A Message from the President
2019 is off to a busy start! So far, we have hosted events, set up a member directory, started a mentor program, endorsed judicial candidates, testified at hearings at the Colorado General Assembly, and submitted an amicus brief to the Colorado Supreme Court. More events are planned for the near future. Scroll down to learn more about what we’ve been up to and what’s to come.
At our History of the LGBT Bar event in February three of our founding members, Hon. Mary Celeste (Ret.), Jamie Henderson and Larry Hoyt explained that our organization was formed in 1993 largely to draft wills and other documents for patients dying of AIDS. Discrimination was so rampant at the time, that even some healthcare professionals would not enter the hospital rooms of AIDS patients. Our legal community came together to provide critical pro bono legal services.
Today, thanks to the courage of those lawyers and many more, we enjoy more civil rights and social acceptance than ever before. It’s not perfect. There are those who have not given up on trying to take away our rights to marry, have children, be out at work and at home, and to serve in the military.
But we persist! When we come together, we can make tremendous change. Today, most of our members are out at work and in their communities. LGBTQ clients can find knowledgeable LGBTQ lawyers in every practice area. We have several gay and lesbian bench officers in Colorado. And you can count on Colorado LGBTQ lawyers and allies to stand up for our civil rights at every turn.
We do best when we come together as a community to learn, to advocate, and to just be together. There is room for each member of the LGBT Bar Association to actively participate in our organization. That goes for everyone from law students to retirees. As you scroll through the newsletter, think of how you would like to be more involved. Contact me or any other board member at any time and we will get you plugged in!
Member Spotlight: Jordan Blisk (he/him/his)
Jordan Blisk identifies as a queer, transgender man of color who is an associate attorney with Altus Law Group specializing in family law and estate planning. He is a recent graduate of the University of Colorado Law School, where he was elected President of OUTlaw and subsequently led that group to receive the first-ever CU Law Community Service Award for the name change clinics which he organized to assist over 30 transgender Coloradans with their legal name and gender marker changes. As a law student, Jordan was chosen as an AmeriCorps Equal Justice Works Summer Fellow with Lambda Legal, completed the CU Public Service Pledge, and became the first student from CU Law ever recognized as the Colorado LGBT Bar Association’s Summit Scholar. Jordan has been interviewed by NPR, BBC, and WNYC on various topics related to his queer advocacy.
Prior to entering law school, Jordan served in the United States Air Force as an Aircraft Fuel Systems Journeyman on the KC-135R airframe. He completed his undergraduate education at Ball State University where he earned his degree in Psychological Science.
What compelled you to become a lawyer? Far too many times, I or my loved ones have faced down institutional systems of oppression alone, without any power to make our voices be heard or considered. While the law is an imperfect vehicle to achieve perfect equity, when used effectively, it remains a powerful advocacy tool for minorities whose needs would otherwise be dismissed. I became a lawyer to both directly aid people in navigating systems which have historically excluded them and also provide representation in the legal community itself for others who share my underrepresented identities.
What has been your most meaningful work experience so far? Prior to my legal transition, I routinely experienced discrimination as a result of my incongruent identification documents, and at my name change hearing, I had a very poor experience with the presiding judge. That negative encounter significantly influenced my drive to help smooth the experiences of other transgender people navigating their own legal transitions, and that work is some of the most personally meaningful that I have completed so far.
What is your favorite non-legal thing to do? Fly fishing, hiking, or hanging out with my dogs.
What do you love most about the CO LGBTQ+ community? Compared to my home state of Indiana, I absolutely love the abundance of diversity, resilience, and generosity that exists within the Colorado queer community.
Recent and Upcoming LGBT Bar & Community Events
(For more information and to register, go to coloradolgbtbar.org/events)
LGBT Bar Events:
· Thursday February 7—History of LGBT Bar & DCPA Theatre Night
· Friday, March 8—LGBT Bar Winter Social
· Thursday, March 21—Karaoke Night @ Voicebox with CBA-YLD
· Keep an eye out for a Military Trans Ban Video & Panel, as well as a Military Trans Ban CLE
· Same-Sex Marriage CLE with Judge Lucer: History and Current Challenges, date TBD
· Saturday, June 15—Pride Parade March
· Annual Judicial Reception, date TBD
· Friday, February 22nd—Casino Night CLC-YLD Event @ Rathod Mohamedbhai
· Saturday, March 2nd—CLI Ball for All Gala
· Thursday, March 14th—JJJ Fundraiser
· Friday, March 22nd—Sexual Violence CLE
· Thursday, March 28th—LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce After-hours
· Thursday, April 18th—MVL FLCP Day: LGBT Bar Takeover Day
· Monday, April 22nd—You Be the Judge CLE @ Ralph Carr
For more information about events please contact Shannara Quissell