100 Women We Love: Cathy Sakimura
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For Cathy Sakimura, life is about building community. “My older sister came out as lesbian when I was 10, and I came out as bisexual later. We lived in a rural working class community where there were no out LGBT people,” says Sakimura, the family law director and supervising attorney at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). “Though our family and extended family have struggled with our sexual orientation at times, they have always shown us that the strength of our family and community ties is the most important value we share, regardless of who we are.” That philosophy guides Sakimura’s work at NCLR, where she oversees the Family Protection Project. The generous program provides free legal information to low-income LGBT parents and their children, trains and supports attorneys, and works with organizations to better serve communities of color. In 2012, Sakimura was named among the “Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40” by the National LGBT Bar Association. “Last year, we won a case in New Mexico establishing that non-biological mothers can be automatically recognized as parents under the law,” she says. “Since then, Kansas has come out with a similar ruling. Knowing my work is making a difference for families makes me feel proud and honored.” –NHM