FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | October 6, 2005
National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director Shannon Minter Named as a 2005 Leadership for a Changing World Award Recipient
Ford Foundation Recognizes 17 for Outstanding Leadership in U.S. Communities
(San Francisco, October 6, 2005) — "The LGBT community and we at NCLR have long understood the transformative contribution Shannon Minter has made to our community and the law. It is enormously gratifying and we are very proud to see those contributions acknowledged on a wider stage."
The Ford Foundation today announced that Shannon Price Minter, National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director is one of the 2005 winners of the Leadership for a Changing World awards. The 17 awardees, chosen by a national selection committee from a pool of nearly 1,000 nominations, are individuals and leadership teams tackling some of the nation's most entrenched social, economic and environmental challenges.
"The LGBT community and we at NCLR have long understood the transformative contribution Shannon Minter has made to our community and the law," said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. "It is enormously gratifying and we are very proud to see those contributions acknowledged on a wider stage."
As the Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Minter works with transgender people throughout the United States on issues such as child custody, employment discrimination, immigration, and access to health care. Minter has been an adviser, mentor, and lawyer to transgender people across the country. He has represented dozens of transgender clients in cutting edge civil rights cases, as well as provided assistance to other attorneys who represent transgender people. In 2003, Minter represented transgender father Michael Kantaras in a highly publicized custody case that was televised on Court TV and that exposed millions of viewers, many for the first time, to accurate information about transgender people and the process of sex-reassignment.
In partnership with other activists and organizations, Minter has helped to draft and lobby for innovative new federal, state and local laws prohibiting discrimination against transgender people. In Portland, Oregon, he helped local activists develop a non-discrimination policy protecting transgender inmates in the county jail. In San Francisco, he and other community members succeeded in a campaign that led to the city and county being the first government employer in the country to provide equal health-care benefits for transgender employees.
In 1993, Minter founded NCLR's Youth Project, the first national legal-advocacy group to address the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth. Over a decade later, he is now supervising the Safe Homes Project at NCLR, which helps LGBT youth who face discrimination and problems in foster care, group homes, or the juvenile-justice system. Currently, Minter is collaborating with Legal Services for Children to author a best practices guide for professionals who deal with LGBT youth in state care, which will be published by the Child Welfare League of America in 2006.
As one of the nation's few recognized experts on transgender legal issues, Minter has written extensively on transgender issues. In 1999, Minter collaborated with Professor Paisley Currah and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force to author Transgender Equality: A Handbook for Activists and Policymakers, which has been used by activists around the country. Minter speaks at forums, hearings, and gatherings around the country. In 2004, he received an honorary degree from the New York City University School of Law for his advocacy on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
In addition to his work on behalf of transgender people, Minter also oversees NCLR's advocacy on behalf of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. He is NCLR's lead counsel on Woo v. Lockyer, the California marriage equality case, and represented Sharon Smith in her groundbreaking wrongful death suit on behalf of her deceased partner, Diane Whipple. Minter also has been instrumental in creating new legal protections for same-sex parents.
"These leaders are a welcome reminder that people can make a difference," says Susan V. Berresford, president of the Ford Foundation. "They have brought not only concrete gains to their communities but a determination to stand for justice that builds hope and inspires others. It's never been more important to listen to them."
Each awardee will receive $100,000 to advance their work and an additional $15,000 for educational opportunities to strengthen their individual or organizational effectiveness over the course of two years. The winners will also participate in a multi-year collaborative research initiative to explore how community leadership is created and sustained. Launched in September 2000, Leadership for a Changing World is a program of the Ford Foundation in partnership with the Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C. and the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. Since 2000, the program has recognized more than 100 outstanding leaders and leadership teams not broadly known beyond their immediate community or field. Leadership for a Changing World provides financial and other support for their programs and leadership, and engages them as partners in ongoing research about leadership.
For additional information on Leadership for a Changing World, including other awardees, go to www.leadershipforchange.org.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.