Written by Samuel W. Buchbauer, Associate at Capell Barnett Matalon & Schoenfeld LLP. Featured in New York Law Journal.
It is truly an honor and privilege to serve as chair for one of the newest Sections of the New York State Bar Association. Providing a state-wide community for LGBTQ+ identified legal professionals and allies through CLE programming, live events and advocacy work strengthens our Section’s purpose to promote equality in the law for LGBTQ+ people. I am looking forward to our Section’s continued growth to be a leading voice for the LGBTQ+ legal community.
In this divisive political climate, our community is facing an onslaught of legal and legislative attacks on the local, state and federal levels. Protests against drag queen story hours, bans on books containing LGBTQ+ content and limits to accessible medical care for transgender people threatens our freedoms of expression and individual autonomy. Despite this tidal wave of challenges, our Section remains steadfast in our commitment to be a strong advocate for LGBTQ+ rights in both New York and across the United States.
In the face of these challenges, our Section will address pressing issues confronted by our community in our Annual Meeting CLE programming. Our first panel on immigration and asylum claims will examine pre-existing qualifications for asylum based upon LGBTQ+ legal and extralegal persecution and the challenges posed by recent U.S. policy and overseas legislative developments. Our second program will explore the unique challenges and legislation that LGBTQ+ people face within the criminal justice system and recent advocacy efforts to protect our community within correction facilities such as the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) and pre-trial diversion programs.
Our Section will continue to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights despite this rise in anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment. I am optimistic that the continued support of the Bar Association and committed involvement of our Section members will help us tackle these threats together.
Samuel W. Buchbauer is an associate attorney at Capell Barnett Matalon & Schoenfeld, where he practices in trusts, estates and real estate law.