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Victoria Kolakowski

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Title: Victoria Kolakowski  
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Subject: History of transgender people in the United States, Trans woman
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Victoria Kolakowski

Victoria Kolakowski
Judge of the Alameda County Superior Court
Assumed office
January 4, 2011
Personal details
Born Michael Kolakowski[1]
(1961-08-29) August 29, 1961
Queens, New York
Spouse(s) Cynthia Laird
Alma mater New College of Florida (B.A.)
Paul M. Hebert Law Center (J.D.)
Pacific School of Religion (M.Div)

Victoria Kolakowski (born Michael Kolakowski on August 29, 1961, in Queens, New York)[2] is an American lawyer, and, since January 2011, judge of the Alameda County Superior Court.[3] Kolakowski is the first openly transgender person to serve as a trial judge in the United States.[3]

Early life and education

Kolakowski is the daughter of Martin and June Kolakowski of Staten Island, New York.[4] She is a graduate of Stuyvesant High School in New York City and the first person in her family to attend college. Kolakowski graduated from New College of Florida in Sarasota, Florida with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Natural Sciences in 1982.[5][6]

She earned a Master of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering from Tulane University in 1987 and a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from University of New Orleans in 1990.[7]

Kolakowski graduated from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a juris doctor in 1989 as Michael Kolakowski.[1] She began her transition during her last semester of law school.[1] Kolakowski underwent sex reassignment surgery in 1991.[8] Kolakowski had to sue to take the bar exam in Louisiana after coming out as transgender.[9]

In 1997, Kolakowski received a Master of Divinity degree from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California.[10]


Before she was elected with 51% of the vote to her opponent's 48% on November 2, 2010, Kolakowski served as an administrative law judge with the California Public Utilities Commission for four years.[3][11]

She was co-chair of the Bay Area Transgender Law Association from 1996 to 2000. She has been a member of the National Association of Women Judges since 2006.[7]

Kolakowski is a Christian and an ordained minister in the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, a Protestant Christian denomination.[12][13][14]

Honors and awards

  • Equality and Justice Award by Equality California in 2011
  • Susan B. Anthony Award by the National Women's Political Caucus - Alameda North in 2011
  • Unity Award by the Minority Bar Coalition in 2010
  • Outstanding Woman of Berkeley by City of Berkeley, Commission on the Status of Women in 1995
  • Woman of the Year by the East Bay Lesbian/Gay Democratic Club in 1994[7] (Kolakowski was president of the East Bay Lesbian/Gay Democratic Club)
  • Named an individual community grand marshal for San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride in June 2011 [15]
  • Named one of 31 Icons for LGBT History Month in October 2011.[16]

Personal life

Kolakowski married Cynthia Laird, news editor of the Bay Area Reporter, on June 16, 2008. Ron Dellums performed the ceremony.[4]


  1. ^ a b c
  2. ^ "Biography". Kolakowski for Judge campaign. 
  3. ^ a b c Knowles, David (January 5, 2011). "Victoria Kolakowski: 5 Facts About America's First Transgender Superior Court Judge".  
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b c
  8. ^ Sheridan, Michael (November 17, 2010). "California elects nation's first openly transgender judge, Victoria Kolakowski". Daily News. Retrieved January 9, 2011. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Rosynsky, Paul T. (November 16, 2010). "Alameda County home to first transgender judge in nation".  
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ "San Francisco Pride Individual Community Grand Marshals: Victoria Kolakowski". San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration Committee. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  16. ^ "LGBT History Month(tm) Icon: Victoria Kolakowski". Equality Forum. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 

External links

  • Judicial campaign website
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