This workshop will discuss how discrimination and the criminalization of LGBTQ people have led to a disproportionate number of LGBTQ people being in custody, issues that impact incarcerated LGBT+ people, and litigation skills for prison advocacy. Panelists are litigators who have successfully challenged state departments of corrections policies related to healthcare for transgender people, housing placement, and the discipline of people living with HIV. The panel will focus on litigation skills for prison litigation including the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) and the administrative grievance process, the use of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) in litigation, and constitutional claims. The panel will also discuss discovery issues and the use of expert witnesses. Recently, panelists have served as counsel for amici in cases concerning judicial bias against transgender litigants (United States v. Varner), claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for violence against transgender people in custody (Gladney v. United States), and social transition as medically necessary treatment for gender dysphoria (Keohane v. Jones). These experiences will inform the discussion on how courts treat cases brought by incarcerated LGBTQ people. Panelists have been counsel or counsel for amici, in some of the leading cases for incarcerated LGBTQ people including Edmo v. Idaho (challenge to Idaho Department of Corrections ban on surgery), Diamond v. Georgia (challenge to Georgia DOC’s freeze-frame policy), Hicklin v. Precythe (challenge to Missouri DOC’s freeze-frame policy), and Dorn v. Michigan DOC (challenge to Michigan DOC’s policy directive that disciplined people living with HIV with administrative segregation). Panelists are also involved with policy and legislative work to address the harms that LGBT+ people face while in custody.
Speakers: Chinyere Ezie (Center for Constitutional Rights); Shawn Meerkamper (Transgender Law Center); Richard Saenz (Lambda Legal); Steven Slawinski (Western District of New York); Amy Whelan (National Center for Lesbian Rights)