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Trump Nominates Lesbian Judge

She’s not a right-wing judicial activist who happens to be gay or a disgraced judge who has clung to the bench.

Mary Rowland, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, is respected by her colleagues and Illinois’ LGBTQ community.

The White House announced Rowland’s nominated Thursday in a slate of other nominees. Rowland is the only LGBTQ judicial appointment to come from the administration, which has pushed anti-LGBTQ leaders and policy at an almost breathless pace.

Rowland’s nomination, first reported by the Huffington Post, has been applauded by progressives in her home state. The Huffington Post noted that nearly a third of Trump’s judicial nominees have had anti-LGBTQ records.

Illinois Democratic Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth praised Rowland’s nomination as well as that of two others from Illinois.

“They have the qualifications, integrity, and judgment to serve with distinction as district court judges in the Northern District of Illinois,” said the senators in a joint statement.” We appreciate the Administration’s willingness to work with us and with our nonpartisan screening committee to reach consensus on nominees who will serve the people of Illinois well.”

The Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago, of which Rowland is member, was also quick to praise her. The group posted a Facebook announcement on her appointment.

“LAGBAC is thrilled for Magistrate Judge Rowland! Congratulations!” LAGBAC said.

Rowland’s appointment as U.S. Magistrate judge in 2012 was historic for Illinois and for the country. At the time, she was the first lesbian in the state-appointed as a federal judge and one of the first out LGBTQ judges in the country.

Before her appointment, she worked for 12 years at the law firm Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd. And prior to that, she spent a decade in the Chicago office of the Federal Defender, taking on high-profile civil rights cases. She helped win a case against the City of Chicago on behalf of African American firefighters who said they were being discriminated against in hiring.


Kate Sosin Oeser

Kate Sosin Oeser is a an award-winning trans reporter and former associate editor of Chicago's Windy City Times.