LETTER FROM THE CO-CHAIRS
To our NTBA Community:
The decisions in 303 Creative and Students for Fair Admissions, coming just over a year after the shocking roll back of rights to bodily autonomy in Dobbs, are as shocking as they are unsurprising. To be clear, those analyzing 303 Creative view it as an exceptionally narrow decision that allows protected class discrimination – against any protected class, not merely LGBTQ people – by those offering expressive services in the commercial marketplace. That is all that it does. Nothing more. None of the prior anti-discrimination precedents have been overruled.
Yet the word choices of the majority in the 303 Creative majority opinion cannot escape notice for us: Justice Gorsuch characterizes the plaintiff’s position as worrying about being forced to “defy her conscience about a matter of major significance.” Of major significance to whom? And why? What we – trans people – do with our bodies and who we – queer people – love is certainly a matter of major significance to us. That these issues are a matter of such significance to others is the problem, writ-large. As noted by Justice Sotomayor, the only treatment we trans and queer people seek “is to exist in public.” Thus, it is stark when this decision takes so seriously this plaintiff’s fear that she may be asked to take our dollar in the commercial marketplace as to allow that mere fear to convey standing in federal court. On that basis, even this narrow decision signals greater space in public life for those who would rather we not exist publically. To have the United States Constitution interpreted in such a way as to find a right to purposefully exclude LGBTQ from the commercial marketplace is nauseating.
Please stay tuned as our Amicus Committee and our Board members coordinate with others around the nation to find opportunities for NTBA members to contribute to our community’s legal strategy in response to these decisions.
One way you can engage in discussions about these topics is by attending the National LGBTQ Bar Association’s Lavender Law conference this year. The Trans Law Institute that we have planned is not the only opportunity for you to partake in discussions about these issues. We are encouraged to see so many others standing up to put trans rights in the conversation this year. Indeed, the National LGBTQ Bar has put trans rights in the center stage at a luncheon & plenary conversation. Here is a list of the events at the wider conference that highlight trans issues or include NTBA Board members on the panel (we may have missed some, and apologize if so):
- 9:00 AM: How Your LGBTQ+ Identity – and Other Intersectional Identities – Can Help You Shine In Job Searching and Recruitment Efforts
- 7:30 AM: Diversity of Tactics, Pinkwashing, and the Future of the Movement
- 9:00 AM: Blurring the Binaries
- 9:00 AM: ID Docs for Transgender People: Beyond the Basics
- 9:00 AM: Litigation and Advocacy Surrounding Attacks on Gender-Affirming Care
- 10:45 AM: Board Yet?: Everything You Want to Know about Serving on a Non-Profit Board
- 10:45 AM: Overcoming Stigmas: Using ADA Litigation to Secure Transgender People’s Rights
- 10:45 AM: The Supreme Court’s 2022-23 Term and What’s on Deck for Next Year
- 10:45 AM: Transgender Athletes and the Race to Ban Them From Competing
- 12:30 PM Luncheon & Plenary: Messaging Matters – How to Respond Accurately and Effectively to Anti-Trans Rhetoric
- 2:15 PM: Courtroom Careers for Trans, Nonbinary, and Queer Lawyers
- 2:15 PM: Rainbow Bars: Civil Litigation and Advocacy for LGBTQ+ People in Prisons and Jails
- 4:00 PM: Creating More Welcoming Workplaces: Practical Steps Towards Nonbinary Inclusion in the Legal Profession
- 4:00 PM: Giving Back: How Law Firms and Companies Can Serve the Holistic Needs of Our LGBTQ+ Community with Dedication and Respect
- 4:00 PM: LGBTQ Sex Workers and the Law
- 2:15 PM: Confronting Cross-Border Restrictions to Gender-Affirming and Abortion Care
- 2:15 PM: SOGI Inclusion in and Through the Courts: How Courts Are Ensuring Procedural Fairness and Advancing Access to Justice for LGBTQ+ Court Users
- 4:00 PM: Data Matters: How Research Shapes Policy Around HIV Criminalization, Abortion Access, and Gender-Affirming Care
- 4:00 PM: Protecting the Rights of LGBTQ+ Youth in Education
- 4:00 PM: The Polyamory Tipping Point
And here is the information on our TLI panels, scheduled on July 26 from 8:30 AM – 12:15 PM.
- 8:40 AM – 10:10 AM: What’s Happening and How Did We Get Here / SURVIVE
We have seen a stark rise in anti-trans legislation this year. This panel will provide an overview of the categories of anti-trans bills being advanced and signed into law and challenged in the court systems. The speakers will cover the bills that have sought to block trans people from receiving basic healthcare, education, legal recognition, and the right to publicly exist.
- 10:40 AM – 12:10 PM / STRIVE
The anti-trans legislation that has put our community on the defensive hides the fact that trans communities are already struggling to thrive because of various social determinants of health. This panel will focus on housing and houselessness, food insecurity, and incarceration as social determinants of health that disproportionately impact trans people. This conversation is critical if we are to thrive as a community; we cannot be bogged down and forced to remain in a defensive position; we must think progressively about how we can push our community forward. By centering those who are most marginalized amongst us, we strive to do that.
We look forward to seeing you at the end of this month at Lavender Law and at our NTBA Social, advertised below. In the meantime, please exercise self-care and be in community with each other. The work continues, and we are here to offer support when you need us.
D Dangaran and Rafael Langer-Osuna,
Co-Chairs for the NTBA Board