The Paper Chase
The Law is Powerful
World Pride 2014 is wrapping up in Toronto, so what better time to join the PinkPlayMags blogger family!
My name is Lisa Feldstein. I am an Ally (yes, with a capital A) of the LGBTQ community. I am a lawyer and as such I will be blogging about legal issues.
About a year ago the Ontario Bar Association (a voluntary lawyer group) created a campaign called “Why I went to law school”. They asked lawyers to reflect upon, and write a blurb about, why they went to law school. I wrote a few paragraphs, not thinking much would come of it. Little did I know, my words would be selected to form part of a radio campaign and be included in print advertisements for the association. In my blurb I described myself as a “lawyer with a heart”. That is not to say others lawyers don’t have one! But from a young age I have always had an usually high level of compassion for any marginalized or vulnerable group. However, my concern was not purely emotional; rather, it was pragmatic and often rights-based. For example, I became vegetarian at a young age – not because I was such an animal lover, but because I thought the treatment of factory-farmed animals was inhumane and the consumption of them unnecessary (though admittedly it also helped that I didn’t care much for the taste of meat).
So, why do I tell this story?
Because I believe the law, and its application, is powerful. It dictates which animals we love and which we eat. Or who we are allowed to marry. Or how we start or define our families. The law is an invisible thread woven throughout our lives in many fundamental ways; it can divide us or bring us together, protect us or even expose us to harm. The law touches many of the things we care most about.
The law has not always treated the LGBTQ community equally to others. And even though Ontario (and especially the GTA) is pretty modern, there is still room for improvement. Understanding the law is an important stepping stone toward a better life for everyone.
I hope to use this blog as a platform to explain stories in the media, raise awareness of injustices, and educate you about the law. There are some legal issues that are of particular importance to members of the LGBTQ community, their friends and families. These will often, but not exclusively, be the focus of this blog.
I hope you check back in from time to time and walk away feeling informed, inspired or intrigued.
About the Author
Lisa Feldstein is the principal lawyer at Lisa Feldstein Law Office. She is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School and the University of Guelph. Lisa practices in the area of Family Health Law™, which includes reproductive law, human rights, privacy, mental health and other health law matters. Lisa has presented at the 519 Church Street Community Centre and PFLAG Canada (York Region), and has been interviewed on Proud FM. She has helped many couples build their families through third party reproduction. Lisa has been teaching negotiation at Osgoode Hall Law School since 2010. She was recently awarded a 2014 Canadian Law Blog award for Best Practitioner blog, and a 2015 Precedent Setter Award.