Established in 2016, the Richard C. Failla LGBTQ Commission of the New York Courts works to increase access to and participation in the court system, especially among LGBTQ folks who have been historically left out of judicial processes and institutions.
Executive Director Matthew Skinner applauds the progress and civil protections that New York State has enshrined into law, but he also provides examples of cases and rulings that validate the need for the Commission. While New York may not be battling legislation like that introduced in Texas, Florida, or Louisiana, full implementation of state laws like the Gender Recognition Act has not yet been realized.
The work of the Commission to raise awareness, organize trainings, foster a network of LGBTQ judicial and non-judicial personnel remains, in light of these examples, critical to creating a more representative, more democratic state court system. There may be stumbling blocks, as Matt explains, but these can be overcome when there is a united effort to increase diversity and visibility for LGBTQ individuals in the courts.