Recently I had brunch with Judge Dan Anders, who happens to serve as the president of the International Association of LGBT Judges. He tells me they believe that there are likely more than 600 LGBT judges in the United States, and even more incredibly there are OUT judges in every state in the nation, including the most-red states such as Alabama and Mississippi.
He also gave me the following statistics:
• 12 justices on state courts and two justices in US territories
• First openly gay judge: Steve Lachs, Los Angeles, appointed 1979
• First openly lesbian judge: Mary Morgan, San Francisco, appointed 1981
• First openly transgender judge: Vicky Kolakowski, Oakland, appointed 2011
• First openly bisexual judge: Mike Jacobs, Georgia, appointed 2018
• 12 openly LGBT federal judges
Then he added, “We have had openly LGBT justices on the equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court in Australia, Germany, Ireland and South Africa. We also have an openly gay judge who is the Master of the Rolls in England, which is the second-highest ranking judge in England and Wales by appointment of the Queen herself.”
June is Pride month. Doesn’t that give you pride? Well, flash back to 1970: There wasn’t an OUT judge in the nation, in England the name Oscar Wilde was still not respected and it was still illegal to be LGBT publicly. Here in the States, according to a Gallup poll, only 33 percent of Americans believed that LGBT people should be teachers, lawyers or even pick up your trash. Most state-bar associations wouldn’t accept LGBT lawyers.
As one of these people who helped organize that first Pride march back in New York in 1970, it sometimes amazes me how some have tried to interrupt what our mission was.
This Pride month, while we seem to be caught up in so many controversies within our community, let’s take a short break to look at what we have accomplished and take pride at how we have grown a community. Here’s the simple point of that mission of the first Pride: Unite as a community, regardless of your political position. If you were out and proud, we welcomed you. Judges, teachers, parents and even police are welcome, since we as a group are in no position to judge people. That is how we have been oppressed for 2,000 years.
Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. You can follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MarkSegalPGN or Twitter at https://twitter.com/PhilaGayNews.