Michael Greenberg Writing Competition

The Michael Greenberg Student Writing Competition was established in memory of Michael Greenberg, a former National LGBT Bar Association board member and Philadelphia attorney who died in 1996 from complications of AIDS. This exciting competition is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing outstanding law student scholarship on the legal issues affecting LGBTQ+ persons. The winning article is considered for publication in the Tulane Journal of Law & Sexuality: A Review of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Lawthe first student-edited law review devoted to the intersection of LGBTQ+ issues and the law in the United States. Interested competitors are advised to read a sample here, and to review competition guidelines here.

Tulane Journal of Law & Sexuality

The Tulane Journal of Law & Sexuality considers the winner of the LGBT Bar’s Annual Michael Greenberg Student Writing Competition for publication each year.   

The Tulane Journal of Law & Sexuality is the official legal journal of the National LGBT Bar Association. First published in 1991, The Tulane Journal of Law & Sexuality was the first student-edited law review in the country devoted solely to covering legal issues of interest to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community on a wide variety of subjects, including constitutional, employment, family, health, insurance, and military law. The Journal addresses these issues and more with theoretical and practical articles by academicians, practitioners, and students. This journal is published every year and has broad national and international circulation. If you are interested in subscribing, click here

Click here to learn more about this competition.

Congratulations to the winner and runners-up of the 2019 Michael Greenberg Student Writing Competition.

First Place

Matt Kellner
Yale Law School
“Queer and Unusual: Capital Punishment, LGBTQ Identity, and the Constitutional Path Forward”


Ariana Aboulafia
University of Miami School of Law
“The New John Lawrence: An Analysis of the Criminalization of LGBTQ Homelessness”

Chuqiao “Chris” Zhao
University of Notre Dame Law School
“Happily (N)ever After?: Addressing Legal Barriers for Same-Sex Parenting in the Post-Obergefell Era”

We would like to extend our sincere thanks to the Tulane Journal of Law & Sexuality, whose editors judged this competition and are considering the awardees for publication.

Michael Greenberg Writing Competition Awardees:

  • 2019 | Lavender Law - Philadelphia

    First Place: Matt Kellner, Yale Law School
    “Queer and Unusual: Capital Punishment, LGBTQ Identity, and the Constitutional Path Forward”

    Runners-Up: Ariana Aboulafia, University of Miami School of Law
    “The New John Lawrence: An Analysis of the Criminalization of LGBTQ Homelessness” and
    Chuqiao “Chris” Zhao, University of Notre Dame Law School
    “Happily (N)ever After?: Addressing Legal Barriers for Same-Sex Parenting in the Post-Obergefell Era”

  • 2018 | Lavender Law - New York City

    First Place: Emily Lamm, Vanderbilt Law School
    “Bye, Bye, Binary: Updating Birth Certificates to Transcend the Binary of Sex”

    First Runner-Up: Candelario Saldana, University of Miami School of Law
    “Queering the Dream – The Impact Trump’s Decision has on LGBTQ+ Dreamers and the Inability to Attain Asylum”

  • 2017 | Lavender Law - San Francisco

    First Place: Sarah Capasso-Kosan, Brooklyn Law School
    “A Proposal for the First National Equality Tax Credit Act”

    First Runner-Up: David Mendoza, Whittier Law School
    “Transitioning from Polarization to Understanding: An Objective Analysis of Gloucester County School Board v. G.G.”

  • 2016 | Lavender Law - Washington, D.C.

    First Place: Elizabeth B. Booker, University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
    “The ADA’s Exclusion of Gender Dysphoria: An Analysis of the Rift between Jurisprudence and Mental Health”

    First Runner-Up: Meredith Fierro, Boston College Law School
    “Invalidating Identity: Religious Freedom, Gender Identity, and HHS’ Rule on Nondiscrimination in Health Services”

  • 2015 | Lavender Law - Chicago

    First Place:  Viktoriya Kruglyak, St. John’s University School of Law
    “The Need for Guidance for the USCIS: The Aftermath of DOMA and its Effect on Immigration”

    Runner Up: Alexi Machek Velez, Rutgers School of Law
    “On Why Courts Cannot Grasp ‘Gender’: Conflation, Assumption, and the Faulty Binary Paradigm that Underscores it All”

  • 2014 | Lavender Law - New York

    First Place:  Jillian Lenson, Boston College Law School
    “Litigation Primer Attacking State ‘No Promo Homo’ Laws: Why ‘Don’t Say Gay’ is not O.K.”

