June 01, 2017

SOGI, A Path to Reconnection

    I became a SOGI commissioner following my participation on an ABA/SOGI panel in the fall of 2014 on the topic of Russia’s outrageous and targeted discrimination against LGBT’s, which became internationally noted around the time of the planning for the then upcoming winter Olympics.

    I was recruited by former SOGI commissioner and law professor Mark Wojcik of the John Marshall Law school in Chicago. At the time, I was teaching at the time at Northern Illinois University. Following the panel I was asked if I would be interested in coming on as a commissioner, since I had years of experience writing and researching on the subjects of gender sexuality and the law.

    It has been a great opportunity to pursue LGBTQ activism among bright, committed, interesting, and enthusiastic interested lawyers and judges! A highlight activity involved the Stonewall award reception, where I was able to reconnect briefly with the amazing lawyers with whom I had volunteered back in the 1980's as a young civil rights attorney in New York City at that little project called Lambda LDEF!

    Reconnecting with Lambda’s first director, Abby Rubenfeld, and Evan Wolfson (who can be credited with the organized movement for marriage equality) and seeing my former student now Lambda LDEF L. A., attorney Jenny Pizer, were moments of sheer delight for me.

    Now in retirement as a law professor Emeritus, I have enjoyed bringing important issues to SOGI that address the intersectional aspects of one’s gender and sex identity. I look forward to advancing further the topic of the discriminatory impact on LGBT migrants who petition for asylum and whom too often, face horrific treatment when they are placed in US immigration detention centers operated by for profit prison companies.

ELVIA ROSALES ARRIOLA
SOGI Commissioner