2019 Law Review Symposium: The 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots


On Friday, October 11, 2019 University of Richmond Law Review hosted a symposium reflecting on the social and legal precursors to the Stonewall Riots, examining the rise of LGBTQ rights in the United States, and anticipating the growth and impact of LGBTQ rights in various fields of law in the future.

The symposium featured Keynote Speaker, Bradley Sears, the David Sanders Distinguished Scholar of Law and Policy at the Williams Institute and the Associate Dean of Public Interest Law at the UCLA School of Law, along with other diverse and talented scholars, LGBTQ activists, and leaders from across the country.

For the CLE materials related to each event, click the event title.


9:00 a.m. |  Symposium Welcome & Introductory Remarks |   Athena Dufour, Volume 54 Symposium Editor & Dean Wendy Perdue, University of Richmond School of Law

9:15 a.m. | Keynote RemarksBradley Sears

9:40 a.m. | Panel Discussion | Embracing LGBTQ Rights in Education and Employment Law: Current Efforts to Combat Discrimination in the Classroom and Workplace

The Panelists, Kyle C. Velte, Dara Purvis, and Anthony Kreis, moderated by Luke Norris, will discuss discrimination against the LGBTQ community in the classroom and the workplace, primarily stemming from the statutory scheme prohibiting discrimination based on "sex." The panelists will offer legal arguments to combat discrimination through statutory interpretation, constitutional rights, and a return to the principle that "the law protects individuals, not groups." The panelists will additionally explore the different approaches to the common LGBTQ community goal of equality and how the intracommunity divide as to these approaches might shape the future of the LGBTQ rights movement. 

10:40 a.m. | Break

10:50 a.m. | Panel Discussion  | LGBTQ Rights Through Criminal Law: The Rise of Queer Criminology and Present Challenges for the LGBTQ Community in the Criminal Justice System

The Panelists, Jordan Blair Woods, Carrie Buist, and Tyrone Hanley, moderated by Erin Collins, will discuss the developing area of law known as queer criminology. Queer criminology explores the experiences of the LGBTQ population as victims, offenders, and professionals in the criminal legal system. The panelists will also discuss areas of criminal justice that require reform, particularly calling for the passage of the Equality Act and the abolishment of the Gay Panic Defense. The Equality Act would address issues like overrepresentation of LGBTQ people in jails and prison and discrimination against LGBTQ detainees and prisons in institutions that receive federal funding. Abolishing the Gay Panic Defense would recognize that personal attitudes towards LGBTQ people do not excuse violence against them.

12:00 p.m. | Lunch Transition

12:30 p.m. | Lunchtime Speaker: Promoting LGBTQ Rights Through Political Activism | Claire Gastañaga, ACLU of Virginia

1:10 p.m. | Panel Discussion | LGBTQ Rights in Administrative Law: Historic Struggles and Contemporary Debates

The Panelists, Deborah Dinner and Elizabeth Sepper, moderated by Jud Campbell, will discuss the origins of LGBTQ activism for equality in public accommodations, specifically linking the LGBTQ rights campaign to the black civil rights campaigns and women's rights campaigns in a dynamic, symbiotic relation instead of three mutually exclusive movements. The panelists will also discuss the development of LGBTQ rights in public accommodations, healthcare, and adoption law as well as recommendations on how to expand non-discrimination through statutory interpretation by relying on the connection between sex, sexuality, and gender identity.

2:20 | Break

2:30 | Panel Discussion | Realizing LGBTQ Rights in Family Law and Reproductive Rights: Modern Family Structures, Equal Reproductive Rights, and Societal Attitudes towards LGBTQ Families

The Panelists, Colleen Quinn, Michael Yarbrough, and Kimberly Mutcherson, moderated by Allison Tait and Marie-Amélie George, will discuss recent changes in family law with respect to legal rights of LGBTQ parents and the family structures that are able to access these parental rights. The panel will examine societal attitudes towards LGBTQ families and the benefits to all families that could be achieved through the legal changes accomplished by the LGBTQ community in the area of family law. The panel will also address modern issues facing the LGBTQ community regarding reproductive rights, particularly access to reproductive healthcare and services and tensions between members of the LGBTQ community created by the market for assisted reproduction.

3:35 | Closing Remarks

4:00 | Reception