Conference Participants

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Kevin M. Cathcart

Keynote Speaker
Executive Director of Lambda Legal

Mr. Cathcart has served as Executive Director of Lambda Legal since 1992. A longtime leader in the lesbian and gay community, he served from 1984 to 1992 as executive director of Gay and Lesbian Advocates Defenders (GLAD) in Boston, New England's lesbian, gay, and AIDS legal organization. Prior to GLAD, Mr. Cathcart was a staff attorney at the North Shore Children's Law Project. He has served on the boards of the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association, the Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, Community Works (the nation's fourth-largest social action fund), and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. Mr. Cathcart graduated from Richard Stockton State College (New Jersey) in 1976 and the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1978. He received his J.D. from Northeastern School of Law in 1982.

Chelsea Earles

Hear Our Public Employees Coalition Organizer

As the organizer for the Hear Our Public Employees (HOPE) Coalition, Ms. Earles coordinates work to repeal the NC statute that bans collective bargaining by public employees. This work includes public education, recruiting the support of other organizations, and organizing with public employees and allies across the state. Chelsea studied Women's Studies, Political Science and Spanish at Macalester College. Her professional experience is in the overlapping areas of non-profit work, labor organizing and working with children (including in the public schools). She was an organizer at the North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health project (NCOSH). During this time she helped found IUE-CWA Local 188, the North Carolina Non-Profit Employees' Union. She was an organizer for Local 188 for several years and her work included helping members draft and negotiate contracts, including policies addressing discrimination, affirmative action and definition of family.

Maxine Eichner

UNC Professor of Law

A Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Professor Eichner's teaching interests include sex equality, family law, employment discrimination, legal theory, and torts. She writes on issues of liberal theory, feminist theory, and family law. Her recent scholarship focuses on the stance that the state should take with respect to family ties among citizens.

Professor Eichner joined the faculty of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law in January 2003. Before that time, she attended law school at Yale Law School, where she was an articles editor of The Yale Law Journal. After law school, she held a Women's Law and Public Policy Fellowship through Georgetown Law School, clerked for Judge Louis Oberdorfer in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, and then clerked for Judge Betty Fletcher in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She subsequently practiced civil rights, women's rights, and employment law for several years at the law firm of Patterson, Harkavy, and Lawrence in Raleigh, North Carolina. She then entered graduate school in the political science department at UNC, eventually earning a Ph.D. degree in political theory while on the law school's faculty. In the course of her Ph.D. study, she held a fellowship in public affairs at the Miller Center of the University of Virginia.

Barbara A. Fedders

UNC Clinical Assistant Professor of Law

Before joining the UNC School of Law faculty in January 2008, Professor Fedders was a clinical instructor at the Harvard Law School Criminal Justice Institute for four years. Prior to that, she worked for the Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services as a Soros Justice Fellow and staff attorney. She began her career in clinical work at the Juvenile Rights Advocacy Project at Boston College Law School. As a law student, Professor Fedders was a Root-Tilden-Snow scholar and co-founded the NYU Prisoners' Rights and Education Project. She is a member of the advisory boards of the Prison Policy Initiative and the Equity Project. Her research interests include children in conflict with the law, critical race theory, and queer theory.

Gael Guevara

Organizer for Transforming Justice

Gael Gundin Guevara is a trans activist, born and raised in Panama City, Panama but currently living in New York City. Gael works as a community organizing support coordinator at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, an organization that provides free legal services to low-income and people of color who are trans, intersex, and gender non-conforming. Gael is also the co-chair (trans representative) to the board of directors of Unidas , The National LGBT Latino/a Human Rights Organization. Gael is also a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. (

Imani Henry

Keynote Speaker
Staff Organizer at the International Action Center

Since 1993, Mr. Henry has been a Staff Organizer at the International Action Center (IAC), where his work has focused on national organizing of communities of color and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement toward broader social justice and anti-war campaigns. Over the years, Mr. Henry has worked behind the scenes to coordinate marches, rallies, demonstrations, direct actions, encampments, teach-ins, conferences and forums around the country.

