Trans Attorney to Lead LGBTQ Legal Professional Group

Attorney Kristen Prata Browde, the new board chair at LeGaL, at a 2017 Pride Sunday celebration with Governor Andrew Cuomo.
DON POLLARD/ COURTESY OF LeGaL

Kristen Prata Browde, a solo practitioner who specializes in family law and divorce, has been elected the board chair of LeGaL, the LGBT Bar of New York.

Founded in 1978 by Arthur S. Leonard — now a New York Law School professor and Gay City News’ legal correspondent — LeGaL is among the nation’s oldest and largest bar associations in the LGBTQ legal community. Serving the New York metropolitan area, the group works to ensure the full equality of the LGBTQ community and promote the expertise of attorneys from the community.

In a written statement, Eric Lesh, the group’s executive director, said, “I am so excited to work with Kristen to ensure that LeGaL serves the community by helping LGBTQ New Yorkers access the rights and resources they desperately need. Kristen’s fierce advocacy on behalf of the transgender people, and the entire LGBT community is a tremendous value — particularly at a time when we are facing an attempt by the federal government to undo the legal progress we have secured. Together, we will fight for a New York that protects vulnerable and marginalized people.”

Whether it is on the issue of school students accessing restrooms consistent with their gender identity or transgender service members being able to serve openly in the military, the Trump administration has taken particular aim at the transgender community, undoing advances made in the later years of President Barack Obama’s administration. In October, news emerged that the US Department of Health and Services is considering the adoption of a regulatory definition of “sex” as immutable and determined at birth, in a clear effort to deny transgender Americans access to services appropriate to their lives.

“We have been battling nonstop to limit the damage to the cause of equality resulting from the current administration in Washington,” Browde said. “LeGaL is vital to that work, as is our collective visibility, and I’m unequivocally committed to carrying forth our message at every level. Furthering the outreach of LeGaL to the trans community and its vibrant and increasingly out and active bar is important work, especially given the current situation.”

Her predecessor as board chair, Gennaro Savastano, said, “Kristen is exactly what we need. She is a devoted advocate and a force to be reckoned with. I’m inspired by her vision, and am confident that her many talents will nurture and grow our organization and community.”

To learn more about LeGaL and its work, visit lgbtbarny.org.

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