Supporting the LGBTQ+ Community

Latham has long advocated to protect the LGBTQ+ community’s civil rights. One of our biggest successes in recent years was securing a victory in a federal lawsuit against the US government’s ban on transgender individuals in the military, on behalf of Equality California and several transgender military members. The lawsuit sought to ensure that all qualified Americans have an equal opportunity to serve in the US military, that transgender individuals are free from arbitrary and invidious discrimination, and that the constitutional rights of transgender individuals to autonomy, privacy, and freedom of expression are protected.

In addition to high-impact litigation, we advocate on behalf of individual clients, challenge employment discrimination, ensure clients’ physical safety in prison and elder care, help nonprofits prepare antibullying and other educational materials, explore LGBTQ+ organizations’ access to funding, draft amicus briefs, and offer direct legal and business services support.

Among our signature efforts is our transgender name change initiative, through which we assist individuals wishing to change their names to match their gender identity. Many individuals seeking to change their name do so with a mix of celebratory enthusiasm and bureaucratic dread. We continue to counsel clients referred by several of our longtime pro bono partners, including the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, a nonprofit aiming to end discrimination and achieve equality for transgender people; Whitman-Walker, a nonprofit community health center with expertise in serving LGBTQ+ individuals as well as those who have HIV/AIDS; and Mount Sinai’s Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery. To date, more than 120 Latham lawyers from across the firm have been trained to help low-income transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary individuals change their names.

Our efforts on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community include high-impact litigation, challenging employment discrimination, drafting amicus briefs, and offering legal health checks to nonprofits.

As part of our continuing commitment to assist nonprofits dedicated to serving the LGBTQ+ community, we have advised organizations like Consortium, which works with 375 LGBTQ+ charities and groups in the United Kingdom — the largest such network in the UK — to support their delivery of direct services and campaign for LGBTQ+ rights around the country. This year we also advised the Trevor Project, a crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization focused on helping lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning young people, as the nonprofit seeks to expand into Mexico. We provide legal health checks — in which we review a nonprofit’s operations, highlight areas of opportunity where their legal documents or governance can be improved, and flag problematic areas — on organizations like the Black Trans Foundation, a nonprofit that works for the social advancement of Black trans people in the UK; National AIDS Trust, which advocates for those living with, affected by, or at risk of HIV; and OutRight Action International, an NGO that addresses human rights violations and abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people.

And our lawyers advise individuals seeking asylum as a result of being persecuted for their sexual orientation in their home countries. Working with Justice Centre Hong Kong, for example, we assisted with research in relation to an LGBTQ+ asylum seeker fleeing harassment and oppression in Niger. Lawyers in our New York office have partnered with Sanctuary for Families, a nonprofit dedicated to aiding victims of domestic violence and their children, to develop an asylum pro se clinic through which we have been advising LGBTQ+ clients.