chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.

June ABA 21-Day LGBTQ+ Equity Habit Building Challenge ©

I believe that telling our stories, first to ourselves, and then to one another and the world, is a revolutionary act.

-Janet Mock

The ABA Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council is proud to launch a 21-Day LGBTQ+ Equity Habit Building Challenge syllabus in honor of Pride Month. This Challenge is modeled after the “21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge©,” which was conceived several years ago by diversity expert Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. to advance deeper understandings of the intersections of race, power, privilege, supremacy, and oppression.  We are grateful to Dr. Moore for publicly sharing and encouraging others to use this 21-day framework as an educational tool, including to advance learning across myriad diverse communities.

We invite ABA members and non-members to participate in this LGBTQ+ Equity Habit-Building Challenge.  This Challenge is the third ABA Challenge following the syllabus created to commemorate Black History Month in February 2021 and Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May 2021. That first ABA-wide Challenge followed the followed the 21-Day 21-Day Challenge syllabus launched by the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law last year.

The Goal of the Challenge

The goal of the Challenge is to assist each of us to become more aware, compassionate, constructive, engaged people in the quest for equity, and specifically to learn more about the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and many communities included under the "LGBTQ+ umbrella."  It transcends our roles as lawyers.  Non-lawyers are also welcome to participate.

How it Works

It is, of course, completely voluntary to do, and participation in the Challenge shall not be construed as agreement with every word of every assignment nor a commitment by any person to a particular professional position or strategy.  Further, participants are free to opt out of participating along the way.  There is no grade at the end of the Challenge.  While it is not the intention of the Challenge to cause offense, some participants may be offended by some language or images used in the lessons.

The Challenge invites participants to complete a syllabus of 21 daily, short assignments (typically taking 15-30 minutes), over 21 consecutive days, that includes readings, videos, or podcasts.  The assignments seek to expose participants to perspectives on elements of LGBTQ+ histories, identities, and cultures. This Challenges cannot possibly highlight all of the diversity of experiences and opinions within the LGBTQ+ community itself, much less substitute for learnings about any other community.   This syllabus is but an introduction to what we hope will be a rewarding journey that extends far beyond the limits of this project.

21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge is the registered copyright of America & Moore, LLC. 2014.  

Come back regularly to check new discussion questions and Additional Resources! Access this page quickly at: 

Start Here: Opening - Why We Are Proud

LGBTQ+ Identity: What's in a Name?

  • Discussion Questions:
    • Why do gender pronouns matter?
    • What do the different letters in "LGBTQ" mean? What other identities did you learn about from the resources, and had you heard of them before? If so, in what context? If not, why do you think you may not have heard these terms before? Have you heard of experiences described that matched the new vocabulary words you learned?

Coming Out: Our Stories    

  • Discussion Questions: 
    • Which picture/personal coming out story shared throughout the resources resonated with you the most and why?

Transgender Identity

Lesbian Herstory and Invisibility

  • Discussion Questions:
    • The OutTV resource shares short blurbs about iconic lesbians throughout history. Pick one of the figures to do some more research on. What did you learn about the individual you chose? How does learning more about this individual inspire you to think differently about societal norms and expectations around (particularly women’s) sexual orientation, if at all?
    • How has sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, and immigration all played a role in the work of Latina lesbians profiled in the Chicago History Museum video?
    • “A lesbian identity is an inherently lonely one.” Why is that the case according to the Cosmopolitan article? What are some of the ways the article suggests that individuals and society can make lesbian identity-less “lone?
  • Additional Resources:


  • Understanding Non-Binary, UrbanPlains (December 7, 2020). [9 minute video]
  • Discussion Questions: 
    • Geo Neptune explores the history of the term "Two-Spirit" and who it pertains to. Does it mean two genders? Can anyone use it to describe themselves? Why or why not?

    • The term “Latinx” is a complicated one for many of those identifying as being of Hispanic or Latin (or Latino/a, or Latin American) descent or background. What does the term mean? Why is it meaningful? What are some of its drawbacks as listed in the article?

      • To learn more about this term, consider this additional resource from NPR, published in October 2020: Latinx Is A Term Many Still Can't Embrace. What are the reasons that those interviewed note are positive about the term Latinx? What about some of the reasons the term gives community members pause?

    • What is the gender binary? How does it relate to the definition of non-binary as an identification?

    • “Gender expression doesn’t indicate gender [identity]”. What does this quote from the UrbanPlains film mean to you? What further understanding might you consider embarking on to better engage with others in a way that reflects this statement?

A Rich History

  • Discussion Questions: 
    • Who were some important historical queer figures in Harlem? Why does the video state (and consider reflecting on other reasons why) it is lesser-known history that the Harlem Renaissance was “as gay as it was Black” (Henry Louis Gates, Jr.)?
    • Herb Tam mentions that “I think the reason why sometimes it’s been difficult to document, capture, preserve Asian American gay and lesbian LGBTQ stories is because there’s this idea or notion that you have to be one or the other.” What are some other themes in the NBC Asian America video that speak to this phenomenon that Asian American and Pacific Islander communities (and other communities of color) encounter in having to “be one or the other” (regarding race and sexual orientation)?
    • What are the “queer roots of Black Lives Matter? Keep an eye out for intersectionality across today’s resources—more to come on that topic throughout the Challenge!
    • What role did/has the San Francisco Bay Area played in LGBTQ+ history? What are some of the reasons why that came to be?
    • How have current realities for LGBTQ+ people been impacted by history--specifically in light of the history shared in today’s resources about historical LGBTQ+ communities across the U.S.?
  • Additional Resources:

Celebrating Our Intersections, Part I

  • What Is Intersectionality? | Queer 101, The Advocate (January 25, 2018). [3 minute video]

  • Julia Ehrt, Gender is where the feminist and LGBTI movements meet. Here's why, WeForum (July 23, 2019). [6 minute read]

  • Dennis W. Zotigh, Pride Month 2020: Perspectives on LGBTQ Native Americans in Traditional Culture, Smithsonian Magazine (June 16, 2020). [11 minute read]

  • Cherry Wilson, Disability: 'People assume I can't be gay because I'm disabled', BBC News (January 22, 2021). [6 minute read]
  • Discussion Questions: 
    • What is intersectionality? How does intersectionality show up in your own life?

