto campus— after all, I really liked school and was looking forward to meeting new people in a new school where I planned on making lifelong friendships. Even though we wore school uniforms, I accessorized, wearing my favorite pieces to make my outfit more stylish—great shoes, bangle bracelets, and my favorite handbag that I used to put my school supplies in. When other students saw me, many yelled “faggot!” But that wasn’t the worst of it. Eventually they were spitting as I walked down the halls. Throwing rocks at me as I tried to get home after school. Hurling bottles. No one my age ever wants to turn to their mother to say: “I’m getting harassed and threatened because I’m gay and I need you.” But I remembered my mom telling me she would always stand beside me, and eventually I asked her for help. My mother and I went to the school administrators to tell them about the harassment. We were shocked when they blamed me for what was happening, because they thought I dressed too
One day last spring, as I was headed to class, six other students surrounded me to attack. Afraid for my life, I held the device in the air and activated it. The noise caused my would-be attackers to run away. But instead of locating the students who had threatened me, school leaders targeted me again, suspending me from school for trying to prevent the attack that I had told them I feared, and later expelling me. For months, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get my life back on track, but with the help of my mom and attorneys from the National Center for Lesbian Rights, I’ve enrolled into a charter school that’s not associated with Indianapolis Public Schools. I also filed a lawsuit against my former school so that other LGBT youth will not be left to face daily harassment and abuse alone, without support or protection from the adults around them. I’ve been through a lot over the last year, but with my mom’s support, I’m rebuilding my inner strength, and even getting my spirit back. Through it all, my mom taught me to have pride in myself and if that pride comes from within, no one could ever knock me down. (Originally published in the Indianapolis Star) More on the case at: NCLRights.org/Young_v_IPS
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THEAGENDA THE LATEST ON NCLR LEGISLATION, LITIGATION, ADVOCACY, EDUCATION, TRAININGS, AND MORE…
The Agenda Explained… The Agenda offers highlights and updates on our litigation as well as legislation, policy, public advocacy, public education, and trainings. Arrangement of Highlights Content is grouped and arranged by issue area (e.g., Elder Law, Marriage, Youth, etc.). When possible, we’ve included a link to indicate additional content for a particular highlight on our website.
Quick Reference Graphics Icons and labels make for quicker identification of the type and location of the highlights and updates. And victories, losses, and pending cases have been labeled as such in green, red, and blue. QR Codes Each issue area includes a QR code. Simply scan a code with your smart phone or tablet and instantly be taken to information pertaining to that issue on our website.
SCAN QR CODES for More Information on Each Issue.
Building Coalitions for Low-Income LGBT Elders and LGBT Elders of Color LEGISLATION
AB 641 – Medicaid Spousal Impoverishment Bill Drafted and passed a California law mandating full protections for low-income LGBT elders who have Medicaid.
Co-sponsored several meetings and panel discussions addressing the needs of low-income LGBT elders and LGBT elders of color.
Navigating the System: Guide for LGBT Elders Created the first-ever California-specific “know your rights” guide for LGBT elders. Read more: NCLRights.org/LGBT_Elder_Guide
EMPLOYMENT LITIGATION VICTORY
California Association of Health Facilities CA
In re M. Successfully obtained in-home care services for a transgender elder previously denied assistance for his disabilities.
Drafted newsletter and presented at the California Association of Health Facilities annual convention to increase LGBT cultural competency.
Transcending Boundaries Conference LITIGATION VICTORY
Wyatt, Jamie Won Medicare benefits for an elder transwoman who faced denial because of DOMA. Read more: NCLRights.org/Jamie_Wyatt
California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA) PUBLIC EDUCATION
Read more: NCLRights.org/In_re_M
Presented on several topics on the legal rights of LGBT and gender-nonconforming elders, and employment rights for gender non-conforming and bisexual employees.
Presented on a panel to provide low-income LGBT workers information about employment rights.
FAMILIES & PARENTING
San Francisco LGBT Elder Task Force Worked in coalition that successfully urged San Francisco to create a legislative task force regarding LGBT elder issues.
LGBT Long-Term Care Publication Co-produced a groundbreaking study and report on discrimination faced by LGBT people in nursing homes. Read more: NCLRights.org/Longterm_Care
Pro Bono Family Law Marriage Webinar Presented a national webinar for pro bono attorneys on marriage for same-sex couples.
FAMILIES & PARENTING CONTINUED NEXT PAGE…
OUT FOR JUSTICE
THEAGENDA continued… LEGISLATION
AB 2356 – Equal Access to Fertility Medical Care
S.Y. v. S.B.
