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Conference shines spotlight on 2SLGBTQ+ legal perspectives

Law Students, MBA SOGIC section collaborate on ‘Queersay Evidence’ Feb 24

February 3, 2023 — 

The OUTLaws student group at the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Law is collaborating with the Manitoba Bar Association’s SOGIC (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Conference) section to host a conference regarding the unique legal issues that face 2SLGBTQ+ people living in Manitoba. The conference is also supported by the Manitoba Law Foundation.

Taking place on Friday, February 24, 2023 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. in Robson Hall’s Harry Walsh, Q.C. Moot Courtroom, the conference titled “Queersay Evidence: 2SLGBTQ+ Perspectives on the Law in Manitoba,” is free and open to all, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. Members of the MBA should register at the MBA website, and members of the general public are invited to register by sending an email to sections[at]cba-mb[dot]ca. 

One of the conference organizers, second-year law student Lou Lamari (they/them), explained that the inspiration behind planning the conference came from the lived experiences of fellow students. “We, as queer and trans members of OUTLaws, are constantly needing to grapple with the reality that our community faces unique obstacles, ranging from basic recognition, to acceptance, to systemic issues concerning health care and discrimination.”

Because both the law student and practicing professional communities are so small in Manitoba, the members of OUTLaws decided to plan a conference for both students and members of the practicing bar, to create an opportunity for the legal community at large to learn more about the specific issues the 2SLGBTQ+ community faces. “We have received excellent support from the Robson Hall faculty and administration, along with the Manitoba Bar Association and Manitoba Law Foundation,” said Lamari.  “It feels very affirming to have these organizations stand behind and alongside us, which gives us confidence that this is a topic that people are interested in learning more about.”

Access to Justice includes access to the study and practice of law. By centering 2SLGBTQ+ perspectives among legal experts, our goal is to provide representation for queer community members who may feel unwelcome or unsafe within the legal field.” – Seth Lozinski, 2L (they/them)

The lineup of guest speakers for the conference includes The Honourable Judge Kael McKenzie [LLB/2006], Kristine Barr (CUPE) [LLB/2005], and Dell Dyck (TDS) [JD/2019], and a discussion panel featuring service facilitators that work directly with the 2SLGBTQ+ community in Manitoba.

Head shot of Provincial Court Judge Kael McKenzie

Keynote speaker Judge Kael McKenzie

McKenzie is Canada’s first transgender judge, who was appointed to the Provincial Court of Manitoba in December of 2016. He graduated from the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Law in 2006 and worked both in private practice and as a Crown prosecutor in family, commercial and civil law. He is a proud member of the Manitoba Métis Nation and formerly served in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Barr graduated from the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Law in 2005 and practiced law at a private firm and a not-for-profit organization providing domestic violence legal services before working for CUPE as a labour lawyer.

Dyck is a Métis-Cree person from the Red River Settlement and an associate lawyer at Thompson Dorfman Sweatman, practicing primarily in the areas of Privacy and Data Protection law, Wills and Estate Planning and Administration, and Aboriginal law. She graduated from the Faculty of Law in 2019.

A live-streamed virtual option will be made available. The MBA will share the link with registrants the day of the event.

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