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BWJP: Transgender People, IPV and the Legal System

January 7, 2014 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Battered Women’s Justice Project 2014 Webinar Series:  Researcher/Practitioner Discourse

Transgender People, IPV and the Legal System


To access the archived recording, click the link below and complete the brief registration form to view the webinar.




Leigh Goodmark, J.D. is a Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Frances King Carey School of Law and Professor of Law, Director of Clinical Education and Co-director of the Center on Applied Feminism at the University of Baltimore School of Law.  During the 2013-14 academic year, Professor Goodmark is directing the Gender Violence Clinic, a clinic providing direct representation in matters involving intimate partner abuse, sexual assault, trafficking, and other cases involving gender violence.

Professor Goodmark’s scholarship focuses on domestic violence; her book, A Troubled Marriage: Domestic Violence and the Legal System, was released in 2012 by New York University Press and named a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title of 2012.  Her work on domestic violence has appeared in numerous journals and law reviews, including Violence Against Women, the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, and the Yale Journal on Law and Feminism.

From 2000 to 2003, Professor Goodmark was the Director of the Children and Domestic Violence Project at the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law.  Before joining the Center on Children and the Law, Professor Goodmark represented battered women and children in the District of Columbia in custody, visitation, child support, restraining order, and other civil matters.  Professor Goodmark is a graduate of Yale University and Stanford Law School.

Terra Slavin, J.D. is the Lead Staff Attorney at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center where she manages the Domestic Violence Legal Advocacy Project.  She is responsible for overseeing the delivery of comprehensive legal services for LGBTQ survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.  She is also responsible for training domestic violence and legal service providers on LGBTQ sensitivity and LGBTQ domestic violence legal issues, and has provided trainings to hundreds of attorneys and advocates across the country.  Locally, Slavin chairs the LGBT DV Issues Committees of the Los Angeles City Domestic Violence Taskforce and the Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Council, where she also serves on their Executive Board.

Attorney Slavin is on the Governance Committee of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP).  Slavin has been representing NCAVP on the Steering Committee of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, the main coalition of service providers that worked to re-authorize the Violence Against Women Act, which included LGBTQ-explicit protections for the first time, an effort which Slavin Co-Chaired.  Slavin served on the Advisory Board of the American Bar Association’s Legal Assistance and Education Project for LGBT Victims of Domestic Violence and has participated in a Standards of Practice Working Group sponsored by the American Bar Association and Office of Violence Against Women to develop national standards of practice in civil protection order cases. She was also a stakeholder in the Office of Victims of Crime’s (OVC) Vision 21: a national project on re-visioning crime victimization in the 21st Century.  She graduated from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts.

michael munson is the co-founder and Executive Director of FORGE, an organization focused on improving the lives of transgender individuals by building stronger connections, providing resources, and empowering growth through knowledge.  His educational background is in psychology, with an emphasis in trauma.  Munson’s work on violence against transgender and gender non-conforming individuals stresses the intersectionality between complex components of identity, experience, and societal constructs that can both spur violence, as well as catalyze healing for individuals and communities. He is passionate about engaging professionals to embrace these complexities and learn key skills to better serve their clients/constituents.


Transgender persons subjected to abuse have not been the focus of legal scholarship. The dearth of legal scholarship is not surprising given how little research exists on the experience of transgender people suffering intimate partner abuse.  Leigh Goodmark’s is the first law review article to concentrate specifically on intimate partner abuse and the transgender community.

The Article begins by discussing the difficulties of engaging in scholarship around this topic, noting the lack of a shared language and knowledge base for discussing intimate partner abuse in the transgender community.

The Article then documents the barriers confronting transgender people seeking relief from intimate partner abuse, situates those barriers in the broader context of the structural and institutional violence and discrimination that are so prevalent in the lives of transgender people, and examines closely the inadequacy of the legal system to address the needs of transgender people subjected to abuse. This part of the Article is informed by the observations and insights of legal professionals working with transgender people subjected to intimate partner abuse, as well as the narratives of transgender people who have engaged the legal system.

The Article then examines the gendered nature of intimate partner abuse against transgender people, arguing that such abuse can be understood not only through the lens of the patriarchal narrative of the battered women’s movement, but also as a means of policing gender norms and affirming gender identity.

The Article questions whether the legal system, which is the most developed and best funded response to domestic violence in the United States, can ever function as the cornerstone of an effective response to intimate partner abuse for transgender people.

The Article concludes that we cannot create effective systemic responses to intimate partner abuse without understanding the particular needs of discrete groups of individuals subjected to abuse — like transgender people.

Terra Slavin and michael munson will comment on critical analysis in the article and reflect on the utility of Leigh’s offerings for practitioners and victims.

Article:  Goodmark, L.  (2013).  “Transgender People, Intimate Partner Violence and the Legal System.”  Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, Vol. 48. Pgs. 51 – 104.


To Register, go to: http://conferences.bwjp.org/webconferencedetail.aspx?confid=356



January 7, 2014
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
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