Co-sponsored and passed a California bill that would ensure that single women and women in same-sex relationships have equal access to fertility services.
Filed an amicus brief in a case that recognized both same-sex parents when only one was able to adopt. Read more: NCLRights.org/SY_v_SB
Alex R., Andrea C. Representing a Salvadoran transgender woman in asylum proceedings.
T.M.H. v. D.M.T.
SB 1476 – Family Law: Parentage Co-sponsored a California bill vetoed by the Governor that would have permitted courts to recognize more than two parents if required to protect a child’s best interests.
Filed an amicus brief in Florida arguing that same-sex couples that conceive a child through assisted reproduction should be recognized as the child’s legal parents. Read more: NCLRights.org/TMH_v_DMT
Angeles M. Assisted a lesbian who faced verbal and physical abuse due to sexual orientation. After being detained by ICE for more than a year at Yuba County Jail, she was granted withholding of removal.
Karen Atala Riffo v. Chile Joined an amicus brief in a successful case against Chile for denying a lesbian mother custody of her children. Read more: NCLRights.org/Riffo_v_Chile
Berera v. Holder TRAININGS
Charisma R. v. Kristina S. Representing a non-biological mother who has been recognized as a parent in her ongoing custody case. Read more: NCLRights.org/CharismaR_v_KristinaS
California Association of Health Facilities Annual Convention Presented on ways to increase cultural competency for LGBT elders and legal rights for LGBT elders.
Filed an amicus brief on behalf of a Mexican transgender woman originally denied asylum even though she faces persecution based on her gender identity.
Fabrizio G. Representing a transgender man from Peru seeking asylum. He suffered persecution due to his gender identity and sexual orientation.
Hospital Visitation Rules LITIGATION VICTORY
Chatterjee v. King Represented a non-adoptive mother in a successful case establishing that same-sex parents raising children are both recognized as parents under New Mexico law. Read more: NCLRights.org/Chatterjee_v_King
Led efforts with U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to issue a rule ensuring that all patients and families have equal hospital visitation privileges, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.
Stormans, Inc. v. Selecky LITIGATION VICTORY
Adoption of Male Child (HI) Represented same-sex parents who were granted a civil union adoption in Hawaii.
Filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit supporting rules requiring Washington pharmacies to timely deliver prescriptions and prohibiting refusals to fill prescriptions based on personal objections.
Gerardo P., Fidel C., Antonio T., Gerardo Z., Daniel V. Assisted five gay men from Mexico who suffered various levels of verbal, physical, and sexual abuse at the hands of strangers, police, and relatives due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
In re S.K. Filed an amicus brief in support of a Pakistani gay man who was originally denied asylum relief on the basis that he could escape persecution by hiding his sexuality.
Read more: NCLRights.org/HI_Second_Parent
Read more: NCLRights.org/In_re_SK
First Successful Trans Kids Custody Case Co-counseled one of the first successful custody cases on behalf of the parent of a transgender child.
Iowa Department of Public Health v. Gartner Filed an amicus brief in Iowa arguing that when same-sex spouses have children, both spouses are recognized as legal parents. Read more: NCLRights.org/IowaDPH_v_Gartner
HUD LGBT Equal Access Rule Led efforts with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to issue a rule prohibiting anti-LGBT housing discrimination in public housing and in HUD programs and services.
J.G. After the Board of Immigration Appeals granted a motion to reopen his asylum case, his case has now been remanded to Immigration Court.
In re Sergio Garcia
Obtained withholding of removal for a lesbian who suffered physical, verbal and sexual harm due to her gender identity and sexual orientation.
Filed an amicus brief in California supporting the Committee of Bar Examiners recommendation of Sergio C. Garcia, an undocumented immigrant, for admission to the California State Bar.
Jose S., Nestor R. Assisting two gay men with applications for asylum. Facing verbal and physical abuse since a young age, they fled to the U.S. when police refused to offer any protection.
H.B. 438 – Civil Marriage Protection Act Helped draft and worked closely with the state legislature to pass a marriage equality bill in Maryland through a strong and diverse coalition of supporters.
Representing a Colombian gay man with his U visa application.
Perry v. Brown
Read more: NCLRights.org/Perry_v_Brown
Apilado v. North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance Obtained a settlement that reinstated three bisexual players disqualified from the Gay Softball World Series.
Nike LGBT Sports Summit Led national sports organizations, in conjunction with Nike, to address LGBT issues in sports.
Port v. Cowan
Representing a Salvadoran lesbian with her U visa application.
Appealed and won a Maryland judge’s denial of a divorce to two women who validly married in California.
Pamela B. Filed a U visa application for transgender woman after she was attacked and left with head injuries on the streets of San Francisco.
