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Tipping the Scales of Justice: the Role Legal Professionals Play in Ensuring Equality at Every Size

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Anti-fatness is a form of systemic oppression that invades every aspect of U.S. and global culture. Although often thought of as a personal or interpersonal issue, anti-fatness is ingrained in U.S institutions, including the government, the medical establishment, employment and hiring in all types of organizations, education, and legal proceedings of all kinds. Otherwise marginalized individuals and communities–particularly Black and Brown people, disabled people, older people, and LGBTQIA+ people–are disproportionately impacted by anti-fatness, increasing the urgency of addressing this form of bias as a serious social justice concern. Advocates for fat people identify the lack of clearly articulated legal protections against discrimination based on weight, height, or any combination thereof as a major factor in allowing cultural perceptions and misperceptions of fat people to deprive fat people of equitable and just treatment under the law. As legal expert Sondra Solovay points out, “Courts often have the ability to end unnecessary discrimination against fat people, but lack the vision.” Our panel of experts discusses how to shift this lack of vision, including the important role legal professionals can play in supporting the passage of Equality at Every Size legislation, the influence and power lawyers have in utilizing existing policies and laws to create fat justice, and the need for an intersectional approach to fighting anti-fatness.

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