YOUR HONOR ROLL: NQAPIA Legal Program 2019

NQAPIA thanks these law firms and corporate legal departments for their pro bono legal assistance and diversity & inclusion partnerships supporting the LGBT Asian & South Asian community over the past year.

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance’s 2019 Legal Program has included legal advocacy and impact litigation protecting and promoting immigrants’ rights, LGBT rights, and racial justice. We illustrated the impact on LGBT and Asian American communities and used the amicus briefs as another opportunity to tell our stories to educate both courts of law and courts of public opinion. Our Legal Program has included diversity and inclusion programs for LGBT Asian and South Asian attorneys to live their full lives at work and in the profession. 


Defending California’s Sanctuary Laws 
With Weil, Gotshal & Manages LLP 

Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions sued California to block its sanctuary laws that curtail how private employers, local prisons and jails, and local law enforcement work with Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). NQAPIA submitted an amicus brief in US v. California in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, joined by 11 other LGBTQ and LGBTQ Asian groups in California.  The brief defends California and illustrates how suspending California’s sanctuary laws would have a direct and outsized impact on the LGBTQ community.  During oral argument, Judge Milan Smith referenced a key argument in NQAPIA’s amicus brief in his questioning of ICE’s attorneys. California won but an appeal is expected.  


Defending DACA for LGBTQ Undocumented Youth
With Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo PC

This upcoming term, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider Trump’s cancellation of the DACA program in DHS v. Regents of the University of California.  NQAPIA is representing two DACA recipients, an LGBT Korean man in New York and LGBT South Asian man from Fiji in Los Angeles.  NQAPIA is preparing a comprehensive brief showing the Court, and the public, how more is at stake for LGBT DACA recipients because many come from countries where homosexuality is a crime.  Trump’s cancellation of DACA could result in more than just a deportation, but imprisonment or a death sentence.

Defending LGBTQ Rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
With Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

This upcoming term, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider a trio of cases examining whether employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity are covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  NQAPIA was the only LGBT organization that joined 57 civil rights organizations in a brief highlighting a racial and civil rights analysis demonstrating the impact on LGBTQ people of color.  LGBTQ people of color are far more likely to suffer discrimination than their white counterparts. The three cases before the Court are Bostock v. Clayton Cnty, Georgia; Harris v. EEOC; and Altitude Express v. Zarda.

Defending Transgender Asians under Title VII
With Center for Constitutional Rights, Transgender Law Center, and Akerman LLP

NQAPIA joined 45 trans-rights organizations in another brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in R.G. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission urging the court to rule that discrimination against transgender employees is unlawful discrimination “because of sex” under Title VII.  The brief highlights the stories of over 30 transgender people, including some Asian  Americans, who have experienced workplace discrimination just for being who they are.

Defending Affirmative Action at Harvard & Opposing the Model Minority Myth
With the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and Foley Hoag LLP

NQAPIA joined 35 Asian American groups and higher education faculty in an amicus brief in the federal court in Boston in SFFA v. Harvard in support of Harvard’s admissions policy towards achieving diversity. The brief argues that the plaintiff’s goal of grouping a diverse pool of Asian American applicants into a single “Asian” category would perpetuate the “model minority” myth and that the plaintiff fails to disclose that the elimination of race-conscious admissions would mostly benefit white applicants, not Asian Americans.  The brief reiterates amici’s opposition to caps, quotas, or any negative action against Asian Americans.

LGBTQ Family Rights in Japan
By Linklaters LLP

A memorandum of law by Linklaters reviewed national and local laws and regulations with regards to LGBT families, including marriage, family building (adoption), gender transition, and family protections for children or LGBT people in Japan.  From this memo, NQAPIA developed community education materials, in English and Japanese, and educated 1,500 activists, lawyers, students, and faculty in Tokyo, Sapporo, and Nagoya.

Defending Sanctuary Cities in the Midwest
With Baker & McKenzie LLP

In Illinois, the City of Chicago sued the U.S. Department of Justice for blocking federal funding because it is a sanctuary city in Chicago v. Whitaker.  The suit is between the district court and court of appeals in procedural arguments. NQAPIA is monitoring the case and working on a potential amicus brief to  the 7th Circuit. The City had won at the District Court. 

Program: Transactional Identities
Hosted by Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton LLP

NQAPIA worked with the LGBT Committee of the Asian American Bar Association of New York on an innovative diversity and inclusion roundtable discussion where attendees and a law firm partner, in-house counsel, and government attorney discussed how they navigate the various contexts of coming out. 

Panel Series: Being Out, API, and On Top: Senior Corporate Leaders in NY, DC, SF
Hosted by Morrison & Foerster LLP

In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, NQAPIA held a series of professional development panels at Morrison & Foerster’s offices in in New York City, Washington DC, and San Francisco.  The panels featured openly LGBT API senior leaders in the legal, business, government, and nonprofit community, along with global corporate diversity and inclusion executives on career advancement. 

Networking Receptions for LGBT Asian American/ South Asian Attorney
Hosted by Vinson & Elkins LLP (San Francisco), White & Case LLP (Washington, DC), Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP (Chicago) and Shearman & Sterling LLP (New York).

NQAPIA hosted receptions in 4 cities in October 2018, which provided networking opportunities, peer-support, and speakers from the bench for LGBT Asian American/South Asian lawyers. 

Lobbying for LGBT Immigrant Protections
With Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC

NQAPIA assisted U.S. Representative Judy Chu (D-CA), the Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, on ways to strengthen the LGBT provisions in the Reuniting Families Act of 2019, which preserves family-based immigration.  NQAPIA attorneys worked on the bill to keep LGBT families together, including, binational couples, LGBT asylum seekers and refugees in same-sex relationships, and LGBT parents of foreign-born children born. 

For more information or to partner with NQAPIA on pro bono or D&I projects, contact Glenn D. Magpantay, Esquire, at