Mr. Henry is the co-founder of Rainbow Flags for Mumia, a coalition of LGBTST people who demand the freedom of African- American political prisoner and journalist Mumia Abu Jamal. As a staff member of The Audre Lorde Project, Mr. Henry was the program coordinator of TransJustice, the 1st political group of NYC created by and for Trans and Gender Non-Conforming people of color. He also serves as the administrator for two national lists for Trans and Gender Non-Conforming people of Color : TGPOC and TPOCX.

Mr. Henry is a Caribbean transsexual male living in the Brooklyn, NY.

Camilla Hill


Ms. Hill is the daughter of Camilla Buchanan and Debra Hill. She is currently a sophomore at the College of William and Mary majoring in sociology. She plays field hockey for the college. She is planning on going to law school after she graduates. She has been an active participant in campaigning for gay rights, including helping to start a community action team against the Marshall Newman amendment. She started traveling to Kenya to do volunteer work with the Maasai American Organization six years ago.

Shannon Price Minter

Legal Director: The National Center for Lesbian Rights

Mr. Minter is the Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), one of the nation's leading advocacy organizations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

He was lead counsel for same-sex couples in the marriage case recently decided by the California Supreme Court, which held that same-sex couples have the fundamental right to marry and that laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation are inherently discriminatory and subject to the highest level of constitutional scrutiny. Mr. Minter was also NCLR's lead attorney on Sharon Smith's groundbreaking wrongful death suit and has litigated many other impact cases in California and across the country.

In 2005, he was one of 18 people to receive the Ford Foundation's "Leadership for a Changing World" award. In 2004, he was awarded an Honorary Degree from the City University of New York School of Law for his advocacy on behalf of same-sex couples and their families. Mr. Minter has also received the Anderson Prize Foundation's Creating Change Award by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Distinguished National Service Award from GAYLAW, the bar association for LGBT lawyers, law students, and legal professionals in Washington, D.C., Cornell Law School's Exemplary Public Service Award, the Unity Award from Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom, the Advocacy Award from the San Francisco Bar Association, and the Justice Award from Equality California.

Mr. Minter serves on the American Bar Association Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. He also serves on the boards of Equality California and the Transgender Law and Policy Institute.

Mr. Minter received his J.D. from Cornell Law School in 1993. He is originally from Texas.

Aaron C. Morris

Staff Attorney at Immigration Equality

Mr. Morris is a Staff Attorney at Immigration Equality, a national organization fighting for equal immigration rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV-positive community. Mr. Morris represents LGBT and HIV-positive asylum seekers at asylum hearings and in the federal courts and assists asylees with adjustment of status applications and HIV waivers. He also helps binational couples and transgender clients navigate US immigration laws that discriminate against LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants and their families. Mr. Morris is a graduate of the American University 's Washington College of Law and the University of Oklahoma. He currently serves on the New York City Bar Association's Committee on AIDS. Before joining Immigration Equality, Mr. Morris served as an immigration staff attorney in the Office of Legal Affairs of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Ian Palmquist

Executive Director of Equality NC

Mr. Palmquist has served on Equality NC's staff since 1999, and as Executive Director since July 2006, following nearly three years as Co-Director. Under his leadership, the group has expanded its outreach across the state, strengthened its political clout in the legislature, doubled its expenditures to elect pro-LGBT candidates, and built strategic relationships with non-LGBT allies through coalition work.

He serves as a board member of the Equality Federation, the national association of statewide LGBT advocacy groups, following three years as the group's chair. He also serves on the boards of the NC AIDS Action Network and NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina.

Daire Roebuck (UNC Law '07) and Tara Roebuck

Both Tara and Daire are originally from Raleigh, North Carolina. Daire is an estate planning attorney in private practice. Tara schedules training for a major medical equipment manufacturer. Daire and Tara celebrated their commitment ceremony in October of 2006 and are currently expecting their first child in March of this year.

