18th Anniversary Annual Update Gala & Awards Reception

April 5, 2019 12:30 PM - 8:00 PM

This year’s event will celebrate 18 years of producing research that matters, research that has informed law and policy, and research that has made an impact on millions of LGBT families and individuals.

RSVP today at: https://giving.ucla.edu/Standard/NetDonate.aspx?SiteNum=2711


12:30 pm – 1:00 pm

1:00 pm – 2:50 pm
Panel One: Legal Tactics for Advancing LGBT Rights

Leading experts will discuss the current status and challenges across the country for advancing LGBT rights. In particular, panelists will discuss recent developments in court cases, legislation, and regulations with respect to discrimination in employment, healthcare, education, and military service. Panelists will also discuss the recent changes in the judiciary, Congress, and federal agencies that impact LGBT rights.

  • Jocelyn Samuels, Executive Director, Williams Institute
  • Adam P. Romero, Arnold D. Kassoy Scholar of Law & Director of Legal Scholarship and Federal Policy, Williams Institute
  • Jon Davidson, Chief Counsel, Freedom for All Americans Education Fund
  • David B. Cruz, Newton Professor of Constitutional Law, USC Gould School of Law

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Panel Two: A Larger Map – New Opportunities for LGBTQ Rights Created by Election 2018

Although the political map remains challenging for LGBTQ rights, the 2018 election opened up new opportunities. Democrats now control the House Representatives and six new states have Democratic majorities in the legislature as well as a Democratic governor. Democrats also picked up governorships in seven states, and flipped attorney general positions in four. This Blue Wave carried over to local elections as well.

Already the elections had led to results, including the passage of a ban on conversion therapy and a gender identity non-discrimination legislation in New York and the signing of an executive order to protect LGBTQ public employees in Kansas. This panel explores these new opportunities for advancing LGBTQ rights created by the 2018 election, and how Williams Institute research shapes and informs these policy debates

  • Brad Sears, Associate Dean of Public Interest Law, UCLA School of Law, David Sanders Distinguished Scholar of Law & Policy, Williams Institute (moderator)
  • Kasey Suffredini, President of Strategy, Freedom for All Americans
  • Lestian McNeal, Program Coordinator, Black AIDS Institute
  • Andrew Flores, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Mills College, Visiting Scholar, Williams Institute
  • Jody Herman, Scholar of Public Policy, Williams Institute

4:45 pm – 6:00 pm
Final Round of the 15th Annual Moot Court Competition

Teams will compete in the final round of the Williams Institute Moot Court Competition, the only moot court in the country exclusively dedicated to sexual orientation and gender identity law. The teams will argue whether Title IX requires schools to allow transgender students to access restrooms consistent with their gender identity.


  • Honorable Richard A. Paez, Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • Honorable Carl H. Moor, Associate Justice, California Court of Appeal
  • Honorable Holly A. Thomas, Judge, Los Angeles Superior Court

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Keynote speakers:

  • Annise Parker, CEO, Victory Fund

8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Founders Council Dinner