Has National Bar Association Rejected LGBT Lawyers?


Ebony's Kimberley McLeod tries to understand why the black legal association voted against LGBT-inclusive language.

"As a Black bisexual woman, I am deeply disappointed by the National Bar Association's decision not to include 'disability, sexual orientation or gender identity' as part of the existing nondiscrimination language in its constitution," states Stacey Long, attorney and LGBT advocate. "For most of my legal career, I have worked to advance civil rights and create a more just society where those who are marginalized and discriminated against have legal remedies, resources, and social networks. There is certainly room at the table for Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender attorneys and I sincerely hope the board reconsiders this unfortunate decision."

The National Bar Association was created because Black lawyers did not have a seat at the table. When George H. Woodson, S. Joe Brown, James B. Morris, Charles P. Howard, and Gertrude E. Rush were denied admission to legal associations because of their race, they set out to create their own organization and made it their goal to fight discrimination. Almost a century later, the NBA falls short of ensuring that all African Americans are protected against unfair and unequal treatment. It is still legal in 29 states to discriminate based on sexual orientation and in 37 states to do so based on gender identity and expression. Without the same legal protections, Black LGBT people are some of our nation's most vulnerable.


Read Kimberley Mcleod's entire piece at Ebony.com.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

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