PSR alumna Kolakowski elected CA Superior Court judge

November 29, 2010

The final results posted on the Registrar of Voters Web site on November 19 confirmed what most 2010 election observers had already predicted -- PSR alumna Victoria Kolakowski (MDiv ’98) has been elected to the Alameda County Superior Court.Her election has received international attention because she is the first transgender person to be elected judge in the United States.

With training in biomedical and electrical engineering in addition to her law degree, Kolakowski worked her way through PSR as a patent attorney. In addition to her other qualifications, she is an ordained minister in the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), and has been active in justice movements for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.

Speaking about her new position on the Superior Court, Kolakowski said, “Obviously this is a secular position, but I bring my whole person to it. I’m still grounded in the kinds of social justice concerns that are such an important part of what I learned at PSR.”

Although she wants to be known for her legal accomplishments, Kolakowski said she’s “not running away from the fact that this is an historic occasion.” Tracking on her campaign Web site has shown visitors from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories, from Nepal, Togo, Iran, Kenya, Uganda, and more than 70 other countries. “This is very exciting to many people. I guess they’re looking to see, Is this real?”

“We [transgender people] have a community that has been stigmatized, where many people have to deal with unemployment or underemployment, and now they can see where somebody has become a judge. If that helps just one kid somewhere to hold on for another day, then I don’t mind being the ‘transgender judge.’”