Let’s Talk About LBGT Pride Month
June 7, 2017
BY: Christine Fitzgerald
In case you did not know, June is LGBT Pride Month.
To honor LGBT Pride Month, people celebrate in many ways. Some celebrate with parades, parties, and gatherings while others choose to volunteer to at one of the wonderful organizations that support LGBT issues such as GLAAD or Human Rights Campaign.
Personally, I like to honor our LGBT sisters and brothers by educating myself or teaching others about issues that affect the LGBT community.
4 Things You Should Know Regarding The LBGT Community And The Legal System
Over the years, I have learned several valuable lessons regarding fairness in the legal system for LGBT litigants that I will share in honor of Pride Month:
- A transgender person is someone whose gender identity is different from what was assigned to him or her at birth. It is more about the way the person feels inside than how he or she physically appears. A person does not have to transition to be a part of the transgender community.
Just Ask, Politely
- If you are unsure of which pronoun to use when referring to someone, you should politely ask the individual. If you do not feel it is appropriate to ask, then try using the person’s name or using the pronoun that correlates with the gender the person is presenting as. If the transgender person corrects you or you use the incorrect pronoun, apologize and do your best to get it right the next time.
Discrimination Is Illegal
- Every person has the right be treated with respect and without discrimination and this includes the LGBT community. In fact, New Jersey’s Rules of Professional Conduct 8.4 considers discrimination based on race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, language, marital status, socioeconomic status, or disability to be misconduct when the conduct of the lawyer is intended or likely will cause harm.
- Likewise, the Code of Judicial Conduct, Cannon 3A (5), provides that the Court requires attorneys to refrain from discrimination, by words or by conduct, in any proceedings. Finally, Cannon 3A (4) requires the Court to be impartial and prohibits discrimination of any kind.
Attorneys Have A Responsibility To Report Discrimination
- Attorneys that witness discrimination (by another attorney or judge) based on gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other form of discrimination, have a duty to report it to the proper regulating authorities. Although non-attorneys are not required to report discrimination, you may and should report an attorney or judge to the proper authority if you witness or experience discrimination.
Discrimination In Any Form Is Unacceptable
There is never a reason to allow discrimination and everyone should take a stand against discrimination of any kind.
Since June is LGBT Pride Month, we must:
- Honor those who have struggled with their sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Celebrate those who have had the courage and bravery to be who they are regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Help those who are still struggling with their sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Thank those who fight against injustice for those who cannot fight for themselves.
As Robert F. Kennedy said “Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, these ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”