Tuesday, March 1, 2022

SJD student Florence Ashley

Florence Ashley (photo by Dewey Chang Photography)

For their outstanding leadership and commitment to academic excellence, Florence Ashley has received the 2022 Adel S. Sedra Distinguished Graduate Award. The Award includes a $25,000 fellowship to support their graduate research.

The honour is one of the Awards of Excellence presented by the University of Toronto Alumni Association in collaboration with the university. The prestigious program dates back to 1921 and recognizes outstanding faculty, staff and students. 

"The Faculty of Law is so proud of Florence for their cutting-edge, engaged research and scholarship. We couldn’t be more delighted that Florence’s contributions were recognized through this prestigious Award of Excellence," said Dean and University Professor Jutta Brunnée, James Marshall Tory Dean's Chair. 

Ashley is a doctoral student in the Faculty of Law and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health's Joint Centre for Bioethics. Their doctoral project examines how science is deployed and used within the legal system to simultaneously bolster and undermine trans youth’s autonomy. Prior to their doctoral studies, they served as clerk to Justice Sheilah Martin (SJD 1991) of the Supreme Court of Canada (2019-2020), being the first openly transfeminine person to clerk at the highest court. Prior to clerking, they completed degrees in civil law and common law followed by a master’s in law and bioethics at McGill University. Ashley is the author of Banning Transgender Conversion Practices: A Legal and Policy Analysis​ (UBC 2022).

“Florence is the model of an engaged scholar, doing high-quality research and always looking for new ways to reach out to the wider world through popular writing, policy work, and community engagement. We are terrifically proud of Florence. This is a very well-deserved accolade," said Professor Malcolm Thorburn, the Faculty's Associate Dean, Graduate Programs.

Ashley's expert commentary and op-eds have also appeared in multiple news outlets, including The Globe and MailCBC OpinionsMontreal Gazette, Huffington PostThe ConversationNOW Magazine, The AdvocateIRPP Policy OptionsLe DevoirLa PresseLe Journal de Montréal, and Journal Métro.