If You’re a Lawyer, Fighting LGBTQ Discrimination Begins with You


Under a new federal administration in which LGBTQ and many other rights are called into question every day, it’s easy to feel helpless—like nothing you are capable of doing as an individual is enough to make a real impact.

On the morning of Friday, February 10, though, legal professionals will have an opportunity to take a solid, substantial step toward action. Ahead of the eighth annual Justice in Action luncheon, the Mazzoni Center’s legal services department will offer a continuing legal education (CLE) program titled Protected or Not? When, Where, and How do Sex Discrimination Laws Protect LGBTQ People?

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Designed to supplement lawyers’ knowledge of the law as it applies to citizens’ rights, the course will leave attendees with a thorough understanding of the most effective ways to use existing sex discrimination legislation to protect the rights of LGBTQ individuals.

Among the program’s faculty is Katie Eyer, an anti-discrimination law teacher, scholar and litigator committed to securing protections in the areas of sexual orientation, gender identity and LGBTQ employment. We spoke with Eyer about why attending this course—accredited by the Pennsylvania CLE Board and worth two hours of CLE credit—is a necessity for any lawyer dedicated to equality among all citizens.

Q: Can you give us a brief summary of what attendees can expect from this course?

A: Attendees can expect to hear from a panel of experts about one of the most important current issues in LGBTQ rights: whether and when sex discrimination laws provide protections for the LGBTQ community. Because there is no federal law explicitly prohibiting anti-LGBTQ discrimination, sex discrimination laws are vitally important to ensuring anti-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community.

What are sex discrimination laws, and what do they do for the people they cover?

There are multiple federal, state and local laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, covering areas that range from employment to public accommodations to education. For the LGBTQ community, these laws can be an important resource, since courts and agencies have increasingly found that they extend to discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. However, there remains a lack of uniformity and uncertainty around the extent of their coverage of the LGBTQ community.

How can LGBTQ citizens better educate themselves on their legal rights and available services?

Mazzoni Center is a great resource for finding out more about your legal rights. The legal help desk line can provide specific information, and they also have a number of publications that can be very helpful. Know your rights programs, and CLEs like this one, also are a great way to get to know your legal rights.

How can attendees benefit from your continuing legal education course?

For lawyers, the program will provide up to date information regarding the state of the law when bringing sex discrimination claims on behalf of LGBTQ clients. For non-lawyers, the CLE is an excellent opportunity to get to know your rights under federal, state and local sex discrimination laws covering areas ranging from employment to education to public accommodations.

To attend both the CLE and the Justice in Action luncheon, register here.

Don’t sit around waiting for other to take action—take the first step in utilizing your expertise to resist the attack against LGBTQ rights nationwide.

Special thanks to our friends at Chatterblast Media for their support of the Justice in Action event and their assistance in preparing this post.

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