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November 14, 2022 ABA MIDYEAR MEETING

Three legal luminaries to receive Stonewall Award

Three longstanding LGBT legal activists will be honored by the Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity with its 11th annual Stonewall Award during a ceremony on Feb. 4, 2023, at the ABA Midyear Meeting in New Orleans.

2023 Stonewall Award honorees (left to right) Judge Pamela K. Chen, Ellie Krug and Jennifer C. Pizer

2023 Stonewall Award honorees (left to right) Judge Pamela K. Chen, Ellie Krug and Jennifer C. Pizer

The award recognizes lawyers who have considerably advanced the legal professions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and successfully championed LGBT legal causes. 

The 2023 award recipients:  

Judge Pamela K. Chen of the Eastern District of New York is the first openly LGBTQ+ Asian-American person to serve on the federal bench. In 2002, she became chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York Civil Rights Section, where she oversaw the development of its anti-human trafficking program. In 2012, President Barack Obama nominated her to serve as a U.S. District Judge in the Eastern District of New York. Chen is the board chair of the Sonia & Celina Sotomayor Judicial Internship Program, a pipeline effort that places high school, college and law school students from diverse and underserved communities in judicial internships in state and federal courts in New York City. She also mentors students through the Henry Hank Fellowship, a judicial internship program specifically for LGBTQ law students.

Ellie Krug is a transgender activist, author and lawyer. She was the first Iowa lawyer to transition genders — in 2009 at the age of 52 — and one of the first attorneys nationally to try jury cases in separate genders. Krug lost her law practice in Cedar Rapids as a result of transitioning and moved to the Twin Cities, where she was hired as the founding director of Call for Justice LLC, which connected low-income people with Minnesota legal resources. It was there that Krug began to speak and train on transgender rights. In 2016 she founded a consulting and training company, Human Inspiration Works LLC. Krug is also the author of “Getting to Ellen: A Memoir about Love, Honesty and Gender Change” and the host of Ellie 2.0, a radio show and podcast out of the Twin Cities.

Jennifer C. Pizer is the chief legal officer of Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest legal organization working to achieve full civil rights for LGBTQ people and people living with HIV in the United States. She leads Lambda Legal’s nationwide team of 44 legal professionals who litigate impact cases, develop legislation and partner with lawmakers and community advocates to advance nondiscrimination protections. Pizer joined Lambda Legal in 1996 and since then has been a leading voice for domestic partner recognition and the freedom to marry for same-sex couples; for welcoming LGBTQ refugees; and for stopping the misuse of religious and free speech rights as licenses to discriminate in public life. She also currently serves as board co-chair of Outright International, which conducts research, movement resourcing and advocacy to secure human rights for LGBTIQ people globally.

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