Filed an amicus brief in a California case that established new protections for unmarried partners who are wrongfully prevented from inheriting from each other.
Stephanie G., Joana S., Dayana C. Assisting three transgender women who suffered persecution due to sexual orientation and/or gender identity. They fled to the U.S. after their lives were threatened. All have applied for asylum.
Estate of Ellyn Farley Successfully established a lesbian widow as the administrator of her deceased wife’s estate in Illinois, based on their Canadian marriage and the Illinois Civil Union law. Read more: NCLRights.org/EllynFarley_Estate
North American Gay Athletic Association World Series
Routledge Handbook of Sport, Gender and Sexuality
Read more: NCLRights.org/Beckwith_v_Dahl
Moderated a workshop about homophobia in sports and the future of LGBT athletics.
Beckwith v. Dahl
Assisting a lesbian who faced verbal, physical and sexual harm in her home country due to her sexual orientation.
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Sports Collaborative
Participated in coalition with top academic researchers and LGBT sports activists to create strategic plan regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.
Read more: NCLRights.org/Port_v_Cowan
Read more: NCLRights.org/Apilado_v_NAGAAA
Filed an amicus brief in Perry v. Brown asking federal appeals court to overturn Prop. 8.
Defending the rights of a lesbian widow whose marriage and inheritance rights are being challenged by her deceased wife’s employer and family.
Cozen O’Conner, P.C. v. Jennifer J. Tobits, et al.
Read more: NCLRights.org/Cozen_v_Tobits
Won asylum for transgender women who faced verbal, physical and sexual abuse in their home country due to their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Jocelyn M., Alexa
Wrote a chapter entitled “Joining the Team: The Inclusion of Transgender Students in U.S. School-Based Athletics” for the Routledge Handbook of Sports, Gender and Sexuality.
OUT FOR JUSTICE
THEAGENDA continued… TRANSGENDER LAW
Doe v. Anoka-Hennepin School District and E.R. v. Anoka-Hennepin School District
Adams v. Federal Bureau of Prisons Litigated and settled a case that ensured proper care for transgender prisoners housed in the federal prison system throughout the country.
Filed and settled a federal lawsuit on behalf of six students challenging the hostile antiLGBT environment in Minnesota’s largest school district.
Transgender Student-Athlete Policy Wrote the NCAA Inclusion of Transgender Student-Athletes policy and best practices manual for their 1,200 member institutions.
Filed federal lawsuit challenging school district’s discrimination against and failure to protect an openly gay student who was harassed based on his sexual orientation and gender nonconformity.
Assisted with filing of a complaint with the U.S. Office of Civil Rights and the Department of Justice regarding a school bullying issue in Alaska.
Presented on several topics, including employment rights for transgender and gender nonconforming youth, and facilitated discussion about insurance issues.
San Francisco District Attorney’s AntiBullying Video Challenge Worked in coalition with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Women’s Steering Committee to launch a video contest for youth to address bullying and develop positive responses to harassment.
ADDITIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS CA
John Doe v. Arcadia Unified School District Filed complaint with the U.S. Office of Civil Rights and Department of Justice on behalf of a young transgender boy who was denied access to the boys’ restroom and locker room.
Read more: NCLRights.org/Howe_v_Haslam
National Queer API Alliance Presented on several topics, including a know your rights workshop for immigrants and low-income LGBT individuals and families.
Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice Conference
Bureau of Prisons, FCC Memphis
LGBT Inclusive PREA Rule Worked with DOJ to ensure that final rules regarding the Prison Rape Elimination Act included protections for incarcerated LGBT victims of sexual assault.
In re D.B.
Read more: NCLRights.org/In_re_DB
Read more: NCLRights.org/Doe_v_Reed
Filed a brief in a case overturning a statutory rape charge against a 12-year-old boy for consensual acts with a same-aged boy.
Filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, opposing concealment of the names of petition-signers for anti-gay Washington State referendum.
Presented at the Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice Conference on advancing racial and economic justice in LGBT advocacy.
Doe v. Reed
Filed a lawsuit challenging a Tennessee state law banning local anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people.
Gender Odyssey Conference
Howe v. Haslam
Presented on several topics—including identity documents and name and gender changes for minors and insurance issues— at the family conference.
Read more: NCLRights.org/Doe_v_Jindal
Read more: NCLRights.org/DYvIPS
Gender Spectrum Conference
Filed an amicus brief in a successful challenge to a criminal law in Louisiana that impermissibly labeled LGBT people as sex offenders.
