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May 31, 2024

Statement of ABA President Mary Smith RE: Pride Month

CHICAGO, May 31, 2024 — This June, the American Bar Association celebrates Pride Month and the vast achievements, contributions and resilience of the LGBTQ+ community. As we mark the 55th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, we honor the unwavering courage of activists, legal advocates and allies who have made numerous historic strides toward justice and equality: the decriminalization of same-sex relationships, the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage and federal protections against employment discrimination — all a testament to the transformative power of legal advocacy.

Yet, LGBTQ+ individuals continue to not only face discrimination in employment, housing, health care and public accommodations, but an unrelenting wave of inhumane legislative campaigns across the U.S. that threaten their safety, essential rights and well-being. There are currently more than 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in state legislatures attempting to curtail or ban matters from gender-affirming health care for adults and minors, to pronoun usage in educational settings, to providing public restroom access aligned with gender identity, to even discussing LGBTQ+ topics in workplaces and schools. These measures are not only discriminatory but represent a dire rollback of hard-fought freedoms and rights.

Transgender individuals are in urgent need of more supportive, inclusive policies that affirm their identities and protect their rights. Transgender women of color are at particularly high risk for violence, poverty and mental health challenges, while transgender and nonbinary youth experience alarmingly high rates of bullying and suicide.

The ABA’s deep commitment to LGBTQ+ equality, beginning with our first formal anti-discrimination policy in 1989, continues to drive our extensive efforts to protect and expand legal rights in all public and private life. Our efforts are spearheaded by the Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI), one of the four ABA Goal III Entities dedicated to ensuring diversity, inclusion and full participation of LGBTQ+ persons within the legal profession and society. SOGI, along with other key groups, tackles discrimination, enhances inclusivity and promotes education and understanding. This includes creating educational resources to foster supportive environments for nonbinary and transgender legal professionals through our many partnerships, and actively working to dismantle discriminatory laws and practices for LGBTQ+ youth, elderly and military veterans.

As we commemorate the historic progress made and acknowledge the work ahead, the ABA stands in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month and beyond. We celebrate the diversity that strengthens us, and we call for all within the legal profession to uphold the principles of equality and justice so that LGBTQ+ individuals may live safely, openly and authentically. The struggle is far from over, but together, with renewed commitment and resolve, we can continue to shape a more just and inclusive world.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on X (formerly Twitter) @ABANews.