The webinar will address practical aspects of handling legal cases of sex discrimination against LGBTQI+ individuals, including how to frame such claims, current protections for LGBTQI+ individuals under federal law, and relevant legal updates.
Our speakers will include:
Sunu P. Chandy – Legal Director, National Women’s Law Center (moderator)
Bio: Sunu P. Chandy is the Legal Director of the National Women’s Law Center. She oversees the Center’s litigation efforts, providing strategy across the NWLC to create better outcomes for women and girls at school, the workplace, and the healthcare sector. She helped to create the Center’s Legal Network for Gender Equity and build the policies and procedures guiding the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund. She also provides guidance for the Center’s policy positions towards greater workplace equality. Until August 2017, Sunu served as the Deputy Director for the Civil Rights Division with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she led civil rights enforcement including in the areas of language access, auxiliary aids and services for individuals with disabilities and sex discrimination cases under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. Before that, Sunu was the General Counsel of the DC Office of Human Rights (OHR) and in that role oversaw the agency’s legal decisions following civil rights investigations of discrimination in employment, education, housing and public accommodation matters. Previously, Sunu was a federal attorney with the U.S. Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for 15 years and litigated cases including based on sexual harassment and other forms of sex discrimination, as well as race, national origin, disability, age and religion based discrimination cases. At EEOC, Sunu led several outreach and training initiatives including as a member of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAPPI) Regional Working Group. Sunu began her legal career as a law firm associate representing unions and individual workers in New York City at Gladstein, Reif and Megginniss, LLP. Sunu earned her B.A. in Peace and Global Studies/Women’s Studies from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston and more recently, she completed her MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from CUNY/Queens College. Sunu has served on the boards of directors of several organizations including the Audre Lorde Project, the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective and LeGal (the LGBTQ attorneys’ organization in New York City). Sunu currently serves on the board of directors for the Transgender Law Center and for Split This Rock, a national social justice poetry organization.
Ezra Cukor – Supervising Attorney, New York City Commission on Human Rights
Pronouns: he/him/his or they/them/theirs
Bio: Ezra Cukor is the Supervising Attorney for Gender Based Harassment Unit at the New York City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR). Ezra has successfully investigated, litigated, and resolved civil rights cases, often obtaining significant compensatory damages, civil penalties, and widespread affirmative relief. Ezra also takes a leadership role in agency enforcement and policy initiatives that expand civil rights protections for LGBT people. Previously, as a Staff Attorney in the LGBTQ Law Project at New York Legal Assistance Group, Ezra represented low-income LGBTQ people in employment, housing, and name change matters. In 2018, the National LGBT Bar Association recognized Ezra as one of the best LGBT Lawyers under 40. Ezra is an active member of the New York City Bar Association and National Trans Bar Associations. He has a JD from Harvard Law School and BA from Wesleyan University.
Elizabeth Kristen – Director, Gender Equity & LGBT Rights Program, Legal Aid at Work
Bio: Elizabeth Kristen is the director of our Gender Equity & LGBT Rights Program, where she represents low-wage workers facing employment discrimination and harassment based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, military, or veteran status. Elizabeth graduated from Berkeley Law in 2001. She was selected for the Order of the Coif and served as an editor for the California Law Review. Prior to joining Legal Aid at Work in 2002 as a Skadden Fellow, she clerked for the Honorable James R. Browning on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. In 2015, California Lawyer selected Elizabeth as one of its California Lawyers of the Year in the field of Civil Rights. Elizabeth is a Northern California Super Lawyer. She was the recipient of Protect our Defenders’ Justice Award. In 2012-2013, Elizabeth served as a Harvard law School Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow. She was a lecturer at Berkeley Law School from 2008-2013.
Dru Levasseur, Esq. – Director of the Transgender Rights Project, Lambda Legal
Bio: M. Dru Levasseur is the Director of the Transgender Rights Project for Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national LGBT legal organization. For over a decade, Dru has been counsel in cutting-edge transgender rights impact litigation in federal and state courts, and counsel on amicus briefs filed nationwide in federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He has extensive experience advocating with federal, state, and local governments on behalf of transgender people, including multiple meetings with White House officials. He has led and participated in collaborations with government agencies, advocacy organizations, professional associations, academics, and stakeholders in initiatives at national, state, and local levels, and is an experienced media spokesperson. Dru has provided corporate trainings to Fortune 500 companies, hospitals, and medical schools, as well as continuing legal education to law firms and law schools such as Harvard, Yale, and Columbia, and conferences around the country and in Puerto Rico. He has represented Lambda Legal in international forums, including the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, and transgender rights litigation convenings in Cape Town, South Africa and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Dru is passionate about transgender community empowerment. In 2007, he co-founded the Jim Collins Foundation, a trans-led national nonprofit that funds surgeries for transgender people in need. The organization has awarded 20 grants in 10 years. In an effort to bring greater attention to funding gaps for transgender communities, Dru currently serves as a working group member for Grantmakers United for Trans Communities. Prior to joining Lambda Legal, Dru was the first staff attorney for Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) and served for two years as law clerk to 12 Justices of the Massachusetts Superior Court. He received his bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in Women, Sexuality and Gender Studies from the University of Massachusetts, and his law degree from Western New England University School of Law. He is a member of the Georgia, Massachusetts, D.C., and New York Bars.
Ria Tabacco Mar – Senior Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Bio: Ria Tabacco Mar is a senior staff attorney with the national ACLU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Project. Her work includes fighting attempts to use religion to discriminate against LGBTQ people at school, at work, and in public places. Ria was part of the ACLU’s litigation team in Miller v. Davis, the challenge to Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’s refusal to issue marriage licenses after the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, and Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the case of the same-sex couple refused a wedding cake because they are gay. Ria has been recognized on The Root 100 annual list of the most influential African Americans ages 25 to 45 and as one of the Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association. Prior to joining the ACLU, Ria served as Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, where she participated regularly as amicus curiae on cases involving marriage equality and was a member of the Board of Directors of the New York Civil Liberties Union. Ria served as a law clerk to Judge Victor Marrero of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and to Judge Julia Smith Gibbons of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. She also worked as a litigation associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. Ria graduated from New York University School of Law and Harvard College.