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Brooklyn Bar Association’s LGBTQ Committee hoping to make a bigger impact

July 17, 2018 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Christina Golkin is the chair of the Brooklyn Bar Association’s LGBTQ Committee, which was founded in 2015. She has big aspirations for the committee and wants to see its membership group in 2018-2019. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
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The Brooklyn Bar Association’s LGBTQ Committee has come a long way since it was created during the fall of 2015 as it has hosted a handful of continuing legal education seminars and social events since that time.

 

Now the founder of the committee, Christina Golkin, is hoping to do even more within the next year including a big push to attract more attorneys.

 

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“The committee has certainly come a long way from 2015 when it was just an idea,” Golkin said. “We started in 2015 [after same-sex marriage was legalized throughout the country] under then-President Arthur Aidala and in that time we’ve had four CLEs, three social events and have participated in two Brooklyn Pride events.”

The first CLE was on the nuts and bolts of litigating LGBTQ employment discrimination cases on March 29, 2016. The next one covered adoption cases involving LGBTQ parents. Since that time, the NYS CLE Board has instituted new diversity requirements, which compels attorneys to obtain one credit in Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination of Bias and have led to the committee ramping up its CLE efforts.

“The diversity and inclusion requirement brings in people that wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to these types of topics,” Golkin said. “That’s great and it’s the whole point of having that new credit. Some people are just trying to get their credit, but they’re being exposed to this and hopefully it at least opens their eyes towards a community that has been marginalized consistently.”

In February this year, it hosted a broader and practical CLE on preparing lawyers for handling LGBTQ clients. Then in May it hosted another CLE on transgender student rights.

“In [the transgender student rights CLE] we went from small to big in focusing on the local, state and federal laws,” Golkin explained. “We started locally with the Department of Education’s policy and the NYC education policy which is very comprehensive, affirming and safety-oriented towards the students.

“Then we went over the state policy that includes the Dignity for All Students Act [DASA],” Golkin continued. “Federally, we discussed two cases, referred to as Whitaker and Grimm, that basically said that denying students access to bathrooms that conform to their gender identity is discrimination.”

The committee plans on hosting more CLEs over the next year, wants to have at least one social event to help attract new members to both the committee and BBA itself. It will also participate in local events like it has with the Brooklyn Pride parade the last two years.

“It matters to people that we are out there, they can meet us and that we’re friendly,” Golkin said of the importance of being involved with Brooklyn Pride. “It matters that you understand them, they know they won’t have a bad experience.”

Although Golkin has seen the committee’s membership rise from a half dozen attorneys in 2015 to a group that attracts 50 or more people to some of its CLEs, she said that a big goal over the next year will be to attract new members. Anyone interested in joining the group should reach out to her via the Brooklyn Bar Association’s website at www.BrooklynBar.org.

 


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