    First Runner Up: Ginger Grimes, University of California, Irvine School of Law
    “Masking the Reemergence of Immutability with ‘Outcomes for Children’”

    Second Runner Up:  Andrew Stankevich, Mississippi College School of Law
    “Uncle Sam’s Choice to Live as Lady Liberty: Advocating for Transsexuals’ Choice of Sex as a Fundamental Constitutional Right”

  • 2013 | Lavender Law - San Francisco

    First Place:  Natacha Lam, Harvard Law School
    “Clash of the Titans: Seeking Guidance for Adjudicating the Conflict between Equality and Religious Liberty in LGBT Litigation”

    First Runner Up: Brian Kaufman, Emory University School of Law
    “The Ambivalence of Colonial Residue: Comparative Perspectives of Sexual Identity Construction, Politics, and Culture in Zimbabwe and South Africa”

    Second Runner Up:  Elizabeth Levy, UC Irvine School of Law
    “Virgin Fathers: Paternity Law, Assisted Reproductive Technology, and the Legal Bias Against Gay Dads”

  • 2012 | Lavender Law - Washington, DC

    First Place:  Govind Persad, J.D./Ph.D Student, Stanford Law School
    “What Marriage Law can Learn from Citizenship Law (and Vice Versa)”

    First Runner Up:  Jane Tanimura, USC School of Law
    “A Duty to Protect Female Transgender Inmates from the Obvious and Foreseeable Risk of Sexual Assault”

    Second Runner Up:  Ryan Castle, Seattle University School of Law
    “The Gay Accent, Gender, and Title VII Employment Discrimination: Adapting to Modern Understandings of Bias in the Workplace”

  • 2011 | Lavender Law - Hollywood

    First Place:  Michael Stefanilo, Northeastern School of Law
    “Identity Interrupted: The Parental Notification Requirement of the Massachusetts Anti-Bullying Law”

    First Runner Up:  Natalie Amato, University of Maryland School of Law
    “Black v. Simms: A Lost Opportunity to Benefit Children by Preserving Sibling Relationships When Same-Sex Families Dissolve”

    Second Runner Up:  Shawn Carrol Casey, University of Arizona College of Law
    “Illicit Regulation: A Framework for Challenging the Procedural Validity of the Gay Blood Ban”

  • 2010 | Lavender Law – Miami Beach

    First Place:  Tina Sohaili, University of Southern California Gould School of Law
    “Securing Safe Schools: Using Title IX Liability to Address Peer Harassment of Transgender Students”

    First Runner Up:  Maureen Brocco, University of Maryland School of Law
    “Note: Familiar Stories: An International Suggestion for LGB Family Military Benefits After the Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’”

    Second Runner Up:  Alison Davidian, Harvard Law School
    “Beyond the Locker Room: Changing Narratives on Early Surgery for Intersex Children”

  • 2009 | Lavender Law – Brooklyn

    First Place: Krista Stone-Manista, Northwestern University School of Law
    “Parents in Illinois Are Parents in Oklahoma: An Argument for Mandatory Interstate Recognition of Same-Sex Adoptions”

    First Runner Up:  C. Hays Burchfield, University of Mississippi School of Law
    “Gay or Straight – Marriage Should Not Be a Requirement for Enforceable Gestational Surrogacy Agreements”

    Second Runner Up: Matthew Coleman, Rutgers School of Law Newark
    “Segregating the Cycle: Same-Sex Domestic Violence and the Threat of State Constitutional Amendments Limiting Marriage”

  • 2008 | Lavender Law – San Francisco

    First Place: Luke Boso, West Virginia University College of Law
    “A (Trans) Gender Inclusive Equal Protection Analysis of Public Female Toplessness”

    First Runner Up:   Kathleen Doty, University of California Davis School of Law
    “From Fretté to E.B.: The European Court of Human Rights on Gay and Lesbian Adoption”

