11/15/2021 | Press release | Archived content
CHICAGO, Nov. 15, 2021 - Three longstanding LGBT legal activists will be honored by the American Bar Association Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity with its 10th annual Stonewall Award during a ceremony on Feb. 12 at 5:30 p.m. PST at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Seattle.
Named after the New York City Stonewall Inn police raid and riot of June 28, 1969, which was a turning point in the gay rights movement, the award recognizes lawyers who have considerably advanced lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in the legal profession and successfully championed LGBT legal causes.
The 2022 award recipients:
Jordan Blisk is the assistant director of chapters at the American Constitutional Society, a progressive legal organization, and executive director and board chair of the Colorado Name Change Project (CNCP). At CNCP, he leads programs that provide transgender Coloradans with legal and financial assistance with their name and gender marker corrections through attorney-led workshops across the state. Having earned both the rank of senior airman in the U.S. Air Force and his undergraduate degree by the age of 20, three years later, Blisk became the first openly transgender graduate of the University of Colorado Law School, where he organized the first annual CU Law Name Change Clinic. Blisk also interned at Lambda Legal, working primarily on state and federal impact litigation cases such as Zzyym v. Pompeo and utilizing the resources of Lambda to fight against discriminatory practices in blood donation by LGBTQ* person and to fight for the inclusion of trans athletes in youth sports.
Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), was lead counsel for same-sex couples in the landmark California marriage equality case which held that same-sex couples have the fundamental right to marry and that laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation are inherently discriminatory and subject to the highest level of constitutional scrutiny. Minter was also NCLR's lead attorney in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, a U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding student group policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and rejecting the argument that such policies violated a student group's rights to freedom of speech, religion and association. Minter received his J.D. from Cornell Law School in New York.
Judge G. Helen Whitener was appointed to the Washington State Supreme Court in April 2020 and was elected to retain her position in November 2020. Prior to that, Whitener served as a judge on the Pierce County Superior Court and the Washington State Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals and as a pro-tem judge in Pierce County District Court and the City of Tacoma Municipal Court. Before becoming a judge, she litigated civil and criminal cases as first a prosecutor and defense attorney and later as a managing partner of the law firm of Whitener Rainey Writt PS in Tacoma. She serves on the board of the International Association of LGBT Judges as well as on the Washington State Office of Civil Legal Aid Oversight Committee. Whitener, who received her J.D. from Seattle University School of Law, is the first Black woman to serve on the Washington Supreme Court, the fourth immigrant-born justice and the first Black LGBT judge in the State of Washington.
The ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity leads the ABA's commitment to diversity, inclusion and full and equal participation by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the ABA, the legal profession and society. Created in 2007, the commission seeks to secure equal treatment in the ABA, the legal profession and the justice system without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity.
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