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CAKE, FAITH, AND RESISTANCE Reflections on Masterpiece Cakeshop and Faith-based Resistance Abroad

  • 23 Jul 2018
  • 6:30 PM
  • LAAW, 180 Montgomery Street #600, San Francisco, CA 94104

Ssenfuka Joanita Warry (“Biggie”) is a lesbian Catholic woman pioneering LGBT rights in Uganda, a country where same-sex relations are punishable by life prison. She is the current Executive Director for Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) and has been part of the organization since its inception in 2003 as the finance officer. FARUG fights for the healthcare of minorities and inmates, calls for gender inclusive leadership, and promotes career development and sustainability skills for LGBT women. She is a board member at Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a network of LGBTI organizations in Uganda and at Global Network for Rainbow Catholics (GNRC). Biggie is a Human Rights Defender, feminist, an actress, and a rugby player. She was one of the organizers of the first ever Pride event in Uganda. She is a passionate and committed activist on HIV-AIDS and related health issues amongst LBQ women as well as promoting the rights of LGBTI persons.

Elizabeth Gill is a Senior Staff Attorney with the ACLU of Northern California Foundation and the National ACLU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Project. She litigates cases across the country, primarily related to LGBTQ equality, and on reproductive justice and women’s rights. Her current cases include several against religiously-affiliated hospitals for denying patients reproductive and transition related care; a case on behalf of a same-sex couple who were refused service from a florist for their wedding; and the case challenging the Department of Defense’s exclusion of women from combat positions. Elizabeth is also a longtime advocate for LGBT equality, and she’s worked on numerous legislative and ballot initiative campaigns—from Prop 8 to AB 1266, California’s law guaranteeing that transgender students have access to the facilities and activities that accord with their gender identity. Prior to working for the ACLU, Elizabeth worked at Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco and at WilmerHale in Washington, DC.  She graduated from Columbia College with a degree in Philosophy and from Harvard Law School, where she was Notes Editor on the Harvard Law Review. She clerked for the Honorable Karen Nelson Moore on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Sam Ames is the Interim Executive Director of Trans Lifeline and the founder of the BornPerfect Campaign at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Sam spent the early years of their legal career as a policy clerk and staff attorney with the National LGBTQ Task Force, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, and NCLR working on constitutional law cases involving marriage equality, employment discrimination, and family law. At NCLR, Sam went on to found the BornPerfect Campaign – a national effort to end conversion therapy through legislation, litigation, and public education. Sam has testified before state legislatures, Congressional representatives, and the United Nations Committee Against Torture. Sam grew up in Los Angeles and received their B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2008, their J.D. from George Washington University in 2012, and are currently completing a Master of Theological Studies at Harvard University.

Michael Vargas is a business and securities lawyer for Rimon P.C. in Silicon Valley. Michael specializes in counseling startups and private businesses on corporate formation, corporate finance, and strategic growth. Michael provides a unique and valuable perspective to clients as an expert in LGBTQ rights under Title VII, having written a number of published Law Review articles on the topic. Michael also serves as the policy chair for the Rainbow Chamber of Commerce Silicon Valley, where he works with local LGBTQ-owned businesses and their allies around the bay area to develop a more  LGBTQ-friendly environment for LGBTQ businesspeople, employees, and consumers.

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