    Second Runner Up: Victoria Snyder, City University of New York School of Law at Queens College
    “Romeo and Romeo: Coming Out from Under the Umbrella of Sexual Abuse”

  • 2007 | Lavender Law 2007 – Chicago

    First Place:  Adam R. Pulver, Columbia Law School – “Gay Blood Revisionism: A Critical Analysis of Advocacy and the ‘Gay Blood Ban’”

    First Runner Up:  L. James Lyman, University of Colorado Law School – “Legislators Gone Wild! The (Mis)Use of Criminal Law to Prevent the Spread of HIV”

    Second Runner Up: Daniel Ryan Koslosky – University of Florida College of Law – “Sexual Identity as Personhood: Towards an Expressive Liberty in the Military Context ”

  • 2006 | Lavender Law 2006 – Washington DC

    First Place: Anne C. DeCleene, University of Wisconsin Law School, The Reality of Gender Ambiguity:  A Road Toward Transgender Healthcare Inclusion.

    First Runner Up:  Caitlin Barry, James E. Beasley School of Law, Temple University, Underage & Underprotected:  Recognizing the Rights of Gender Nonconforming Youth

    Second Runner Up: Lauren Dubick, Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, The 1st Amendment in Public Schools:  Restricting Religiously Based Anti-Homosexual Messages

  • 2005 | Lavender Law 2005 – San Diego

    First Place:  Deborah A. Morgan, American University Washington College of Law, Not Gay Enough for the Government: Racial Stereotypes in Sexual Orientation Asylum Cases

    First Runner Up:   Shannan W. Leelyn, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Penal Implants: Transsexuals (Mis)Housed in the Criminal Justice System

    Second Runner Up: Steve Sanders, University of Michigan Law School,Federalism and Same-Sex Marriage

  • 2004 | Lavender Law 2004 – Minneapolis

    First Place:  Anne Tamar-Mattis, University of California at Berkeley School of Law, Implications of AB 458 for California LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care

    First Runner Up:    Natasha Ernst, Lewis & Clark Law School, Same-Sex Marriage and Equal Protection under Article I, Section 20 of the Oregon Constitution

    Second Runner Up: Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona State University College of Law,A Bittersweet Victory in Smith v. Salem: How the Landmark Decision for Transgender Title VII Plaintiffs Doesn’t Pave the Way.

  • 2003 | Lavender Law 2003 – New York

    First Place:  Keith Hilzendeger, Arizona State University College of Law,Walking Title VII’s Tightrope: Advice for Gay and Lesbian Title VII Plaintiffs

    First Runner Up:  Zachary A. Kramer, University of Illinois College of Law, The Neutered Homosexual: Why Gays and Lesbians Should Champion Martha Fineman’s Re-Visioned Family Law

    Second Runner Up:  Sarah Drescher, University of Oregon College School of Law, ’Til Death Do Us Part . . . Or Until We Travel to Another State

    Second Runner Up: Stacey Meadow, Fordham Law School, Gender Outlawed – Transsexuality and the Creation of a Legal Impossibility

  • 2002 | Lavender Law 2002 – Philadelphia

    First Place:  Mary Beth Heinzelmann, Hofstra University School of Law, The ‘Reasonable Lesbian’ Standard: A Potential Deterrent Against Bias in Hostile Work Environment Cases

  • 2001 | Lavender Law 2001 – Dallas

    First Place:  Christopher S. Hargis, University of Kentucky College of Law, The Scarlet ‘H’: The Status and Expression of Homosexuality

  • 2000 | Lavender Law 2000 – Washington DC

    First Place:  B.J. Chisholm, Howard University School of Law, The Back(door) of Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc.: ‘Outing’ Heterosexuality as a Gender-Based Stereotype

  • 1999 | Lavender Law 1999 – Seattle

    First Place:  Laurie Rose Kepros Queer Theory: Weed or Seed in the Garden of Legal Theory?

  • 1998 | Lavender Law 1998 – Boston

    First Place:  Dirk Selland Will Maryland Enter the Twenty-First Century in the Right Direction by Rescinding Its Ancient Sodomy Statutes?