CPR Scholars Call for 'Vigilant Advocacy' to Protect LGBTQ Gains

Maggie Dewane
Allison Stevens
Laurie Ristino
Victor Flatt
Steph Tai

June 24, 2021

The Center for Progressive Reform stands with all who are working to advance equity and equality for LGBTQ Americans. To commemorate Pride Month, we asked three CPR leaders to weigh in on progress in this area. Below, Board Member Laurie Ristino and Member Scholars Victor Flatt and Steph Tai offer their perspectives on progress made and work to do, as well as misperceptions about the LGBTQ community and lessons learned from past victories.

Laurie Ristino

Laurie Ristino

“Over the last several decades, LGBTQ rights have made serious progress, gains that require vigilant advocacy to retain and further equal justice for all LGBTQ people.  

“At the same time, the struggle for BIPOC rights continues. In America, we have simply failed to address racial injustice and inequity. What can we learn from the advocacy successes of the LGBTQ experience to move the dial forward so all Americans may enjoy the same rights, protections, and considerations?”

Ristino is a CPR Board member and Member Scholar. She is also founder of Strategies for a Sustainable Future, an environmental consulting firm.

Victor Flatt

Victor Flatt

“The rights of LGBTQ folks have come further and faster in the last 10 years than I could have anticipated in the late ‘80s, when I joined other law students in starting the National Lesbian and Gay Law Students Association. Building on the pioneers who came before us, we knew that law had a very important role in helping secure equality for all.

“However, even with important LGBTQ legal rights now recognized, so much remains to be done. Many people who identify as LGBTQ (especially young people) are vulnerable to crime and exploitation. A more equitable society with support systems would be a great help to them and to all the other vulnerable folk who still struggle.”

Flatt is a CPR Member Scholar and a professor of law at University of Houston Law Center.

Steph Tai

Steph Tai

“Courts and state legislatures are the battlegrounds for LGBTQ rights right now. Attention is needed to ensure that even the gains our community have made will not be eroded or lost.”

Tai is a CPR Member Scholar and a law professor at the University of Wisconsin—Madison.

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