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Virtual OutLaw panel discusses LGBTQ rights and progress toward acceptance in the legal profession


Attendees of the University of Houston Law Center's "LGBTQ+ Rights Advancement and the Lawyers that made it happen" received one hour of Texas continuing legal education credit.

Nov. 12, 2020 – Nationally recognized experts examined legal turning points for LGBTQ issues and what can be done to make the profession more tolerant during a University of Houston Law Center presentation on Tuesday.

The virtual event, “LGBTQ+ Rights, Advancement, and the Lawyers That Made It Happen,” examined legal turning points for the LGBTQ community, was presented by the Law Center’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and the student organization OutLaw.

Featured speakers included Jennifer Levi, director of the GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders' Transgender Rights Project, and Shedrick Davis, regional director of the western regional office for Lambda Legal, the largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgenders, and people with HIV.

Levi expressed the importance of community and the vitality of networking and communication across multiple sectors.

“There is a tremendous amount of work that remains to be done across all of the issues that impact LGBTQ peoples’ lives, and these last few years have really elevated and made more visible these concerns,” Levi said.

Davis said that attorneys of all orientations can assist to make the legal field a more inclusive space.

 “You do not need to be in the movement to be of service to the movement,” Davis said. “If we continue to push forward, there are good things to be done. The sooner that we get changes in place, the more that we continue to make progress on the state level, the easier it will be to make changes stick.

“There are a number of areas that we are going to hone in on and continue to push to foster community acceptance and encourage growth. But change is inevitable.”

Professor Victor Flatt, the Dwight Olds Chair in Law and co-director of the Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Center, provided opening remarks, speaking on how attorneys in various roles can continue to bring about legal change in way of human rights. He also provided a brief video on U.S. Supreme Court changes in cases such as Lawrence v. Texas.

Co-sponsors for the event included the Association of American Law Schools, the Houston Bar Association, the Houston Young Lawyers Association and the Law School Admissions Council.

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