Last week the Williams Institute and the International Lesbian and Gay Law Association convened the Global Arc of Justice Conference in Los Angeles. With participants from forty countries, the conference seems to be the most nationally-diverse gathering of LGBT scholars, judges, lawyers and activists ever. Such conferences often attract participants from the global north, but Brad Sears of the Williams Institute and David Cruz of USC Law School (President of ILGLAW) did an amazing job and arranging for a fantastically diverse group of people. With constant translation between Spanish and English, the conference gave the attending lawyers, activists, and scholars a unique chance to connect over rights struggles throughout the world. The multiplicity of both regional and themed panels gave participants the ability to aqcuire direct knowledge of the work going on in other countries.
Highlights included the panel of supreme court justices from Argentina, Australia and Nepal, in which the judges conveyed differing approaches to sexuality and gender issues before their courts. Justice Michael Kirby of Australia’s High Court, probably the only openly gay supreme court justice in the world, was particularly eloquent about his role as he steps down from the court due to a mandatory retirement.
Stories of persecution and resistance abounded. Of note, Moroccan civil rights lawyer Abdelaziz Nouaydi discussed his representation of the family of a man persecuted both by the press and riotous crowds for having conducted a wedding in his family home in which he wore a bridal gown. Here‘s part one of a five-part YouTube video on the story.