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Advocate for LGBT community to be honored


Lawrence S. Felzer, senior director of finance and operations at SeniorLAW Center in Phila, has been tapped for honors from the The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Committee.

PBA will present its 2018 David M. Rosenblum LGBT Public Policy Award to Felzer during a May 10 joint reception of the PBA Civil and Equal Rights Committee, PBA GLBT Rights Committee, PBA Minority Bar Committee, PBA Senior Lawyers Committee, PBA Solo and Small Firm Practice Section and the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation.

'A forceful and effective advocate'

Felzer is being recognized for “being a forceful and effective advocate for full equality, justice and dignity for all — for marriage and racial equality, for transgender equality, for increased representation of members of the LGBT community and racial minorities in the legal profession, to name just a few examples of his many contributions.”

A champion for those who have been traditionally disadvantaged or underrepresented, Felzer’s work advocated for members of the LGBT community. His efforts began at AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, where he later became associate director managing agency finances and operations. He also assisted clients by providing trainings on legal issues facing those impacted by HIV and AIDS for social service and health service providers. After the sudden passing of his friend, Sean Halpin, Felzer founded a memorial scholarship in Halpin’s name for local LGBTQ law students.

Felzer’s advocacy expanded to offering professional and social opportunities for individuals within the LGBT community - breaking down barriers between different demographic groups. Some notable examples include organizing and moderating panels at Lavender Law, an annual LGBT conference and career fair, on what it means to be a racial minority and gay in the legal profession, and on the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement. Felzer also organized the first Gay Community Night at the Phillies ballpark in 2003 and continues to organize the event. He has advocated in other ways through supporting organizations like the ACLU of Pennsylvania where he organized a LGBT night for the Philadelphia Soul Arena Football team to benefit the organization.

An active member of the legal community, Felzer is a member of the PBA House of Delegates and chair of its Civil and Equal Rights Committee. He has held several leadership positions within the Philadelphia Bar Association, including serving as a member of its Board of Governors, chair of the Public Interest Section, co-chair of the LGBT Rights Committee, as well as a member of the Justice Sonia Sotomayor Diversity Award Committee, Elections Committee, Bench Bar Planning Committee and the Philadelphia Bar Reporter editorial staff. Felzer is immediate past president of the executive board of Temple Law Alumni Association, and is the former chair and current board member of Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia (GALLOP).

Outside of the legal community, Felzer serves as secretary of the board of directors of the Dr. Magnus HirschfeldFund, a Philadelphia-based LGBT philanthropic organization that helped to fund Philadelphia’s first LGBT-friendly subsidized housing. He also served as the campaign chairman for Paul Steinke, an openly gay candidate who ran for Philadelphia City Council in the May 2015 democratic primary. Felzer has been a regular volunteer at AIDS Fund’s monthly Gay Bingo fundraiser for more than 20 years and has served as team captain for its annual AIDS Walk Philly event. He also served on the steering committee and was a faculty member for WillPower, a local community project to educate and encourage LGBT individuals to prepare planning documents.

Past honors
In recognition for his outstanding advocacy and volunteering efforts, Felzer has received the ACLU of Pennsylvania Volunteer Service Award in 2014, Temple Law Alumni Association Diversity Leadership Award in 2013, GALLOP Michael Greenberg Community Service Award in 2012, Temple Law Alumni Association Service Award in 2008 and AIDS Fund Volunteer of the Year Award in 2007. In 2013, he was named co-grand marshal of the Philadelphia Gay Pride Parade.

Felzer has organized or moderated many continuing legal education programs related to bullying; voter ID laws and the impact on LGBT and senior populations; race; sports; and access to justice.

Rosenblum LGBT Public Policy Award
The award is in recognition of its namesake who was an active member of the PBA GLBT Rights Committee and a staunch proponent of civil rights. Rosenblum passed away suddenly in 2014. He was a driving force behind the report, “How Marriage Counts: 572 Ways Marriage Counts in Pennsylvania,” a joint publication of the PBA GLBT Rights Committee, the Mazzoni Center and DechertLLP. Rosenblum was the legal director at the Mazzoni Center. The award honors individuals who have effected change resulting in a positive impact for the LGBT community and who have used his or her position of leadership to inspire others to act and promote civil rights and equality.