And suddenly, it’s December! For most of us, the end of 2020 cannot come soon enough, though we know that turning the page on a calendar only metaphorically offers respite from our worldwide situation.
I hope that this finds all of you healthy, safe, and as well as possible during these Covid19 times. I write to you from the San Francisco Bay Area of California, where we are entering into another critical stage of stay-at-home/shelter-in place, due to the significant increase of Covid19 cases and deaths. It is a grim time, for sure. Courts being ‘essential’ – at least under my state’s viewpoint and interpretation – we adapt and report to work, wearing masks in the back halls, in our courtrooms if members of the community are allowed in, but mostly – at least in my assignment, we conduct hearings remotely through a teleconference application. We never could have imagined such times. Or could we?
Maybe it’s just me, but I for one have observed the reaction of some citizens to this horrific pandemic with a little bit of curiosity and awe. Is this their first pandemic? It’s not mine. Or for those of us who identify as LGBTQ+. We as a community have pandemic experience we never wished for, which began in the 1980s and still hasn’t been eradicated. We suffered complete and utter destruction for it as a people. Politics and science kept the health pandemic swept under the rug for years; many died quickly and needlessly. Of course, I speak of AIDS.
I can only hope that my experience, all of our experience from that era, all our losses, have somehow seasoned us for where we stand now. As LGBTQ+ people, we had to take care of ourselves in the ‘80s and’ 90s. Perhaps if it’s possible, we became even more resilient as a community from such tragedy. For those of us lucky enough to continue on, we persevered in the memory of those we lost, and learned how to show up at the table for those who couldn’t any longer. Part of what I learned from my first pandemic is the only way to make a difference in any institution or entity, or bureaucracy, is to show up and be counted.
Thus, it is with utter joy that I read of, and welcome, over twenty-five new out LGBTQ+ Judges elected or appointed to the bench in 2020. Twenty- Five! Now that is ‘showing up!’ When LGBT Judges first organized in 1993, we had approx. 25 members in total. Now, we are welcoming at least that many new out colleagues in, essentially, one calendar year. In these grim times, this is GREAT NEWS and something to CELEBRATE!
Surely there are more of us, worldwide, who have been elected or appointed recently. If you know of them, please share the news with myself or Judge Mike Jacobs, our Communications Committee chair. We want to recognize, celebrate and welcome our newest colleagues to join us! In the meantime, onward and upward…
And speaking of “upward” – any interest in being elevated to a higher court within your jurisdiction? We’re organizing a panel of our high court appellate LGBTQ+ Judges justices to present our own “Elevation/ How to Get There” panel in the coming months. Each one teach one. Stay tuned. Stay safe. Be well.