April 28, 2021 at 11:23 am

Alumni News | Detwiler Takes Passion for LGBTQ+ Rights, Community Organizing to Law School

Dominic Detwiler, portrait

Dominic Detwiler

Dominic Detwiler is a 2020 graduate of Ohio University who has continued to serve the Athens community, as well as the state of Ohio, in his work as a public policy strategist for Equality Ohio.

His dedication to advocacy, service, and equality was at the forefront of his academic pursuits and continues to drive his career. While at OHIO, he majored in Sociology through the Honors Tutorial College, and minored in Music, Political Science, and Psychology. He was also a Cutler Scholar.

Equality Ohio is the state’s LGBTQ advocacy and education organization that aims to make Ohio a more welcoming community for those that are LGBTQ. Within this occupation, Detwiler engages with state legislation concerning the wellbeing and protection of LGBTQ folks.

Impacting Policy in Columbus

“I spend a lot of time (virtually) at the Ohio Statehouse, where we are working to pass several bills to protect LGBTQ Ohioans from discrimination and end the practice of conversion therapy. We also work to combat harmful bills, like those seeking to criminalize affirmative care for LGBTQ youth and those seeking to ban transgender young people from playing sports.”

As Detwiler approached graduation and was seeking out job opportunities, he recognized the impact he could make as an advocate for the LGBTQ community in policy. Detwiler speaks to the immense impact of the legislature on the quality of life for those folks, and how he is able to use his privilege to serve the community.

“I believe firmly that good policy can have a positive, life-changing impact on the lives of everyday people, and that bad policy does the opposite. In Equality Ohio and the LGBTQ movement, I found a place where I can work to develop and pass good policy that will help uplift some of the most vulnerable people in our state.”

As is made clear in any conversation with Detwiler, he is both passionate and excited about his contributions to Equality Ohio’s mission.

“I love being a part of the policy-making experience and working through the complex political disagreements between legislators to find positive policy solutions to the real issues in the lives of those most marginalized by our legal systems. That’s what gets me up in the morning,” Detwiler says.

Building a Network, Starting in Athens

For Detwiler, Ohio University allowed him to grow as an advocate, activist, and ally. He spent his time in Athens connecting with faculty, building a network of legal professionals and exploring opportunities in political activism.

“OU gave me the resources and connections to the field that I needed to succeed. The faculty were tremendous in helping me identify and pursue my career, and the culture of social justice work in Athens fed that passion.”

One of his most notable undergraduate experiences was organizing a protest on campus.

Editor’s Note: The Happy Beginnings series features recent College of Arts & Sciences graduates who are getting started in careers, graduate school and service.

“In the fall of my senior year, I organized a protest of a university-sponsored event which featured a vigorously anti-union speaker who was representing an organization seeking to limit the power of working people in Ohio. It was a great moment where I was able to help build solidarity between students and university staff, and it was widely supported by organized labor. Workers from across the region joined us to speak out against the speaker’s harmful message,” he says.

Additionally, Detwiler found organizations that allowed him to find other sources of joy, even while exploring different avenues to engage in advocacy.

“I was very involved in music at OU. I sang in a choir every semester I was on campus. I also spent most of my time outside of class working for policy advocacy groups, like Defend Our Future and Equality Ohio.”

Next Step: Applying to Law School

Detwiler found his passion for political organization at Ohio University, and it now drives his most recent journey to law school. He credits the engagement he received from the faculty and students of the Political Science Department in nurturing his intellectual curiosity and helping him develop hard skills that he could use going into law school.

“I think the most important skill I will be taking to law school is an ability to write in an effective and coherent way. The many papers I had the opportunity to write in college, especially my thesis, gave me the writing practice I needed. The faculty were also incredibly willing to give feedback on my writing, which made me a better writer.”

As he applies for law school, he reminds his fellow pre-law students how important it is to value their unique passions over the test scores that follow law school applicants.

“I think the big piece I’ve come to accept is that you are more than your LSAT scores, and law schools know that. Do your best on those tests, but don’t not apply because you didn’t get a great score,” he says.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *