October 2023 • Volume 1, No. 1

Writing on the Stonewall - LGBTQ+ Law Journal header

Cover art by Katie Stanley

Outgoing Chair Message

A horizontal gradient of all the colors of the rainbow

By Angie Martell

Since a young age, I’ve been driven by the words sí se puede: yes, we can. As a queer, Latinx kid, I had to advocate for myself; I wouldn’t take no for an answer. I marched to the beat of my own drum; with its unending endurance and energy, I was, and still am, like the Energizer Bunny. It’s that vivacity that I bring to the world and my work every day.

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Incoming Chair Message

An alternate horizontal gradient of all the colors of the rainbowBy Christine A. Yared

Gerry Crane, a talented music teacher at Byron Center High School, was well-respected by students, parents, and administrators. In October 1995 Gerry and his partner exchanged vows in a private commitment ceremony. Within days, word spread that he had “married a man.” Parents removed their children from his classes, colleagues ostracized him, and his sexual orientation made the local news on a regular basis. The school board issued a statement proclaiming that homosexuals “do not constitute proper role models as teachers.”

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Stepping to the Dark Side: LGBTQ Rights Three Years After Bostock

Word cloud with "Discrimination" being one of the most prominent words

By Daniel A. Gwinn and Laura Bradshaw-Tucker

Three years ago, pundits saw victory for LGBTQ rights in the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, which read Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination “because of … sex” to include protection against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. That victory appeared to be cemented in January 2021, with an Executive Order requiring federal agencies to follow Bostock when interpreting the word “sex” in other anti-discrimination laws. In the months that followed, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Education issued guidance protecting LGBTQ individuals, and especially transmen and transwomen, from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The sense of victory didn’t last long.

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Equal Access to Justice Requires Respecting Personal Pronouns

A colorful array of boxes, making a rainbow, and reading "Ask My Pronouns."

By John K. Casupang

On January 18, 2023, the Michigan Supreme Court Ordered public comment on the Proposed Amendment to MCR 1.109. The proposed rule would allow parties and attorneys to indicate any pronoun in the caption and would require courts to use those pronouns. The proposed rule presented in full is as follows:

Parties and attorneys may also include any personal pronouns in the name section of the caption, and courts are required to use those personal pronouns when referring to or identifying the party or attorney, either verbally or in writing. Nothing in this subrule prohibits the court from using the individual’s name or other respectful means of addressing the individual if doing so will help ensure a clear record.

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Preserving the Presumption of Parentage

Two men carry two children as they stroll along a pond in a wooded area

By S. Kerene Moore

When a child is born during a marriage, each spouse generally has automatically enforceable custody and control of that child. Once deemed “one of the strongest presumptions in law”, no court order is required for presumed parents to be placed on a birth certificate and each parent shares joint legal and physical custody. The U.S. Supreme Court highlighted the significance of presumed parentage in Pavan v Smith, holding that a state must list same-sex spouses on a birth certificate in the same circumstances it would allow opposite-sex spouses to be listed.

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Displaying the Pride Flag – The Government’s Right to Speak

A man holding up a rainbow pride flag at a march

By Jay Kaplan

Gilbert Baker created the LGBTQ+ Rainbow Flag in San Francisco in 1978 at the request of Harvey Milk to celebrate visibility and empower the LGBTQ+ liberation movement. In the four decades since, the flag continues to inspire the quest for LGBTQ+ equality across the globe.

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Cutting Edge Issues For Transgender Individuals

A group of silhouettes where some are white, some are pink, and some are blue

By Angie Martell

From public schools to private enterprises, transgender and nonbinary people are continuing to challenge the legal categorization of sex and gender, and daring to change old restrictions to ensure an equitable and authentic future for all.

Over the past decade, there’s been increased visibility for people whose gender identities and expressions challenge “conventional” expectations; indeed, these people have demonstrated that gender is not simply what’s written on someone’s birth certificate.

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2023-2024 Journal Editorial Board

Peter M. Kulas-Dominguez, Co-Chair
S. Kerene Moore, Co-Chair
John Casupang
Andrea Fogelsinger
Kendall Perry
Angie Martell (honorary member)
Chris Yared (honorary member)

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