Over the last several years, Jessica's presentations have become an incredible subject matter to many of the world's top law schools. She uses her personal life's journey to show how in 2013, a judge in Collin County, Texas, removed Jessica's parental rights to her then 13 year old son even though she had full legal and physical custody of all 3 of her children. The same judge's court ordered evaluation, stating Jessica was an incredible parent, and should be reunited with her then 13 year old son, was then barred from the courtroom. Her presentation shows how later that same year, Judge Scott Becker decided to remove Jessica's name off her own child's birth certificate, due to his bias towards a transgender parent.
Jessica's case was reviewed by Attorney Megan Schuller at the United States, Department of Justice, who stated Judge Scott Becker was extremely prejudicial towards Jessica and forwarded all of the case information to the law office of Phyllis Frye, a transgender judge in Houston Texas. Attorney Angela Oaks, from the same law firm, reviewed Jessica's case and agreed with the DOJ's assessment but concluded it would take too long and basically impossible to appeal her case. Oaks then suggested to Jessica that she share her story with colleges and universities, in hopes that the future leaders of the world will learn more about the transgender and LGBTQ+ communities.
Over the next couple years, Jessica reached out to numerous campuses across her own state of California. Professors began sharing her name, and she began telling her story with colleges and universities across the United States. During the fall semester of 2016, Yale Law School contacted Jessica and asked her to present her "Transgender Journey" with the law students at their prestigious campus. Her talk at Yale was extremely well received, and Jessica's presentation is now considered an essential part of many law schools curriculum.
Since her presentation at Yale, Jessica has presented at many of the top law schools around the world as she continues to help educate future Lawyers, Politicians, Judges and Supreme Court Justices about transgender issues.
Please take a few minutes and read some of the comments from a few attendees of her presentations and see the Law Schools she has spoken with...
Harvard Law School....Cambridge, Massachusetts
Stanford Law School....Palo Alto, California
Yale Law School....New Haven, Connecticut
Southern Methodist University, School of Law....Dallas, Texas
University of Pittsburgh, School of Law....Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania Law School....Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Penn State Law....University Park, Pennsylvania
Rutgers Law School....Camden, New Jersey
UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law....Las Vegas, Nevada
USC Gould School of Law....Los Angeles, California
Kadir Has University, Faculty of Law.....Istanbul, Turkey
National Law University, Delhi....Delhi, India
University of Central Lancashire, School of Law....Larnaka, Cyprus
University of Reading, School of Law....Reading, England
Middlesex University, School of Law....London, England
University of Birmingham, Law School....Birmingham, England
University of Kent, Kent Law School....Kent, England
Queen's University Belfast - School of Law....Belfast, Ireland
University of Hull, School of Law & Politics....Hull, England
The National Law School of India University....Bengaluru, India
Maynooth University, Department of Law....Maynooth, Republic of Ireland
Alternative Law Forum....Bengaluru, India
NALSAR University of Law....Hyderabad, India
Centre for Law and Policy Research....Bengaluru, India
O.P. Jindal Global University / Jindal Global Law School....Sonipat, India
The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences..Kolkata, India
Thank you so much for your talk today at Harvard Law. I was so inspired by your story. I'm so sorry for everything that's happened to you. My professional goal is to be judge, and stories like this further my drive to get on the bench so I can make just and fair decisions instead of some of the inexcusable decisions I see being made all the time from the current bench.
I have no constructive criticism for your presentation; it was amazing. All I ask is that you keep making presentations like this to as many law students as you can! I've already told so many of my friends your story in the past hour.
Thanks again and good luck on your journey.
Harvard Law School
I was lucky enough to attend Jessica's amazing talk at Stanford Law School. Her story is truly incredible, and she left no stone unturned as she worked through her life story, conveying her struggles and triumphs along the way. She also was incredibly open and approachable, making it clear from the start that educating the audience was her primary goal and that everyone should feel comfortable asking her any questions they might have. No question was a bad one, to Jessica. It's clear that she strives to educate in whatever way possible, and that her mission is to keep learning and teaching others. I loved it, and I hope we cross paths again.
Stanford Law School
I just wanted to reach out and thank you for your talk at Penn Law today. Your talk was compelling and informative, touching on one of the most important civil rights issues facing our country today. The room listened with rapt attention as you told your moving and emotional story. As law students, we often get caught up in our studies and lose sight of the real consequences our future profession has on everyday people, be they cis, trans, gay or straight. You reminded me of why I came to law school – to help individuals and families who are affected by a flawed legal system every day. Thank you.
