October 19, 2018

Lambda Legal’s Sharon McGowan to receive Stonewall Award

CHICAGO, Oct. 19, 2018 — American Bar Association Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity will honor Lambda Legal’s Sharon McGowan with its Stonewall Award during a ceremony on Jan. 26, 2019, at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Las Vegas.

As chief strategy officer and legal director at Lambda Legal, she heads up a team of nearly three dozen lawyers. The oldest and largest LGBT legal group in the country, Lambda Legal has recently been active in researching the records of judges nominated for federal judicial appointments and sending detailed letters to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The research has been used in Senate opposition to some nominees.

McGowan formerly served as deputy director of appellate litigation at the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, where she developed the arguments that led the United States to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act, as well as the arguments put forth on the merits in the Windsor and Obergefell cases. In addition, she served as counsel for the United States as amicus in G.G. v. Gloucester Co., where the Fourth Circuit upheld the Department of Education’s guidance – which McGowan helped develop – finding that requiring a transgender student to use a restroom that corresponds with their biological sex violates Title IX.

Prior to working at DOJ, McGowan worked in the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, as a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union (where she worked on Schroer v. Billington, a seminal transgender rights case) and as an associate at Jenner & Block in Washington, D.C. McGowan has a B.A. from the University of Virginia and received her J.D. from Harvard Law School.

“Sharon has been an amazing leader carrying the torch of justice and equality for our LGBTQ community for decades, and through her impactful work has broken down many barriers for us and continues to fight the good fight every day to ensure that our individual rights and freedoms are protected through the rule of law,” said Victor M. Marquez, chair of the ABA SOGI Commission. “We should feel safer knowing that she is representing us on the national stage as one of our community’s attorneys. Sharon is a true warrior and for that we salute her!”

You can find a photo of McGowan 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.

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