The Williams Institute conducts and disseminates rigorous, independent, high-quality research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy.
Can research inform public policy? By the close of 2014, 36 states had legalized same-sex marriage and twenty percent of the U.S workforce was covered by explicit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination protections—due, in part, to the rigorous, independent research being generated by the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy at the UCLA School of Law.
Founded in 2001, the Williams Institute has become the premier research center on sexual orientation and gender-identity law and public policy, producing high-quality research with real-world relevance and disseminating it to judges, legislators, policymakers, media and the public.
In the past year alone, the Williams Institute’s research has had an impact on public policy or has documented a need in search of a public policy solution in a number of different ways, from filing amicus (“friend of the court”) briefs in federal courts hearing cases on constitutional bans on same-sex marriage, to leading a pioneering study that determined 1 out of 5 youth in the L.A. County foster care system identifies as LGBTQ, to concluding that over 1 in 4 people living with HIV continue to face discrimination in Los Angeles.
“We are moving into new areas of research,” says Brad Sears, executive director of the institute and assistant dean of Academic Programs and Centers at UCLA School of Law. “Much of our work has looked at the ways that LGBT people are treated differently under the law. More recently, we’ve been looking more at disparities between LGBT people and the rest of the population — physical health disparities, mental health disparities, substance abuse issues, higher rates of suicide — and how discrimination plays a role in these.”
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