      • How is LGBTQ+ identity experienced uniquely when it is at the intersection of being a person of color, a person with a disability/disabled person, and/or having additional minoritized identities?

    • Using the information you’ve been learning in the last few days of the Challenge, how would you describe the differences between gender, sex, and sexual orientation? How are each of those categories minoritized differently (or similarly)?

    • What does the Smithsonian Magazine resource mention about the role of colonialism in impacting how Native Americans view LGBTQ+ identities today, as compared to how they were viewed pre-colonialism?

    • Stephen, cited in the BBC article, is quoted as saying about disabled people: “we're created to be animated”--how does this statement explain unique challenges for people with disabilities who also identify as LGBTQ+?

Celebrating Our Intersections, Part II

Stonewall and Its Legacy

Fighting for Our Lives: The AIDS Crisis



  • Discussion Questions: 
    • At what stage in your life were you during the AIDS crisis, or what did you learn about it in school (if anything)? How have attitudes changed between when the AIDS crisis of the 80s and 90s was occurring, and today? How have attitudes remained the same? How have the changes (or lack thereof) advanced--or prevented--change, access, support, and resources for those with HIV/AIDS?

    • How did the Black/African American community experience the AIDS crisis in a unique way from non-Black communities? How were these discussed honored or discussed--or not--in the other sources from NBC News (also consider reviewing the additional resources to better answer this question)?

  • Additional Resources:

LGBTQ+ Activism


Celebrating Family

Faith: Challenges and Opportunities

Community S/Heroes

A Reflection on the LGBTQ+ Bar as a Sacred Space

  • Tracing the Evolution of Asian-Pacific Islander LGBTQ Nightlife Spaces, NBC Asia America (June 28,2018). [7 minute video] 

  • Daniel D’Addario, The Gay Bar as Safe Space Has Been Shattered, TIME (June 12, 2016). [4 minute read] 

  • Louis Lopez, Orland Attack Rocked Our World, Washington Blade (July 1, 2016). [3 minute read]
  • Discussion Questions: 
    • How are LGBTQ+ clubs representative of a place where intersecting identities can be explored and honored, especially for the AAPI community (as shared in the NBC video)?
    • What was the impact of the June 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting on the experience of the LGBTQ+ Bar as a safe space?
    • "What’s noticeable about gay bars in the main is not their status as centers for public political organization but their anonymity.”--Explain what this quote from the TIME article is referring to. Why is anonymity relevant in the context of LGBTQ+ bars as sacred spaces?
    • Discuss how the personal experiences described in each of the 3 resources for today demonstrate why the LGBTQ+ bar has historically been and continues to be a sacred space?

Listen to the Kids.

Attacks on LGBTQ+ People



Becoming Visible in Law and Politics

  • Discussion Questions: 
    • What are some of the greatest challenges LGBTQ+ people face in Big Law?
      • How are these challenges compacted for LGBTQ+ attorneys of color?
    • Why is political representation so important to historically marginalized communities, including the LGBTQ+ community? In what ways is political representation at multiple levels of government uniquely important to LGBTQ+ communities?


  • Discussion Questions:
    • What is a point of privilege in your life? When thinking about your own advantages, does it cause feelings of guilt, anger, discomfort? How can you use your own privilege for good?
    • The Oprah Daily article advises that if an ally messes up, they should try to not indulge in their negative feelings (Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable section). What does it mean by that and what does it look like to over-indulge these feelings? Why should that overindulgence be avoided?
    • The OREO video centers on an LGBTQ+ individual, their partner, and their family. What is the tone/mood of the video? When does the tone/mood change? Why is openly and clearly communicating love and acceptance of our LGBTQ+ friends, family, and peers so important?
    • How does ACT help straight and cis-gender prisoners? How does ACT help and serve LGBTQ+ prisoners?
  • Additional Resources:

Closing: Inspiring Love Stories

SOGI Commission 

Explore resources from the ABA's Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, which produces resources and programming year-round focused on expanding inclusion with the LGBTQ+ community within and beyond the legal profession.

Special Thanks

Special Thanks to the D&I Advisory Council 21-Day Challenge Committee, Supporters, Subject Matter Experts, and co-Creators of this LGBTQ+ Equity Challenge: 

  • Kelly Dermody, Labor and Employment Law Section co-representative to the D&I Advisory Council
  • Samantha Grant, Section of Labor and Employment Law co-representative to the D&I Advisory Council; 21-Day Challenge Committee Chair
  • Leif Cervantes de Reinstein, 21-Day LGBTQ+ Equity Challenge Supporter and Subject Matter Expert
  • Louis Lopez, 21-Day LGBTQ+ Equity Challenge Supporter and Subject Matter Expert
  • Bobbie Wilson, 21-Day LGBTQ+ Equity Challenge Supporter and Subject Matter Expert
  • Skip Harsch, Director of the ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
  • Anna Roskamp, Office Adminstrator, ABA Diversity and Inclusion Center