D.Y. v. Indianapolis Public Schools POLICY ADVOCACY
Doe v. Jindal
Read more: NCLRights.org/AHSD
Read more: NCLRights.org/Adams_v_FBP
SB 1172 - Limiting Sexual Orientation Conversion “Treatment” Co-sponsored and passed a California bill that bans therapists from using abusive and discredited practices to attempt to change the sexual orientation of LGBT minors.
Presented to employees at the Federal Correctional Complex in Memphis, TN. to increase awareness about LGBT issues.
LGBT Competency for Legal Aid Training Project With CRLA, created an LGBT cultural competency program for legal aid offices being piloted in California.
SHOP NCLR! SUPPORT THE FIGHT FOR JUSTICE!
Presented on several topics, including serving low-income clients and family law issues for low income clients, legal issues affecting transgender youth, the school-to-prison pipeline and LGBT youth.
NCLR Welcomes New Staff and Board Members NCLR has a number of new faces on its staff and Board of Directors, and we’re excited to tell you more about the leaders working to advance LGBT equality for you and your loved ones.
NCLR BOARD & STAFF Board of Directors Angela Berry Tamika Butler, Esq. Stacey Camillo, J.D., Co-chair Elizabeth Deeley, Esq. Erin Dominguez, Esq. Dorothy Fernandez, Esq., Co-chair Thelma Garza, J.D. Gareth Gill Kelly McCown, Esq. Leigh Morgan Michelle Ortiz Andrea Palash, Esq. Stacy Parson Maya Philipson
Geoff Kors Senior Legislative and Policy Strategist Long-time LGBT movement leader Geoff Kors joined NCLR’s staff in August as Senior Legislative and Policy Strategist, working with State Legislative Director Connie Utada and Policy Director Maya Rupert to strengthen and expand the organization’s advocacy on national, state, and local legislative and policy initiatives. Read more at: NCLRights.org/GeoffKorsJoinsNCLR
Shannan Wilber Youth Project Director NCLR is pleased to announce that Shannan Wilber, one of the nation’s leading social justice advocates for children, will be joining our team in January 2013 to lead our Youth Project. Read more at: NCLRights.org/ShannanWilber JoinsNCLR
Staff Zabrina Aleguire, Esq. Staff Attorney
Gareth Gill Gareth Duncan Gill is the newest member of NCLR’s Board of Directors. He is a licensed civil engineer, having received a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University. He currently works for Vali Cooper & Associates, a construction management and inspection services firm. Prior to that, he spent 20 years working for the California Department of Transportation. Read Gareth’s biography at: NCLRights.org/GarethGill
Andrea Palash Attorney Andrea Palash joined NCLR’s Board of Directors a few months ago. Andrea is a partner at Pierson, Coats, Palash & Paul in San Francisco. Read Andrea’s biography at: NCLRights.org/AndreaPalash
Stacy Parson Stacy Parson recently joined NCLR’s Board of Directors. Stacy is a principal at Knowetry Consulting, where she works with leaders and teams to increase their influence, impact, and satisfaction. Read Stacy’s biography at: NCLRights.org/StacyParson
Connie Utada, Esq. State Legislative Director Ming Wong, Esq. Law Clerk Amy Whelan, Esq. Senior Staff Attorney Bethany Woolman Communications Associate Chris Zaldúa Legal Assistant Dena Zaldúa-Hilkene Assistant Director of Development
Proyecto Poderoso In partnership with California Rural Legal Assistance Dan Torres, Esq. Proyecto Poderoso Project Director
Samantha Ames Policy Fellow
Aaron Aruck Legal Assistant
Jennifer Barth Office Manager Leanna Blankenship Data and Development Systems Manager Noemi Calonje Immigration Project Director Helen J. Carroll Sports Project Director Azael Chávez Laría Project Assistant Iain Finlay Manager of Finance and Administration Melissa Higuchi Senior Development Assistant Arcelia Hurtado, Esq. Deputy Director
NEW BOARD MEMBERS
Carimah Townes Administrative Assistant
Ashland Johnson, Esq. Policy Counsel
Joselyn Bowab Michael Porcello Miriam Sievers Jacobs Sims
2012 Interns Vanessa Casey Development Intern Meghan Earley Development Intern Carla Lopez DREAM Summer Intern Jorge “Cheko” Pacheco Next Wave Intern Jonas Wang Legal Intern
National Advisory Board Kate Clinton, NY Fiona Martin, CO
Kate Kendell, Esq. Executive Director
Yesenia Leon, FL
Geoff Kors, Esq. Senior Legislative and Policy Strategist
Barbara Russo, NY
Shannon Price Minter, Esq. Legal Director
Deborah Ortega, Ph.D., CO Eileen Scallen, Esq., MN Jill Schlesinger, NY Sarah M. Schmidt, Psy.D., IL
Laura Nixon, Esq. Law Students for Reproductive Justice Policy Fellow
National Advisory Council
Erik Olvera Director of Communications
