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ABA honors LGBT advancements in the legal profession

ABA honors LGBT advancements in the legal profession

By John Glynn

The American Bar Association Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity honored three lawyers with its second annual Stonewall Award during a ceremony on Feb. 8 at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Chicago.

Stonewall award recipients (left to right): Stephen T. Whittle, Elaine D. Kaplan and James C. Nelson

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 2014 award recipients:  

Watch video of the
recipients' remarks:

Elaine D. Kaplan is the acting director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, where she is responsible for recruiting, hiring and setting benefits policies for 1.9 million federal civilian employees. In September, Kaplan was confirmed by the Senate as a judge on the United States Court of Federal Claims.   

James C. Nelson served as a justice on the Montana Supreme Court from 1993-2013. In addition to holding numerous civic posts in Montana, he has taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Montana School of Law. Nelson also served as an officer in the United States Army. 

Stephen T. Whittle is a professor of equalities law at Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester, England. Whittle transitioned to living permanently in his preferred gender role in 1975 and was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen's New Year's Honours List for his work on transgender people's rights. Despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2002, he continues to work full time and is engaged in various volunteer activities.

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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