History and Activities
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.
Over the past few years, members of the standing committee have advocated expanding the scope and mission of the committee. In 2017, members of the standing committee convened a proposal to change the name of the committee to reflect their commitment to inclusion and diversity. Members of the special interest section voted overwhelmingly to change the name of the committee to Standing Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.
If the Social Responsibility SIS can be termed the “conscience” of AALL, then the Standing Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity 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. The Standing Committee is now sponsoring a second edition to this publication. Entitled, “LGBTQ and the Law: An Annotated Bibliography” this project aims to analyze scholarly trends in LGBTQ-related legal scholarship and in the social sciences.
In addition to professional endeavors, the Standing Committee hosts an evening reception at each year’s Annual Meeting. The reception is always well-attended and is an excellent way to meet colleagues in a relaxed social setting.
Annual Meeting Educational Programs Sponsored by the Standing Committee
- 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
- 2004 HIV/AIDS: A Global Epidemic and an Issue of International Law; Same-Sex Marriage: The Legal Issues
- 2005 Realizing Visions and Valuing History: Twenty Years of a Standing Committee for Lesbian and Gay Issues; Visionary Collection Development: Strategies for Building Legal Collection on Emerging Social Issues
- 2006 100 Years: A Look at the Federal Indian Trust Relation Through the Cobell Case; “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, Solomon, Fair v. Rumsfeld and the Law Librarian’s Role in Amelioration
- 2007 Equal Opportunity and Diversity: The ABA Standard Under Fire; Kurzban and Boswell on Immigration Law and Research – Keeping Up with the Very Latest, with Help from Two Experts
- 2008 Animal Law: An Emerging Area of Practice and Clinical Legal Education; Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act: A Legal History; The Fourth E: The Environment and Law Libraries
- 2009 Taxation Without Representation: An Overview of the D.C. Legislative Process and Research; The 80/2050 Challenge: What You Can Do to Reduce Your Organization’s Impact on Climate Change
- 2010 Arizona’s SB1070: Necessary Protection from Illegal Immigration or a License to Discriminate?; Water, Water Everywhere: The Future of a Scarce Resource
- 2011 The Real “Philadelphia” Story: From Cain v. Hyatt to 21st Century HIV/AIDS Discrimination Case Law; Can the FCC Regulate the Internet?; Libricide as a War Crime: From the Lieber Code to Personal Liability
- 2012 Lost in Translation: Immigration Detention and Access to Legal Materials
- 2013 Respect for Marriage: Equal Protection for Same-Sex Couples in Washington State and Before the U.S. Supreme Court
Today, these goals continue to be achieved through the standing committee’s impressive record of annual meeting educational programs, publications, AALL professional activity, and social opportunities. The activities of the standing committee are guided by Article VII of the SR-SIS bylaws.
The Alan Holoch Memorial Grants may be awarded each year by the Standing Committee on Lesbian and Gay Issues. The grants, which cover registration or travel expenses, assist members in attending the Annual Meeting are funded by a generous bequest made by Alan Holoch, who died in 1991, having served as treasurer of AALL and as Director of the Ohio State University Law Library.
Past Holoch Grant Recipients
2017 – Joshua LaPorte and Marcelo Rodríguez
2016 – Charles Pipins and Druet Klugh
2015 – Scott Burgh
2014 – Sara Pic and Kathleen Klepfer
2013 – Cory Lenz and Emily Marcum
2012 – Charles Pipins
2011 – Kyle Brown
2010 – Sarah Jaramillo
2009 – Pam Brannon
2008 – Lee Van Duzer and Meg Butler
2007 – Jim Gernert
2006 – Druet Cameron Klugh
2005 – Courtney Selby
2004 – Scott Burgh
2003 – not awarded
2002 – Ron Wheeler
In 2006, the Standing Committee published Sexual Orientation and the Law: A Research Bibliography, as AALL Publication #74 (ISBN 083770166X; 9780837701660). The Standing Committee is now sponsoring a second edition to this publication. Entitled, “LGBTQ and the Law: An Annotated Bibliography” this project aims to analyze scholarly trends in LGBTQ-related legal scholarship and in the social sciences.
2017/18 Chair: R. Martin Witt, Columbia Law School
2016/17 Chair: Sara V. Pic, Law Library of Louisiana
2015/16 Chair: Steven Alexandre de Costa-Ellis, Boston University
2014/15 Chair: Jane Larrington, University of San Diego
2013/14 Chair: Lee Van Duzer, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
2012/13 Chair: Charles A Pipins II, Florida Coastal School of Law
2011/12 Chair: Richard Jost, University of Washington
2010/11 Chair: David Holt, Santa Clara University
2009/10 Chair: Meg Butler, New York Law School
2008/09 Chair: Meg Butler, New York Law School
2007/08 Chair: Jorge Juarez, Santa Clara University
2006/07 Chair: Courtney Selby, Collection Development/Instructional Services Librarian, University of Tulsa
2005/06 Chair: Stephanie Davidson, Head of Public Services at the University of Illinois College of Law
2004/05 Chair: Jeffrey Berns, Library Manager at Spiegel & McDiarmid
2003/04 Chair: Scott Fisher, Director of Library Services at Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer