Panels Discuss LGBTQIA+ Legal, Health Care Concerns

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Photo courtesy Alexander Grey

Recognizing the importance of advancing LGBTQIA+ rights, legal professionals and academics alike attended a recent University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Law colloquium featuring discussions on policy, health care, and family law as they relate to the LGBTQIA+ community.

Known as LGBTQ Plus the Law, the panel series took place April 12 at the Jones Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice. The free event was open to UC law students, faculty, staff, and the public, and it also provided continuing legal education credits to practicing attorneys who attended.

The first panel, “This Is Where We Are,” offered a comprehensive look at LGBTQIA+ rights in Ohio and their national context. Experts, including law professor Jack Harrison from Northern Kentucky Salmon P. Chase College of Law, Carson Hartlage from TransOhio, and Sean McCann from the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, shared insights on recent judicial actions and their implications for the LGBTQIA+ community.

During the “Healthcare Access” discussion, panelists shed light on the challenges surrounding gender-affirming care and the need for inclusive health care policies. Ryan Thoreson, a UC law professor; Nick Zingarelli, director of the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Help Center; and Maria Bruno, an attorney for Equality Ohio, highlighted common restrictions for transgender and gender nonconforming people’s health care options.

“Expanding the Family,” the final panel, explored the intersection of family law and LGBTQIA+ rights, focusing on issues such as parentage, adoption, and custody. Panelists included three practicing attorneys from the region with experience in LGBTQIA+ issues — Scott Knox, Nicole Kersting, and Rachel Loftspring — along with Marc Spindelman, a law professor at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. They analyzed existing legal frameworks and how they may affect LGBTQIA+ family rights.

With pending federal cases and state-level laws threatening or limiting already tenuous LGBTQIA+ rights, the event was a poignant reminder of the need for greater legal protections for this vulnerable community.

“Given what has already happened at the [U.S. Supreme] Court and what is likely to transpire next, and what could transpire after that, LGBTQIA+ communities, with others, must be preparing for how to operate in a newly emerging constitutional, legal, and political landscape, one that bears resemblances from the lived past,” Spindelman wrote in a recent essay examining the future of LGBTQIA+ rights.