As a side note- I will definitely get in touch with my Texas friends who work in Texas politics. I agree with you that education is key to progress, and I think your story has the potential to change many hearts.
I look forward inviting you back to Penn next year! Until then – good luck and safe travels.
University of Pennsylvania Law School
Jessica came to speak in my law class today, and I found her story to be enlightening, informative, and extremely moving all at once. She has lived a life very few people, if anyone, can fully understand, and has clearly had more life experience in her 52 years than most people have in a lifetime. Her story really brought light to how ridiculous the legal system can be. She is performing a great service by going around the country and telling people about her experiences. I am thrilled to hear that there will be a movie made about her story, because the more people who know about this the better. I wish Jessica nothing but the best in the future.
Rutgers Law School
Dear Ms. Lynn,
Your story is enthralling and inspirational, and I am so thankful you shared it with my Sexuality, Gender Identity and the Law class today. I hope you continue to educate people all over the world and spread your beautiful message about the “Butterfly Effect,” because it resonated with me on a profoundly deep level. Your story highlights a shortcoming of the US judicial system; namely, the abhorrent discrimination that still exists within it. I hope, as a future attorney, that I will represent honest, hardworking, and compassionate individuals like you and obtain more fair outcomes. Thank you again.
Rutgers Law School
Jessica gave an exceptional presentation at Yale Law School. She is one of the rare individuals who can turn tragedy into motivation, using her story to educate others. I think a lot of people--myself included--walked away from her talk feeling determined to make the law a better and more supportive system for the trans community. Jessica was a captivating speaker and faced the audience with warmth and generosity. I hope to see her again and would recommend her presentation to anyone who has the opportunity to see it. Thanks Jessica!
Yale Law School
Jessica came to speak at Yale Law School for an event sponsored by our LGBTQ students organization OutLaws. Even before the November 2016 presidential election, I had found myself questioning what I can do with my law degree. Jessica's story helped immensely in not only grounding me in the realities of trans and queer rights in the United States, but also the threats and ignorance these rights face around the world. I was lucky enough to meet Jessica twice in one week during her time in New Haven, CT. Our candid conversations left me amazed at her strength and sharp sense of purpose. An example, Jessica's insightful answer to a law professor's direct question, "What can we do now?" -- educate one other. That is exactly what Jessica did for me, and for many of fellow students here at Yale. I am inspired by her work and her message. The most important tools we readily have are to embrace individual experiences and raise awareness.
Thank you, Jessica! Please visit Yale again soon!
Yale Law School
Jessica, I want to thank you for coming to the University of Kent to share your story with our students. Some came along because of academic interests, some personal, but many both, and you passionately and thoughtfully spoke at a range of levels. You delivered your talk with courage and compassion, reflecting on not only your own experiences - and indeed trauma - but much wider issues in the transgender community, across time, place and many other factors. Your energy and openness make you a compelling speaker and we hope to welcome you back to campus next year. I am still thinking about your presentation, and talking to others about it; which I think is why you do what you do!
Dr Julie McCandless
Kent Law School
I am extremely grateful to Jessica for generously sharing her story with students and staff at the University of Reading. Jessica is an excellent speaker - very talented, passionate, engaging, honest, full of energy and with a truly unique sense of humour. Everyone enjoyed her talk immensely and we have learned a lot from a person who tells things as they are. I hope we can have Jessica back to speak again in the near future.
Dr Alina Tryfonidou
Associate Professor, School of Law
University of Reading
It was a pleasure and a privilege to have Jessica speak at Yale Law School. Alongside a renowned family law professor, she educated students from across the university on the ways in which the law is unjust in its treatment of trans folk. She was incredibly engaging and strikingly candid. Attendees found Jessica’s presentation to be educational and emotionally impactful. Jessica was a pleasure to work with while planning her visit, and was remarkably flexible and generous with her time while she was in New Haven. We hope that she will visit Yale again soon!
