Hacking the Law and Creating Change
The Creating Change conference is such a unique experience. I’m so glad I had the opportunity this year in Denver to engage with so many incredible advocates from all over the country. The rich breadth and depth of the conference participants’ expertise was on full display during a workshop I presented called “Hack the Law: Using Policy for Change.”
I am a Senior Policy Analyst for the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, and I created the workshop along with Meghan Maury and Patrick Paschall from the National LGBTQ Task Force and Alison Gill from the Human Rights Campaign. The purpose of the workshop was to talk about our work on state and federal administrative regulatory advocacy, to hear what participants were working on in their cities and states, and to work with them through an activity to figure out what needs to be done after an LGBTQ non-discrimination law is passed to ensure it’s properly implemented.
To be perfectly honest, prior to our presentation, my co-panelists and I were a bit apprehensive that there just wouldn’t be a whole lot of interest in regulatory advocacy, and that we’d be having a conversation with ourselves in a near empty room. I’m going to take this opportunity to apologize for underestimating the nerdiness of LGBTQ advocates, particularly those that attend Creating Change. We not only had a full room, we had folks sitting on the floor. Meghan introduced herself to each and every participant in the room and was an absolutely phenomenal moderator. I can’t stress enough how fantastic the participants were. They asked many thoughtful and insightful questions, so that instead of just talking at them, we were able to have a two-way conversation about tactics and strategies and all the different issue areas people in the room were working on to advance LGBTQ rights, from police profiling, to healthcare, to immigration, to civil rights. I even reconnected with a college friend I hadn’t seen in years!
After the presentation, participants split up into groups to develop a regulatory advocacy strategy to ensure a hypothetical local LGBTQ non-discrimination ordinance would be properly implemented. The ideas generated were really creative and interesting, including ways to get community buy-in and direction for shaping the ordinance’s implementation. We traded contact information with the workshop participants, and now I can’t wait to hear more about the regulatory advocacy work they’ll all be doing in the future!
Sharita M. Gruberg, Senior Policy Analyst for the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress.