of Law Libraries
Special Interest Section
Approved as a standing committee of the AALL Contemporary Social Problems (now Social Responsibility) Special Interest Section, founder Carol Alpert called the first meeting of the Standing Committee during the 1985 AALL annual meeting in New York City. Over the next decade, the Standing Committee on Lesbian and Gay Issues emerged as one of the most active and committed divisions within the American Association of Law Libraries. A constitution and by-laws governing the Standing Committee were proposed and adopted in 1992. What began as an informal group of lesbian and gay law librarians in 1985 has today evolved into a formal organization with 160+ members.
Until 1994, the Standing Committee was guided by Co-Chairs, a lesbian and a gay man. Current officers include a Chair, Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect, Secretary and Treasurer that are elected every year, with past officers acting in an "advisory" capacity. The officers work closely with the leadership of the Social Responsibility SIS and participate in project planning and coordination for the group as a whole. The annual business meeting follows the SR-SIS meeting.
If the Social Responsibility SIS can be termed the "conscience" of AALL, then the Standing Committee on Lesbian and Gay Issues is certainly the "lesbian and gay conscience" of the Association. The Standing Committee has been and continues to be instrumental in promoting non-discrimination policies and diversity in all aspects of the employment and professional life of law librarians. Through Standing Committee efforts, sexual orientation was added to the Association's anti-discrimination bylaws and placement guidelines; a resolution on AIDS in the workplace was adopted by AALL; and the AALL Executive Board canceled a proposed 1998 annual meeting in Denver, due to the passage of the anti-gay Proposition Two in Colorado.
The Standing Committee's publication, "Sexual Orientation and the Law: A Selective Bibliography on Homosexuality and the Law 1969-1993," was published in volume 86 of Law Library Journal in 1994. A wide variety of educational programs have been sponsored by the Standing Committee, including ones on lesbian and gay legal collection development; AIDS; and lesbian and gays in the military. Although a Standing Committee mentor program was first started informally in 1991, a gay and lesbian mentor component was officially added to AALL's program the following year.
In addition to professional endeavors, the Standing Committee hosts an annual reception on the Tuesday evening of meeting week. The reception is always well-attended and is an excellent way to meet colleagues in a relaxed social setting.
|1986||-||Lobbying for Controversial Causes: Words from the Front Line|
|1989||-||Family Law Issues|
|-||Pro-bono Work in Law Firms and the Impact on the Library|
|1990||-||Crime and Prejudice: Hate Crime in America|
|1991||-||AIDS: The Continuing Challenge|
|1992||-||The Lavender Library: Developing a Lesbian and Gay Legal Collection|
|-||Lesbians and Gays in the Military|
|1993||-||HIV and AIDS: The Next Generation is Now|
|1995||-||Out in the Workplace: Current Legal Issues|
|-||Domestic Partner Benefits: Narratives, Overview and Status Report|
|1996||-||Human Rights Worldwide: Sexual Minorities|
|-||Transgender Law Comes Out of the Closet: Delivering a Hidden Message|
|1998||-||Each Jurisdiction Has Its Own Horizon: Gay Rights is a Local Issue|
|2000||-||Hate Crimes: Examining the Issues|
|2001||-||Pornography on the Internet: A New Reality|
|-||Gender Outlaws: Sex Roles and the Performance of Gender in the Workplace|
|2002||-||State of Civil Unions: a Legal Update on the Impact of Vermont Civil Unions|
|2003||-||QueerKids Law: A Look at the Legal Needs of Lesbian and Gay Youth|
Comments to: Elvira Embser-Herbert
Last updated 20 June 2003