Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Speaker Series | Venable LLP

As the legal landscape for LGBTQ+ people across the country is rapidly changing, [email protected] Partner and President Colin Vandell hosted a discussion to assess some of the welcome, and less welcome, developments. Panelists, Christy Mallory, Luis Vasquez and Cathren Cohen of the Williams Institute, where Mr. Vandell is also a legal advisor, explored some of the state-level attacks on LGBTQ+ rights, particularly those targeting transgender children; some of the most positive developments at the state and federal levels; and the potential impact of the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

Whether as a result of a backlash to marriage equality or anti-discrimination protections that have begun to spread, panelists noted that this year has been a banner year for anti-LGBTQ+ legislation at the state, with approximately 330 bills introduced during the 2022 legislature session. Most of these bills focus on the transgender population and in particular on limiting the ability of trans children to be themselves in different areas of their lives.

A number of states have introduced bills that prohibit children – up to elementary school – from participating in school sports that are compatible with their gender identity. Many of these bills are aimed exclusively at preventing trans girls from participating in girls-only school sports. In the near future, we’ll likely see more laws similar to Florida’s recently introduced “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which restricts discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools.

Other attacks gaining traction at the state level are bills that limit the provision of gender-affirming care that would allow young people to live in their true identities. These bills include banning drugs, such as puberty blockers that can be taken as a trans individual develops and matures, as well as transitional care after taking hormones or surgery. While the majority of these laws are not passed, they take time and resources to process and prevent organizations from directing their efforts towards policies that support LGBTQ+ rights. These bills also have serious implications for the lives of trans children in states where such legislation is introduced.

The picture is more promising at the federal level, with the Biden administration being the most supportive of LGBTQ+ rights in history. This month, the president issued an executive order that includes actions to counter attacks at the state level by protecting children from conversion therapy, safeguarding youth suicide prevention programs and other measures. that support LGBTQ+ youth and their families. The sweeping order also examines some of the disparities that exist in foster care, the homeless youth population and juvenile detention to help ensure the government responds to a range of issues that have a particular impact on LGBTQ+ people. .

The order also includes language directing the Department of Health and Human Services to pay attention to seniors and empower other government agencies to ensure the needs of LGBTQ+ subpopulations are appropriately served. There are also a number of bills pending in Congress, such as the LGBTQI Inclusion Act, which would seek to create a mandate from Congress to ensure that these agencies do enough research to assess how include the LGBTQ+ community in government surveys and other data. collections and ensure that there is adequate funding to carry out this work.

Finally, reversing Roe vs. Wade, which had guaranteed women the constitutional right to abortion, the United States Supreme Court has dealt a blow to the LGBTQ+ community by paving the way for challenges to recently guaranteed LGBTQ+ rights. A number of key opinions that strengthened the protection of this community included quotes to deer and the ability it gives individuals to make personal decisions for themselves and within their families and intimate relationships. Now that deer was struck down, the door was opened to potential challenges to marriage equality and other rights that this community has fought so hard for over the past decades.

The Williams Institute

A UCLA think tank, the Williams Institute, is the leading center for research on law and public policy on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Institute works to ensure that facts — not stereotypes — inform laws, policies, and court decisions that affect the LGBTQ+ community and is dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research on sexual orientation and the rights to gender identity and public policy. By disseminating its research to policy makers, judges, the media and other stakeholders, the Institute ensures that decisions affecting the lives of millions of LGBTQ+ individuals and families are informed and informed. facts.

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