Emory OUTLaw Hosts “State of the Union” Conference

Following the 2016 election, many people in the LGBT community felt particularly anxious about the effects of a Trump administration on queer life in the U.S. Emory OUTLaw decided to respond to that sense of collective fear by discussing the current state of LGBT rights at the first annual Emory OUTLaw “State of the Union” Conference.

The conference took place on Saturday, January 14, from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the law school. Tara Borelli— an attorney at Lambda Legal’s Southern Regional Office— kicked off the conference with her “State of the Union Address.” Tara recounted the legal progress we have made as a community and the challenges that remain on our horizon.

The conference then featured two panels, one titled “Protecting the LGBT Vote” and another titled “Considering Discrimination Policy under a Trump Administration.” The first panel included thoughts from Emory Law’s Michael Kang, Asian Americans Advancing Justice’s Stephanie Cho, Georgia House of Representatives’ Park Cannon, and Georgia Equality’s Chanel Haley. The second panel featured our own Danielle Steele in the Office of LGBT Life, Greg Nevins from Lambda Legal, and Dr. Vin Tangpricha with Emory Healthcare.

Sam Park, the first openly gay man elected to Georgia’s House of Representatives, presented the conference’s keynote address. Sam talked about his upbringing, the recent election cycle, and his plans for effecting positive change in Georgia moving forward. Michael Shutt provided closing remarks following Sam’s address.

Another key feature of the conference related to connecting Emory students to LGBT organizations in the larger Atlanta community. To that end, we provided opportunities to table for organizations like Georgia Equality, Lambda Legal, Emory’s Office of LGBT Life, Lost-N-Found, AID Atlanta, Trans Housing Atlanta Program, Stonewall Bar, and Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce. Many students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members attended the conference.

Emory OUTLaw looks forward to making the conference an annual tradition. Please let Nicole Schladt (nicole.jean.schladt@emory.edu) know if you are interested in being involved with the conference next year.

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