Transgender woman to be sworn in as a judge

headshot of Vicky KolakowskiOn Tuesday Victoria Kolakowski will be sworn in as a superior court judge in Alameda County, CA. Kolakowski is a transgender woman, the first out trans person to become a judge in the US. She was elected this past November.

Having a trans woman in this position is important, for visibility and recognition and also for the treatment of trans folks under the law. The legal system often fails to treat trans folks justly, or to even accept our gender identities as real and worthy of respect. Kolakowski spoke to what she will be able to do in her new role in November:

“No, I am not going to be able to get you out of things,” she said jokingly to an audience of transgender advocates on the Transgender Day of Remembrance, two weeks after her upset victory over deputy district attorney John Creighton in November.

“But if you come into court and they call you names or the wrong pronoun, then that’s something we can take a look at,” she told the crowd …

Instead, she said she finally found the opportunity she had been waiting for. “I had a chance to serve. If my being visible helps a community that is often ignored and looked down upon, then I am happy. If not me, then who?”

Congratulations to Vicky Kolakowski on her historic victory!

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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