October 06, 2017

Transgender legal rights pioneer Jennifer Levi to receive Stonewall Award for her work

CHICAGO, Oct. 3, 2017 — The American Bar Association Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity will honor transgender legal rights expert Jennifer Levi with its Stonewall Award during a ceremony on Feb. 3, 2018, at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

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. 

“Jennifer Levi is a nationally recognized expert on transgender legal issues, a gifted teacher, a prolific writer, a skilled advocate and a generous mentor. She literally ‘wrote the book’ on transgender family law,” said Mark Johnson Roberts, chair of the ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. “Levi has been instrumental in finding ways to use existing gender and disability laws to provide transgender people with the basic civil rights protections they would otherwise lack.”

Levi is the director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project and a nationally recognized expert on transgender legal issues. She co-edited “Transgender Family Law: A Guide to Effective Advocacy,” the first book to address legal issues facing transgender people in the family law context and provide practitioners the tools to effectively represent transgender clients. Levi has served as counsel in a number of precedent-setting cases establishing basic rights for transgender people, including: O’Donnabhain v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, which established that medical care relating to gender transition qualifies as a medical deduction for federal income tax purposes; Doe v. Yunits, in which she represented a transgender student denied the right to attend school because of the clothing she wore; and Adams v. Bureau of Prisons, which successfully challenged a federal prison policy excluding medical care for transgender inmates who came into the system without a transition-related medical plan, among many others. She also has worked on several high-profile family law cases including the Miller v. Jenkins case establishing full parental rights for a Vermont civil union spouse and cases in Connecticut and Massachusetts that established the right of same-sex couples to marry. Levi is a law professor at Western New England University School of Law in Springfield, Mass. She serves on the Legal Committee of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health and is a founding member of both the Transgender Law & Policy Institute and the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition. A graduate of Wellesley College and the University of Chicago Law School, Levi is a former law clerk to Judge Michael Boudin at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

A photo of Levi is available for download here.

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.

Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that will cite case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

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