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Lawyers of San Diego is a specialty bar association committed to advancing the status of women in the law and society. We use this space to share articles written about Lawyers Club events and programs and items of interest to our members which are relevant to our mission. The opinions outlined in content published on the Lawyers Club of San Diego blog are those of the authors and not of Lawyers Club. All members are encouraged to participate respectfully in discussions regarding the topics posted on the blog. Guest writers are welcome.

 

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Stonewall at 50 – Building on the Legacy of Pride and Freedom

Posted By Kim Ahrens for Lawyers Club's LGBTQ Committee, Monday, July 8, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, July 9, 2019

 

Like too many, I lived my entire law school career plus the first part of my professional career suppressing part of my identity in fear that my orientation, instead of my skill, would define me and distract prospective employers, or worse, clients. So, while I developed my knowledge of the law and sharpened my litigation skills, I also became an expert at avoiding questions that revealed the gender of my partner. 

Around the same time, I attended my first Lawyers Club event where a room full of successful women greeted me and opened my eyes to the possibilities available for female attorneys in the San Diego legal community. It’s hard to put into words the impact that 2005 mentor-mentee reception had on me and how it affected the trajectory of my career, but without a doubt it decreased my concern that my gender would be an insurmountable obstacle. However, it did nothing to thwart my fear of the professional consequences of revealing my orientation.

At the time, Lawyers Club did not have an LGBTQ Committee, and I did not learn about the Tom Homann LGBT Law Association until years later. I continued to be an active member, and even a leader, in Lawyers Club. And I continued to be closeted.

This status quo remained until opponents of same-sex marriage put a proposition on the ballot to amend the California constitution to exclude same-sex marriage. For me, Prop 8 opened my eyes to the importance of being an open lesbian in my professional career, gave me motivation to hit the streets to oppose the discriminatory proposition, and propelled me into being an activist in the LGBTQ rights movement. It was my personal tipping point.

I now appreciate how fortunate I am to have the freedom to use my voice, especially compared to LGBTQ people across the U.S. and world who risk far more than potential professional obstacles if they reveal their authentic selves. With this in mind, one can imagine the intensity of oppression and violence it took to trigger Stonewallers to rebel against police in the early morning of June 28, 1969. 

This year, I traveled to New York and visited the now National Historic Landmark. As I stood outside Stonewall Inn, I took a moment to acknowledge the historical significance of the Stonewall uprising. Fifty years ago, the aftermath of Stonewall opened the door to the first LGBTQ rights and activist organizations, and the first pride parade kicked off one year later. I also reflected on how much we accomplished during this first year of San Diego Lawyers Club’s LGBTQ Committee and the pride that overwhelmed me when I heard the Lawyers Club mission statement blasted to the audience as the very first Lawyers Club contingent passed in the 2018 San Diego Pride parade. 


My thoughts then turned to the theme of this year’s San Diego Pride, Stonewall 50: A Legacy of Liberation, and my heart filled with pride as I took a moment to acknowledge Lawyers Club is building on the legacy passed down by so many trailblazers, including the Stonewallers.


 With all this in mind, I could not be more excited to invite you to march with Lawyers Club in San Diego’s Pride Parade on Saturday, July 13, 2019 (register here to join us). 


Kimberly Ahrens wrote this for the San Diego Lawyers Club LGBTQ Committee, she is the founder of Ahrens Law, APC, and a Director of Lawyers Club of San Diego.

 

 

 

Tags:  civil rights  closet  LGBTQ  Mentee  Mentor  National Historic Monument  New York  parade  Pride  Stonewall Inn  Stonewallers 

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The Journey of Gender Identity

Posted By Jodi Cleesattle, Friday, July 6, 2018

The Journey of Gender Identity


Since 1999, I have been the mother of daughters. Well, in 1999, I was the mother of a daughter. The second one came along in 2002.

 

When I divorced in 2007, it was just us girls in the house. Even our dogs and cats were all girls, except for Sparky, who retreated to his man cave behind the couch when he needed to get away from all the estrogen.

 

Then in 2016, my older child began identifying as genderqueer, or nonbinary. They adopted “they/them/their” pronouns and shortened their first name to a more androgynous nickname to reflect their identity as neither male nor female. Although they flirted with gender fluidity – some days presenting more female, some days more male – they settled on nonbinary status, for a time. In the last year, though, they began leaning more toward a male identity. Now, they are considering transitioning to male.

 

I am used to being the mother of girls, and I admit that I had a “but, boys are icky” moment.

 

But I realized that my child will always be a feminist, whether male, female, or nonbinary. They will always be a champion of women’s rights and LGBTQ rights. They will always be an activist for those who are disadvantaged. They will always be the same spirited, creative, curious, wonderful human being they have always been.

 

Fully realizing their gender identity, and the separate-but-related issue of their sexual orientation, has been a journey.

 

It is a journey that has felt slow to them, but often feels fast to me. Sometimes I get dizzy and confused by the twists and turns of the journey. Sometimes they don’t tell me the path until after they have thoroughly explored it, and I have to race to catch up to where they are. I don’t mean to be slow, but I’m not as nimble and young as they are.

 

I have learned so much while journeying with my child. As a cisgendered (for the unfamiliar, that means identifying with the gender assigned at birth) woman, I never thought much about gender identity. As a bisexual woman, I never thought much about sexual orientation beyond LGBTQ. Through my child, I have learned that gender and orientation are so much more nuanced.

 

Most importantly, I have realized that everybody’s journey is different. Some trans kids feel at a young age that they’re trapped in the wrong gender. Some take longer to pinpoint what doesn’t feel quite right to them.

 

It has not always been easy, but it has been a privilege being on this journey with my child.

 

I love them for who they are, whoever they are. No matter their name, no matter what they look like, no matter their identity, they will always be my child.

 

Editor’s Note: Happy Pride Month, San Diego! Join Lawyers Club for two events: She Fest on July 7, and the San Diego Pride Parade on July 14: She Fest: The Time is Now: Saturday, July 7, 2018, 11-6, North Park Community Park, 4044 Idaho St., 92104

Join the Lawyers Club’s marching contingent at the San Diego Pride Parade on Saturday July 14, 2018 – for details, contact Allison Troini (Allison@lawyersclubsandiego.com).

Jodi Cleesattle is a Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice, a past Lawyers Club board member, the current Lawyers Club press liaison, and she wrote this as a member of Lawyers Club’s LGBTQ Committee.

Tags:  cisgender  LGBTQ  nonbinary  parenting  Pride  transgender 

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more Calendar

9/19/2019
Diverse Women's Committee Luncheon-- Registration Open

10/17/2019
Registration Open: Leadership Development Committee Luncheon

10/24/2019
Save the Date: Fall Judicial Reception

11/6/2019
Taste of North County: North and MId-County Committee Mixer

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