On the eve of the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, which marked the beginning of the modern gay liberation movement, LGBTQ Americans enjoy unprecedented freedom and acceptance.  LGBTQ people have the right to marry, the right to serve openly in public office, including our own Speaker of the New York City Council and the newly elected Mayor of Chicago, and even the capacity to run for president, so far without sexual orientation becoming a major issue in their campaigns, as South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has demonstrated.

But we also face a backlash from Washington, which is trying to expel trans service people from the military, even as the Department of Health and Human Services considers new regulations that would literally write trans people out of existence in the eyes of the Federal government.

Two of the leading LGBTQ activists of our time, Ria Tabacco Mar and Urvashi Vaid, will look back at 50 years of progress, and forward to the next decade of challenges, including LGBTQ homelessness, a Congress which still refuses to pass a national non-discrimination act, and the appointment of scores of judges committed to undermining fifty years of LGBTQ progress in the courts.  The two panelists will discuss all this and more in a conversation with three Hunter undergraduates: Cole Dempsey, a creative writing major and Secretary and Treasurer of the Queer Students Union; Max Pecora, who is studying music and computer science and navigating disability and life an LGBT+ student on campus; and Ryan Davida Silva, a transgender artist, and vice president of Lesbians Rising of Hunter’s Queer Student Union.

Ria Tabacco Mar is a senior staff attorney with the national ACLU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Project. Her work includes fighting attempts to use religion to discriminate against LGBTQ people at school, at work, and in public places. Ria was part of the ACLU’s litigation team in Miller v. Davis, the challenge to Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’s refusal to issue marriage licenses after the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, and Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the case of the same-sex couple refused a wedding cake because they are gay. Ria has been recognized on The Root 100 annual list of the most influential African Americans ages 25 to 45 and as one of the Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association.

Urvashi Vaid is one of the leading LGBTQ activists of her generation: an author, a strategist, and a consultant and writer whose work has bridged grassroots, legal, advocacy, philanthropic and academic institutions. She is the author of author of Irresistible Revolution: Confronting Race, Class and The Assumptions of LGBT Politics, and Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay & Lesbian Liberation. She currently serves President of The Vaid Group LLC, a mission driven consulting and social innovation firm advising nonprofits, foundations, businesses and individuals working for equity and justice, and as executive director of Justice Work, a social justice incubator and think tank. Among the current initiatives of the Vaid Group and Justice Work are the LGBTQ Poverty Initiative, the National LGBT/HIV Criminal Justice Working Group, and the Donors of Color Network. She is also co-author of A Roadmap for Change: Federal Policy Recommendations Addressing the Criminalization of LGBT People and People Living with HIV, and a co-editor of the anthology, Creating  Change: Public Policy, Sexuality and Civil Rights . Vaid worked for over a decade in various roles at the National LGBTQ Task Force, including as its executive director.

The LGBTQ Movement at a Crossroads: A Conversation Between the Generations | Posted on April 10th, 2019 | Public Programs, Stonewall 50