On-Demand Video

Communicating with the Media Strategically and Ethically

  • City:
  • Start Date:2023-10-26 20:00:00
  • End Date:2025-10-26 20:00:00
  • Length:
  • Level:Basic
  • Topics:Constitutional Law

$149.00 ["ProPass"]

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Successful advocacy requires communication that is strategic, ethical, and professional. Advocates for clients whose experiences are not widely understood need to be prepared for the client to be understood in the actual courtroom and in the courtroom of public opinion.

Words matter: From ourselves to our communities, communicators lead change. There is no more effective source for mass communication than the media. Words and images on television, digital media, social media, and the internet in general can serve as catalysts for social change. It is critically important that we amplify and represent all voices, especially the voices of people from underserved, misrepresented and underserved populations. 

Whether you are in-house counsel, work at a firm, or work for a government agency, you’re almost certain to handle topics of deep importance to members of the LGBTQ+ communities.

Whether planned or not, when these topics become the subject matter for media outlets, it is important to consider in advance how to convey the unique needs of and barriers facing many LGBTQ+ community members. 

Developed by the PBA LGBTQ+ Committee, this program explores considerations for communicating effectively and ethically across different cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives. 

Gain valuable guidance for communicating with, for, and about members of the LGBTQ+ communities:

  • Understanding your audience 
  • Factors that affect cross-cultural communication
  • Using inclusive language
  • Removing exclusion from communication
  • Active listening and nonverbal cues
  • Media resources

Co-sponsored with the PBA LGBTQ+ Committee.

Recorded in October 2023.


Omar Gonzalez-Pagan Esq.

Omar Gonzalez-Pagan is Counsel and the Health Care Strategist at Lambda Legal, where he advocates for the civil rights of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV. Gonzalez-Pagan was instrumental in achieving two pivotal victories for LGBTQ people before the U.S. Supreme Court—Obergefell v. Hodges and Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia. As a member of the legal team in Obergefell, he helped secure marriage equality nationwide. He also co-authored Lambda Legal’s amicus briefs in Bostock and EEOC and Aimee Stephens v. R.G. G.R Harris Funeral Homes, in which the Supreme Court held discrimination based on sexual orientation and transgender status is unlawful under the federal Civil Rights Act. As Health Care Strategist, Gonzalez-Pagan has been a leading advocate for the Affordable Care Act, particularly as it applies to LGBTQ people, and access to gender-affirming medical care for transgender people. In Doe v. Abbott and PFLAG v. Abbott, Gonzalez-Pagan put a stop to efforts by Texas to redefine “child abuse” to encompass the provision of necessary gender-affirming medical care to transgender youth. He has also challenged bans on the provision of gender-affirming medical care for trans youth in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas in Noe v. Parson, Poe v. Drummond, and Loe v. Texas. In Dekker v. Weida, Gonzalez-Pagan led the legal team that successfully challenged Florida’s ban on Medicaid coverage of gender-affirming medical care after a two-week trial. One of the architects of Lambda Legal’s efforts to secure the ability of transgender people to obtain accurate identity documents, Gonzalez-Pagan has served as lead counsel in cases where he secured the right of transgender people born in Puerto Rico, Kansas, New York, and North Carolina to obtain accurate birth certificates consistent with their gender identity. Gonzalez-Pagan is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Cornell University.

Thomas Ude Jr., Esq.

Thomas W. Ude, Jr., Esq. is the Legal and Public Policy Director at Mazzoni Center, a Philadelphia-based multi-service non-profit entity that provides health and wellness services targeting the needs of LGBTQ people. Thomas manages Mazzoni Center’s legal services program, which is the oldest program in Pennsylvania, and one of only a handful in the United States, that offers information and direct legal services to LGBTQ individuals and families on a range of legal issues. The three areas for which the program receive the most requests for assistance are discrimination claims, name changes, and family law. Thomas has experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors, including nine years with Mazzoni Center preceded by seven years as an attorney with Lambda Legal, the national legal organization advocating for the rights of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV. His advocacy on LGBTQ and HIV rights has included: an amicus brief in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., arguing to the U.S. Supreme Court that an employer’s religious beliefs should not permit them to ignore laws protecting employees, including antidiscrimination laws; amicus briefs in defamation cases arguing that New York law and public policy regarding LGBTQ+ people warranted rejection of longstanding appellate precedent holding that incorrectly describing a person as gay or bisexual was defamatory per se; and amicus briefs in Cradle of Liberty Council, BSA v. City of Philadelphia, arguing to the Eastern Pennsylvania District Court and to the Third Circuit that Philadelphia was justified in ending its subsidy of the Scouting Council’s antigay discrimination. Thomas received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School and his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Connecticut, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude. He is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and New York, as well as before the U.S. Supreme Court and several U.S. Court of Appeals and District Courts. He is a member of the Philadelphia Bar Association, the National Lesbian and Gay Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Association (including its LGBTQ Rights Committee), and the Philadelphia LGBTQ+ Bar Association. 

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