GA’s Upper School was pleased to welcome back to campus Aaron Tax ’94 as a special Leap Day lunch-time speaker. Currently the Director of Federal Government Relations for Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders (SAGE), Aaron captivated members of the GLASS (Gay, Lesbian And Straight Students) Club and other interested students and faculty with highlights of his current and former work in law. In his role at SAGE, Aaron “advocates for LGBT-inclusive federal aging policies that account for the unique needs of LGBT older adults,” as he puts it. The Older Americans Act, first enacted in 1965, served to assist states and communities financially with community planning and service programs. SAGE works to assure that the needs of the older LGBT community are incorporated into these service programs.
Aaron also discussed his previous work, until June 2011, as the Legal Director at Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). While with SLDN, the key organization challenging the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policies with Congress and in the courts, Aaron played a part in assisting LGBT military service people through law, policy, outreach and education. In his five years there, Aaron went from staff attorney to Legal Director and was responsible for running the legal services program which provided free legal assistance to service members who were affected by DADT and related discrimination. The audience came away enlightened to hear about some of the difficult situations that confronted some of Aaron’s clients. Issues like addressing domestic violence, caring for ill or aging domestic partners, or trying to get medical help for a LGBT relative in the service were just some examples of difficult issues under the DADT legislation, but which SLDN assists with.
Aaron, who graduated from Cornell University and George Washington University Law School, feels that both of these environments are satisfying ways in which he is applying his degree and interest in law. “Do you see hope in the future for the rights of LGBT Americans in the service or do you see more of the discriminating, judgmental legislators?” one student asked during the discussion. “I think it’s a generational issue that will continue to evolve,” he replied after some thought. “But, we have already made much progress!”