Members of the LGBT community – those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender – are vulnerable to discrimination and harassment.
Discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation is unacceptable. There are numerous groups across the country dedicated to ensuring that the legal rights of the LGBT community are protected. Below you’ll find some of the most popular LBGT legal advocacy groups.
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The LGBT Bar Association is made up of lawyers, students, and professionals who are interested in the legal issues affecting the LGBT community. The Bar Association hosts conferences and meetings on issues related to LGBT legal issues and provides contact information for other organizations that can assist with LGBT-related cases.
American Civil Liberties Union of Texas: LGBT Rights
The ACLU is an organization committed to advocating for minority groups who are being discriminated against, including the LGBT community by challenging discriminatory laws and representing clients in controversial cases. Those who have been the victims of discrimination because of their gender identity or sexual orientation can file claims with the ACLU and receive legal assistance or the contact information for other organizations that are specifically equipped to help with particular issues.
The Gay-Straight Alliance Network
The Gay-Straight Alliance Network is a student-run LGBTQ racial and gender justice organization focused on empowering youth leaders to educate their schools and communities about LGBTQ discrimination. Although the GSA Network advocates for policies that help protect LBGTQ youth from harassment, they also work with thousands of other clubs and organizations in an effort to address issues related to racial and economic justice.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights
The National Center for Lesbian Rights connects members of the LGBT community who need legal assistance with discrimination issues, custody disputes, immigration, housing, and employment. The NCLR also provides information about legislative updates and important cases related to the advancement of LGBT equality.
Lambda Legal is one of the oldest national legal organizations dedicated to protecting the civil rights of the LGBT community. The organization offers free legal representation and leads public education campaigns to build support for equality and advocate for public policy changes at the local, state, and federal levels.
The Human Rights Campaign provides a user-friendly map explaining state laws that affect the LGBTQ community. This includes state policies regarding education, employment, hate crimes, housing, public accommodations, transgender healthcare, and marriage equality.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Ending Housing Discrimination
On this page, HUD includes a list of states that ban housing discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The site also contains explanations of the protections offered by HUD’s Equal Access Rule, which requires housing providers that receiving HUD funding or that receive loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration to provide equal access to HUD programs regardless of someone’s perceived or actual gender identity, marital status, or sexual orientation. Finally, the page provides contact information for the agencies that enforce these laws in each state.
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services, this site answers the questions of members of the LGBTQ community who are interested in fostering or adopting a child. The page includes links to help potential adoptive parents find an agency that is welcoming to LGBTQ individuals, lists the states that currently allow same-sex couples to adopt or foster a child, explains the pros and cons of intercountry adoption, and offers advice to those who have become the victims of discrimination.
The LGBT Freedom and Asylum Network
LGBT-FAN is an organization dedicated to offering legal aid to those seeking asylum in the U.S. because of persecution they face in their home countries as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The organization also provides access to LGBT community center staff members, policy experts, refugee resettlement workers, faith leaders, and LGBT rights activists.
The National Center for Transgender Equality
This site provides access to a Trans Legal Services Network that helps those facing discrimination as a result of their transgender status make contact with advocacy groups across the nation.
GLAD Legal Advocates and Defenders
GLAD works with state legislatures across the country to enact laws aimed at providing equal protections to members of the LGBTQ community. Their site allows users to research case law based on location, type, or issue. This organization also represents those who have been the victims of discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity and helps others find an attorney in private practice who can assist them in their state through the use of a Lawyer Referral Service.
The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging
This organization is the only one of its kind that offers a resource center for older members of the LGBT community. Established through a federal grant, the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging provides educational resources, training, and technical assistance to aging LGBT individuals and their family members. This program has a national reach and collaborates with 18 other organizations around the country dedicated to answering questions about financial security, end of life decisions, and other LGBT-aging topics.
The Transgender Law and Policy Institute
The Transgender Law and Policy Institute provides information for those in the transgender community about state laws that prohibit discrimination. The organization also provides information about legal resources related to medical and health care policies, current litigation, social services, and employment resources.
Exploring Constitutional Conflicts
This site provides an overview of the various court cases that have shaped current LGBT rights. Specifically, the page helps address whether the Constitution protects homosexual conduct and what limitations the Constitution places on the ability of states to discriminate based on sexual orientation.