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Attorney calls for trans-related legal challenges
by Matt Simonette
2015-08-10

This article shared 4862 times since Mon Aug 10, 2015
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Members of the transgender community need to be more aggressive in asserting their rights, especially in the courts, according to attorney Jillian Weiss.

That includes striving for legal organizations focused on trans rights, said Weiss, giving the keynote at the 2015 Trans Law Symposium August 7.

"We bring a specific kind of understanding to being trans in the world that others do not share," she noted. "There is value in having specific trans spaces, and we have a need for specific trans organizations."

Weiss, based in Tuxedo Park, New York, counts trans-related issues among her specialties.

So many trans women and men share what Weiss said was a "common denominator of daily suffering," through economic disparities or outright violence, for example. "We know that it's happening but the world doesn't know it's happening. It happens to individuals and it happens systematically. ...But it is not inevitable, and [that includes] the most vulnerable parts of our community."

She cited racism and poverty as two issues that must be addressed, since they intersect with issues pertinent to the trans community, and noted that activists should focus more attention on legal challenges instead of relying on educational efforts and legislation pushes such as that for ENDA.

"You know what's 'educational' to a corporation? 'Pay me $200,000,'" said Weiss, who further explained that hitting a business in their bottom-line is often the only way to get a message through about what's right or wrong. "...We need to take [our] legal knowledge to the courts and use it to nail these people to the wall."

She further spoke of the need for a transgender bar association, saying that the community needed "a revolution" in the ways that their issues were represented in the courts.

"Enough 'within the system,'" Weiss said. "Now is the time to move together boldly."

The symposium was sponsored by the Jenner and Block law firm.


This article shared 4862 times since Mon Aug 10, 2015
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