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Inaugural MLaw Spectrum Fund Fellow to Work for Transgender Equality

By Jenny Whalen
May 7, 2013

The pursuit of LGBT equality will gain a new advocate this summer when Michigan Law's first Spectrum Fund fellow joins the New York-based Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF).

Chas Mather, 2L, will receive a $4,000 fellowship to support his work with TLDEF which, according to its website, is "committed to ending discrimination based upon gender identity and expression and to achieving equality for transgender people through public education, test-case litigation, direct legal services, and public policy efforts."

Mather will spend the summer working under the supervision of TLDEF co-founder and Executive Director Michael Silverman, '94.The Spectrum Fund was established by Henry Grix, AB ’70, JD ’77, and Howard Israel, BFA '72.

One of the Law School’s newest fellowships, the Spectrum Fund was established by Henry Grix, AB '70, JD '77, and Howard Israel, BFA '72, to provide financial support to students looking to pursue research, impact litigation, and do policy work to advance LGBT equality.

"Our great hope is that our 'seed gift' will encourage others to join us in expanding the resources available to young lawyers who want to advance LGBT equality," said Israel who, with his partner Grix, donated $110,000 to establish the fund. Their gift, along with a handful of smaller gifts made to the Spectrum Fund in 2012 and 2013, have made this inaugural fellowship award possible.

Although Mather’s work will focus specifically on transgender rights, the Spectrum Fund is designed to support students working for all aspects of LGBT equality.

"The Spectrum Fund needs to be flexible enough to accommodate social changes," said Grix upon the fund’s creation. "Even if civil marriage equality comes, discrimination based upon sexual orientation will persist in other areas, and the Spectrum Fund will be needed."

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