Galvanizing the Forces: Moving Forward in the Disability and LGBT Rights Movements

Galvanizing the Forces: Moving Forward in the Disability and LGBT Rights Movements

Session Type(s): Panel

Starts: Thursday, Jul. 14 9:00 AM (Central)

Ends: Thursday, Jul. 14 10:15 AM (Central)

Room: 227

Want to learn how the LGBT and disability communities have been intertwined for years as they have helped each other achieve rights? Want to learn how to be an educated and effective ally with the disability and LGBT movements? Want to learn how to make lasting social change? If so, this panel is for you. Led by the first lesbian Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, this panel of change agents from both communities will talk about stopping discrimination against people with disabilities and LGBT people – for real.


Chai Feldblum


Chai Feldblum is the first openly lesbian Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency responsible for enforcing our nation’s employment civil rights laws. She identifies as a person with the hidden disability of anxiety disorder. Feldblum was a law professor at Georgetown Law for almost twenty years, representing clients in Congress and before agencies and teaching civil rights law. She was the lead drafter and negotiator of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as well as the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. She has worked to advance LGBT rights over the past two decades, including as one of the original drafters of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act.


Rebecca Cokley

Rebecca Cokley

Rebecca Cokley is the Executive Director of the National Council on Disability, an independent agency charged with advising Congress and the White House on issues of national disability public policy. She joined NCD in 2013 after serving 4 years in the Obama Administration. Most recently, she was the Special Assistant to the Principal Deputy at the Administration for Community Living at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Before serving at the Administration on Community Living, Cokley was the Director of Priority Placement for Public Engagement in the Presidential Personnel Office at the White House where she was responsible for outreach to diversity and minority organizations to recruit qualified individuals for roles in the Obama Administration. Prior to her time at the White House, Cokley was the Confidential Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. She participated in the Education Policy Fellowship Program in 2006 and worked at the Institute for Educational Leadership for five years, building a number of tools and resources designed to empower and educate youth with disabilities and their adult allies. She has spent the last 15 years engaging in discussions tied to civil rights and equity while paying particular attention to the needs of young people with disabilities. In 2015 she was inducted into the inaugural class of the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame and was the recipient of the Frank Harkin Memorial Award by the National Council on Independent Living. Rebecca has a B.A in Politics from the University of California Santa Cruz, is the proud spouse of Patrick and mother of Jackson and Kaya.

Anupa Iyer

Anupa Iyer

Anupa Iyer, Esq., is an attorney and advocate for people with psychiatric disabilities. Anupa’s passion for disability advocacy stems from her personal experience with mental illness and psychiatric institutionalization. Anupa leverages the power of public speaking, and sharing her personal narrative, to shatter stigma around mental illness. Anupa has been recognized for her disability advocacy work by the U.S. Department Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy; the American Association for People with Disabilities. In 2013, Anupa was a honored as a “White House Champions of Change” for embodying the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Anupa holds a J.D. from Seattle University School of Law and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California Los Angeles. She currently works as a Policy Advisor at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Shannon Price Minter

Shannon Price Minter is the Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), one of the nation’s leading advocacy organizations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

Shannon was lead counsel for same-sex couples in the landmark California marriage equality case which held that same-sex couples have the fundamental right to marry and that laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation are inherently discriminatory and subject to the highest level of constitutional scrutiny.

Shannon was also NCLR’s lead attorney on Sharon Smith’s groundbreaking wrongful death suit and has litigated many other impact cases in California and across the country.