First trans admin law judge sworn in – by Zak Szymanski

When Bay Area attorney Victoria Kolakowski applied to take the bar exam in Louisiana in the late 1980s, her initial application was rejected on the basis that she was “not of sound mind.” Kolakowski is a transgender woman, and as such, was thought to be inherently out of touch with reality. Thus, in addition to studying and practicing for her future career, Kolakowski had to present evidence to the Louisiana Supreme Court that she was indeed competent and capable of pursuing her career.

The court decision in her favor came quickly. But the situation itself made a lasting impression on Kolakowski, now 45, who last week became the first openly transgender person in California to be sworn in as an administrative law judge.