Rob Rosenwald

Director LGBT Advocacy Project

Mr. Rosenwald is director of the LGBT Advocacy Project at the ACLU of Florida. He focuses on a variety of public policy issues that impact the gay and transgender community in Florida, including the anti-gay initiative threatening protections for same-sex couples, discrimination in Florida's adoption policies, and discrimination and harassment against gay and transgender youth in the public schools. Mr. Rosenwald has testified before committees of the Florida legislature on the need for anti-bullying and harassment to protect gay and transgender students at school. He has also represented gay and transgender students throughout Florida to insure them safe access to their education.

Most recently, in October 2008, Mr. Rosenwald litigated the landmark ACLU trial In the Matter of the Adoption of John Doe and James Doe, successfully invalidating Florida's ban on adoption by gay people. Also in 2008, he was lead counsel in the novel ACLU case Gay-Straight Alliance of Okeechobee High School v. School Board of Okeechobee County, where, for the first time, a federal district court held that high school gay-straight alliances do not imperil the well-being of students.

Before coming to the ACLU, Mr. Rosenwald was engaged in private law practice in Miami since 1998. He is a 1997 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh Law School, and clerked from 1997-1998 for the late Judge C. Clyde Atkins of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Catherine E. Smith

Sturm College Associate Professor of Law

Before assuming her faculty position in the Sturm College of Law at Denver University, Professor Smith previously worked at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University, where she taught Torts, Employment Discrimination, Extremism and the Law and Criminal Law. Prior to her time in Texas, Professor Smith was a legal fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, where she researched and litigated civil rights cases with a particular emphasis on race, incarceration, homelessness, national origin and disability. Professor Smith received both her Masters in Public Administration and her J.D. from the University of South Carolina Law School and her B.A. in Government and French from Wofford College in 1991. She has authored several articles and currently has a work-in-progress titled Race-Based Civil Conspiracy Theory. Smith teaches Torts, Employment Discrimination and Extremism and the Law, a course that explores domestic hate groups' impact on law.

Justin C. Smith

Coordinator for Project STYLE

Mr. Smith is the Coordinator for Project STYLE (Strength Through Youth Living Empowered), an HIV prevention, research and linkage-to-care program based at the UNC School of Medicine. In this capacity he helps connect young, HIV positive gay and bisexual men of color to medical treatment and social support services. He also conducts research that both seeks to document the lived experiences of these young men, as well as to understand the social determinants of HIV infection in this community, with the aim of developing more innovative HIV prevention interventions in the future. He has been involved with HIV/AIDS prevention, research, and treatment efforts since 1998.

In addition to his research, Mr. Smith is deeply involved in North Carolina's HIV prevention and service community. He leads three ongoing support groups for young men who are living with HIV, and has coordinated a statewide college HIV testing campaign that has helped thousands of young people across North Carolina learn their HIV status. He has also conducted cultural humility trainings for healthcare workers who serve LGBT clients.

Mr. Smith holds a BA from Brown University with a dual concentration in Sociology and Community Health and is currently pursuing a master's degree in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Connie Vetter

Attorney at Law

Ms. Vetter is an activist, attorney, and mediator. Her legal practice focuses on the needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender clients. Ms. Vetter has been involved in a number of organizations over the years having served on the Boards of The Lesbian and Gay Community Center, Equality NC, NC GALA, MeckPAC, Time Out Youth, and OutCharlotte. She served as the Silent Auction Co-Chair for the 2006 HRC Carolinas Dinner, was a hotline counselor with the Charlotte Gay and Lesbian Switchboard, and volunteered at Devonshire Elementary School in Charlotte. She regularly speaks to community organizations on LGBT law and has given presentations across North Carolina to various PFLAG groups, LGBT organizations, churches, college classes, and at community events. Ms. Vetter graduated from Northeastern University School of Law in 1993.

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