President, OutLaws (LGBTQ law student association)
Yale Law School
It was an honour and privilege to welcome Jessica Lynn to Maynooth University, part of the National University of Ireland. Jessica’s presentation offered a remarkably compelling and engaging insight into her journey and experiences. In a thought-provoking and informative presentation, she vividly illuminated the experience of a person who is transgender. Jessica’s presentation offered a stimulating first-hand account of her life as a parent and a person who is transgender, and in particular of her heart-breaking struggle to regain custody of her son. This latter episode, in particular, highlights the often deeply unjust consequences of legal intervention, and offered a searing insight into the reality of discrimination under the law. For me, the presentation highlighted that while laws in the western world have improved significantly in the protection offered to transgender people, much more needs to be done, particularly to prevent a slide backwards into less tolerant and more discriminatory legal and policy approaches. (This slide backwards can already be seen in current US Federal policy towards transgender people.)
Jessica’s courage and resilience is inspiring. Her presentation was captivating. She presented her experience in an engaging, passionate and accessible manner. Jessica immediately puts students at their ease with her open, friendly, informal and warm approach, and her good humour. Jessica’s presentation was inspiring and informative, and offered a compelling and insightful account of the experience of a transgender person. Notably, as Jessica herself emphasised in her presentation, she does not purport to speak on behalf of all transgender people or LGBT people, and she is careful not to universalise her experience. Nonetheless, her presentation resonated profoundly with many people in the audience, who noted parallels with their own experience of being transgender and/or non-binary.
Dr Fergus Ryan
Department of Law
Maynooth University, Ireland
The Lambda Law chapter of Penn Law was honored to host transgender activist Jessica Lynn. Lynn discussed her life experience as a transgender woman, parent,activist and educator. She shared her life story and gender journey with first, second and third year law students, exposing them to transgender issues and inviting their questions. Lynn's openness and honesty provided a unique opportunity to gain insight into gender identity and the transition process. She welcomed any and all questions and shared details from her personal life to answer the students' questions about transgender issues. Lynn is an entertaining, enlightening and compelling speaker. Her frank style and remarkable life story make her a powerful speaker and educator about transgender issues. Lambda Law looks forward to having her back to campus in the future.
University of Pennsylvania
Ms. Lynn was unflinchingly honest about a really difficult topic. Her talk was serious, but interspersed with quick jokes that helped people stomach the material. Her story is a real life story about how life for transgender parents doesn't always have a happy ending, and it's a much needed talk. No topic was off limits, and Ms. Lynn answered every question honestly, no matter how personal. Outlaw was proud to host Ms. Lynn, and we thank her for her willingness to share her message with the world.
Director, OutLaws (LGBTQ law student association)
Penn State Law
Jessica Lynn's presentation had a meaningful impact on everyone in the room that could be measured in tears and smiles of hope. Her educational advocacy around the world is a crucial step for promoting an inclusive society and a legal system that will work to end discrimination against the LGBT community. Jessica's dedication and commitment ensures that our future generations will be socially aware of the unique issues faced by transgender individuals and their families, and supportive of their equal rights
President, OUTLaws (LGBT Advocacy)
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
William S. Boyd School of Law
Thank you for traveling to present your journey to our students yesterday, Jessica. Your presentation really brought to life the challenges surrounding LGBT rights in law and the personal stories behind the legal system. Law students do not often have the opportunity to engage with such stories, and to do so with a speaker who is so honest about their own journey while aware of the wider systemic issues facing the transgender community was a unique learning opportunity. That students were keen to meet and discuss with you afterwards evidences the impact your presentation had.
Dr Kathryn McNeilly
Lecturer | Athena SWAN Champion
School of Law | Queen's University Belfast
This is to say a heartfelt thank you for coming to speak with our students studying Equality and Human Rights on our LLB Law degree at the University of Hull, UK in February 2019. I found your lecture extremely moving and inspirational, and it was evident from the response you received from the audience throughout the lecture, as well as the questions you received afterwards, that a great many students did too. The powerful personal story you shared with us all conveyed searing anguish as well as good humour, raising awareness of the importance of trans rights - as well as the devastating human costs of their denial - in a way that a textbook never could. I am still thinking about the issues your lecture raised several days afterwards, and have discussed them with family and others – a measure of the impact your talk had. It was certainly one of the most successful guest lectures I can recall during my academic career and that is a testament to your engaging, open and vivid style of delivery. You showed us all how compassion and acceptance of the full spectrum of gender identity can be harnessed through advocacy and activism to create a better future. What the world needs now is more of your values!
Wishing you and The Butterfly Project every success over the coming years, and I look forward very much to the next opportunity when you can return to speak to us.
Dr Phil Bielby
Lecturer in Law, Law School and Research Associate
Institute of Applied Ethics
University of Hull, UK