The first part of this webinar series will be an introduction of how discrimination against LGBTQI individuals may present. The webinar also will address best practices including, for example, appropriate terminology when talking to or about LGBTQI+ clients.
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.
Demoya R. Gordon – Supervising Attorney, New York City Commission on Human Rights
Bio: Demoya Gordon is a Supervising Attorney in the Law Enforcement Bureau of the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Prior to joining the Commission, Demoya worked at Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and people living with HIV. There, she engaged in impact litigation, policy advocacy, and public education on a range of issues affecting transgender and intersex people, including discriminatory treatment in the criminal legal system, employment, health care, education, public accommodations, and government services. Demoya also supervised and mentored Lambda Legal’s Transgender Rights Project Fellow as well as other junior attorneys, interns, and legal assistants. Demoya brings an intersectional focus to her work by addressing how discriminatory laws, policies, and systems uniquely and disproportionately affect members of multiple marginalized communities. In recognition of her professional achievements, the National LGBT Bar Association named Demoya one of 2014’s Best LGBT Attorneys Under 40. In 2013, Lawyers of Color included Demoya on its annual list of 100 exceptional early- to mid-career minority attorneys under the age of 40. After migrating to the U.S. from Jamaica, Demoya received her undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Macalester College and her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
michael munson – Executive Director, FORGE
Pronouns: any pronouns
Bio: michael munson is the co-founder and Executive Director of FORGE, an organization focused on improving the lives of transgender individuals by building stronger connections, providing resources, and empowering growth through knowledge. FORGE is a national training and technical assistance provider funded through the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women and the Office for Victims of Crime. Munson’s educational background is in psychology, with an emphasis on trauma-informed care and non-traditional healing modalities. His work on violence against transgender and non-binary individuals stresses the intersectionality between complex components of identity, experience, and societal constructs that can both spur violence, as well as catalyze healing for individuals and communities. He is passionate about engaging professionals to embrace these complexities and learn key skills to better serve their clients/constituents.
Joseph J. Wardenski – Counsel, Relman, Dane & Colfax PLLC
Bio: Joe Wardenski is Counsel at Relman, Dane & Colfax, a national civil rights law firm based in Washington, DC. Joe’s practice focuses on fair housing, education, and LGBTQ rights. Joe has secured significant legal victories advancing the rights of LGBTQ people. In Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District, he obtained a landmark federal appellate decision holding that transgender students are protected from discrimination under Title IX and the Fourteenth Amendment. He is currently the lead attorney on Flack v. Wisconsin Department of Health Services, a lawsuit challenging Wisconsin Medicaid’s categorical exclusion on transition-related health care for transgender Medicaid beneficiaries. He also represents Mary Walsh and Bev Nance, a same-sex married couple in Missouri, in a fair housing lawsuit against a senior living community for denying them housing because of their relationship. Previously, Joe was an attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. At DOJ, his work included successfully resolving the first-ever federal Title IX investigation of a school district for discriminating against a transgender student. He also co-chaired the Civil Rights Division’s LGBTI Working Group.
Julie Wilensky – Senior Staff Attorney, National Center for Lesbian Rights
Bio: Julie Wilensky is a senior staff attorney at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), where she focuses on litigation to ensure the equal rights of LGBTQ people. Before joining NCLR, Julie was a Deputy County Counsel for the County of Santa Clara in the Social Justice & Impact Litigation section. Previously, she was a shareholder at an employment and civil rights law firm in Oakland. Julie clerked for Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York and for Judge John T. Noonan, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She graduated from Yale Law School and Yale College. In 2018, Julie received a California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) award. She has also been recognized by the Daily Journal as one of California’s Top 40 Lawyers Under 40 and Top Women Lawyers, and by the National LGBT Bar Association as one of the Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40.