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The Equality Project: Advancing Anti-Discrimination Protections around the Country
Raise Your Voice
Ben Panico, National Center for Lesbian Rights
Workshop Block 3: Saturday, October 21 - 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Despite incredible advances in LGBTQ equality, many LGBTQ people and their families still face discrimination based on who they are or whom they love. While there is a the decisive trend of federal court holdings that discrimination against LGBT people is a form of sex discrimination, 32 states still fail to include sexual orientation and gender identity as expressly protected categories under state nondiscrimination laws. This workshop will allow you to take this message home and help protect your local LGBTQ community. Help spread the word that legal recourse exists for anyone facing discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, no matter where in the United States they live.
Ben Panico fights for employment non-discrimination protections as the Equality Project Manager with the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Prior to joining NCLR, he served in the Obama Administration from 2015 to 2017. He first worked at the Department of Homeland Security as the Confidential Assistant to the General Counsel before serving as the Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to joining the Administration, Panico worked for the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus as the David Bohnett Victory Congressional Fellow. During the fellowship, Panico received media attention for being the only openly transgender staffer on Capitol Hill. Panico graduated from Johns Hopkins University (JHU) with a B.A. in English and a minor in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. At JHU, he served as on the board of the Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance, successfully lobbied university administrators for gender-inclusive housing, and spearheaded the development of a Safe Zone training program. He also interned with Equality Maryland where he worked on the state's successful campaigns for marriage equality and gender identity non-discrimination protections in employment, housing and public accommodations.