Meredith Williams

Meredith Williams will begin her final year at Georgetown University Law Center in the fall of 2011. Prior to law school, Meredith worked as a consultant for the PBS Foundation, where she supported their fundraising efforts with research and analysis, wrote grant proposals, and helped develop new donor relationships. Prior to that, she worked for seven years in human resources at the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), where she managed the performance management and compensation systems, managed the organization's diversity and outreach initiatives, and provided analytical and strategic support for organizational transitions. As a member of Georgetown Law’s Community Justice Project clinic in spring, 2011, Meredith and three other law students worked with Parma, an organization that provides support for and advocates for LGBT individuals and their partners. The project team helped Parma begin to better understand the challenges that Indian female-to-male transgender people face in their daily lives. The team also developed strategies to solve some of these problems within the existing legal framework and identified areas for future advocacy to affect policy change. Meredith will continue to work with Parma over the summer to further develop and execute some of the strategies identified during the spring.


01 Jul

Today marks the 2nd anniversary of the reading down of Section 377 in India, but the fight for equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and particularly transgender individuals has barely begun. While the Delhi High Court decriminalized sodomy between consenting adults in private two years ago, conservative groups have appealed the decision in the Supreme Court of India, and oral arguments for the appeal are scheduled to begin on July 11th. LGBTI advocates are hopeful that the Delhi High Court ruling will be upheld, but until the Supreme Court issues a decision, nothing is certain. And even if the Supreme Court does uphold the High Court’s decision, it will simply be decriminalizing certain sexual acts.

As a comparison, eight years after the United States Supreme Court finally decriminalized sodomy in all 50 states and US territories in the landmark case Lawrence v. Texas, LGBTI individuals are still fighting to enjoy the same rights as other US citizens. 10 states plus the District of Columbia (and hopefully soon Rhode Island) issue same sex marriage or civil union licenses. In other words, only in 1 of 5 states can homosexual couples enter into marriage or a similar union, something that traditional heterosexual couples can enter into or end at almost any time. Numerous other obstacles for LGBTI individuals also still exist, including issues with obtaining and using the same identification documents as other citizens, getting access to health care, and obtaining and guaranteeing child custody.

This post is not meant to rain on the parade (literally and figuratively) of the queer community in India, because this is a day for celebration. However, it is important to remember that this incredible achievement is just the first step in ensuring that LGBTI individuals enjoy the same human rights that are guaranteed to all citizens under the Constitution of India.

Preamble to the Constitution of India
Preamble to the Constitution of India

Posted By Meredith Williams

Posted Jul 1st, 2011