Journalists mark Kevin Cathcart's 20th anniversary as Lambda Legal's Executive Director

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June 1, 2012
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Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin Cathcart

As Kevin Cathcart celebrates 20 years as Executive Director of Lambda Legal, profiles are popping up in several publications.

The law and the legal world have changed dramatically in those two decades, as Cathcart tells Metro Weekly's Chris Geidner:

I think people that are newer to the legal profession today can't even imagine. I tell stories and I sound like I'm 5,000 years old, because the climate inside of law firms is so different today. The notion that partners weren't out 10 or 20 years ago, that firms wouldn't co-counsel cases with a group like Lambda Legal.

Cathcart also sat down for a lengthy Q&A with New York Law Journal's Laura Haring. Here's an excerpt:

Q: Are LGBT people treated more fairly than when you began your legal career? Do they still suffer from significant discrimination in employment and other areas?

A: Yes and yes. I graduated from law school in 1982, and there is no comparison to the legal and social positions of gay people in American life today: most gay people were closeted, and particularly in professions like law; a majority of states had sodomy laws; there was no legal relationship recognition—not marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships. And the AIDS epidemic was just beginning.

We have come a long way, but LGBT people still suffer from significant discrimination. Lambda Legal's Help Desks received over 7,000 call in 2011, and, as in every year since we have been keeping track, the highest number of calls was about employment discrimination. Many states do not include sexual orientation or gender identity in their civil rights laws, and there is not yet a federal law. (ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, has been pending in Congress for many, many years. It is not getting through Congress this year, as the election looms). Lambda Legal's docket shows the many ways that discrimination is still significant: employment; relationship recognition; custody and adoption; HIV; transgender; access to health care; youth in schools and in out-of-home care.

Over at Gay City News, Paul Schindler writes:

In the LGBT civil rights struggle that will surely stretch years into the future, Kevin Cathcart must be counted a long-term player.

Attorney Eric A. Webber writes in the Los Angeles Daily Journal (by subscription only):

Cathcart transformed Lambda Legal into an unparalleled national force through far-reaching litigation and public education efforts.