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September 12, 2022 RAPID RESPONSE

Tipping the Scales of Justice: The Role Legal Professionals Play in Ensuring Equality at Every Size

Anti-fatness is a form of systemic oppression that invades every aspect of U.S. and global culture. Although often thought of as a personal or interpersonal issue, anti-fatness is ingrained in U.S institutions, including the government, the medical establishment, employment and hiring in all types of organizations, education, and legal proceedings of all kinds. Otherwise marginalized individuals and communities–particularly Black and Brown people, disabled people, older people, and LGBTQIA+ people–are disproportionately impacted by anti-fatness, increasing the urgency of addressing this form of bias as a serious social justice concern. Advocates for fat people identify the lack of clearly articulated legal protections against discrimination based on weight, height, or any combination thereof as a major factor in allowing cultural perceptions and misperceptions of fat people to deprive fat people of equitable and just treatment under the law. As legal expert Sondra Solovay points out, “Courts often have the ability to end unnecessary discrimination against fat people, but lack the vision.” Our panel of experts discusses how to shift this lack of vision, including the important role legal professionals can play in supporting the passage of Equality at Every Size legislation, the influence and power lawyers have in utilizing existing policies and laws to create fat justice, and the need for an intersectional approach to fighting anti-fatness.


  • Elaine K. Lee, Member-at-Large, Board of Directors, National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance; Attorney, Mauriel Kapouytian Woods LLP
  • Tigress Osborn, Chair, Board of Directors, National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance
  • Brandie Solovay, Director, Fat Legal Advocacy, Rights and Education Project; Legal Director, Independent Living Resource Center of San Francisco


  • Dr. Nicholas Lawson, Law Scholar, Georgetown University Law Center; Former Commissioner, ABA Commission on Disability Rights

Co-Sponsors: ABA Center for Public Interest Law, ABA Commission on Disability Rights, ABA Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights & Responsibilities, ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity,  ABA Senior Lawyers Division



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