Carol Alpert, NY
Asaf Orr, Esq. Staff Attorney
Roberta Achtenberg, Esq., CA Susan A. Gore, TX Joyce Hunter, NY
Eleanor Palacios Events Manager
Phyllis Lyon, CA
Angie Perone, Esq. Staff Attorney
Raquel Matas, Esq., FL
Lory Masters, TX
Maya Rupert, Esq. Policy Director
Nancy Polikoff, Esq., DC
Cathy Sakimura, Esq. Staff Attorney and Family Protection Project Director
Abby R. Rubenfeld, Esq., TN
David Sampson, Esq. Public Interest Associate Christopher Stoll, Esq. Senior Staff Attorney
Ruthann Robson, Esq., NY Carmen Vazquez, NY
OUT FOR JUSTICE
INVESTING IN NCLR
GETTING INVOLVED Interested in becoming an NCLR Sustainer—supporting NCLR on a monthly basis? Want to make sure NCLR is in your will or estate plans? Left: Ebonie Richardson (third from left) poses with other student plaintiffs from Anoka-Hennepin; Center: Jennifer Tobits (right) with her late wife, Sarah Ellyn Farley, on their wedding day; Right: Dynasty Young (right) attends a rally with his mother, Chelisa Grimes.
You, Our Devoted Donors, Made a Difference in So Many Lives In 2012, NCLR touched the lives of literally thousands of people, and none of it could have been done without the support of donors just like you. Without your financial investment, our work would not be possible.
Find out how you can make a difference in the fight for LGBT equality by visiting: NCLRights.org/Donate Contact Assistant Director of Development Dena Zaldúa-Hilkene: DZalduaHilkene@NCLRights.org
POPULAR WAYS TO GIVE Donate NCLRights.org/Donate
Join the Anniversary Circle NCLRights.org/Anniversary_Circle
Planned Giving NCLRights.org/Planned_Giving
Make a Gift through Your Workplace NCLRights.org/Workplace_Gift
Your involvement with NCLR has made a world of difference in the lives of so many people, like Ebonie Richardson, an out 17-year-old lesbian who attends school in Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District, where she faced relentless bullying. This year, Ebonie and five other Anoka-Hennepin students settled a federal gender and sexual orientation harassment lawsuit challenging a district policy that made it difficult for staff to protect them from anti-LGBT bullying. In March, as a result of the work we were able to accomplish because of you, Anoka-Hennepin school leaders agreed to sweeping changes to protect students who either are or are perceived to be LGBT. We know you’ve been touched by the heartwrenching case of Jennifer Tobits and her wife Ellen Farley. Only two weeks after their wedding in 2006, Ellyn was diagnosed with cancer. The Chicago couple fought the disease together, until Ellyn passed away in September 2010. But as Jennifer was mourning the loss of her
wife, she found herself facing another challenge— defending her marriage against her in-laws’ claims that they weren’t married. With our help, Jennifer was recently recognized as Ellyn’s sole heir and legal representative. The probate court ruled that Jennifer was entitled to be treated the same as any other spouse under Illinois law, and that Ellyn’s parents had no right to interfere with her status as spouse. You also read about high school student Dynasty Young in this newsletter. Not only was he relentlessly harassed by other students at Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis, but he also was mistreated by school leaders who told him the harassment was his fault because he’s openly gay and flamboyant. We are now representing him in a federal lawsuit challenging Indianapolis Public Schools. We have been able to stand beside Ebonie, Jennifer, Dynasty, and so many others seeking justice. And we couldn’t have done it without your continued support and commitment to NCLR.
Become a Corporate Sponsor NCLRights.org/Corporate_Sponsorship
Support NCLR through eScrip! Looking to support NCLR in even more ways? Have a fixed budget with no wiggle room? Want to get the merchants at which you shop to donate to NCLR too? All you have to do is register your credit/ debit cards and ATM cards with eScrip—then any time you use one of them to shop with a participating merchant, the merchant will donate up to 8% of the purchase amount to NCLR. Sign up at eScrip.com to make all your regular purchases at over 150 merchants go to work for NCLR. NCLR’s group name: “National Center for Lesbian Rights” or “NCLR.” NCLR’s group identification number: 500022336.
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The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.
NATIONAL OFFICE 870 Market Street, Suite 370 San Francisco, CA 94102 415 . 392 . 6257 800 . 528 . 6257 toll-free Info@NCLRights.org